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Jewelry Image Retouching Example


#1

I was casting about for some contract work and found a request for
cleaning up jewelry images for a catalog at
http://contractedwork.com/rt.cfm?projectid=8775. I’m good at
Photoshop so I took a look, but unfortunately I was blown away by
what I saw at their website. You probably should have DSL or other
high speed connection to check out this page
http://web.vi/clients/beverlys. If you take a peek, the "before"
images are on the left, and you have to scroll way over to the right
to see the “after” images (unless your screen is at least 2000
pixels wide!).

In particular, check out those diamonds. Does anyone have an idea
how this is done? I tried a few things in Photoshop and got fairly
close to their “after” images except that in most of the images it
appears the artist has some kind of canned, very crisp images of
diamonds which are substituted for those in the original image. Where
do you get canned images of diamonds like that?

Does anyone here go to such lengths to retouch photos of their own
jewelry?

DMGreer, LLC
www.luxefon.com


#2

The Smithsonian Craft Show, one of the most prestigious in the US,
only juries from digital images. It is not that difficult to create
an incredible image solely by using the computer. So, why bother to
actually make the piece? You can always hire someone to make the
pieces for you later, if you’re accepted.

Any thoughts on this? 

Douglas Zaruba
Zaruba & Co.
35 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301 695-4556


#3
    In particular, check out those diamonds. Does anyone have an
idea how this is done? I tried a few things in Photoshop 

Hello;

I use Paint Shop Pro, have a masters degree in painting and drawing
and it took time to learn computer work. But, it looks at first
glance that the image was increased in
contrast/brightness/saturation. It takes some playing around with,
but also use sharpening. The images look to me as being a bit too
much and not a true image of the actual object. But so do cars in
ads look unreal. I guess it is what ever sells the product. Pat
DIACCA Topp

Pat DIACCA Topp
see:DIACCA.com
for enamels, glass, awards, photo restoration
709 W. 5th Street
Marshfield, WI 54449
phone 715-384-2627


#4
    The Smithsonian Craft Show, one of the most prestigious in the
US, only juries from digital images. It is not that difficult to
create an incredible image solely by using the computer. So, why
bother to actually make the piece? You can always hire someone to
make the pieces for you later, if you're accepted. Any thoughts on
this? 

How can I apply? :slight_smile: Seriously, I am sure that this is happening
already. People get in to things on the basis of things which do not
exist as an object. Indeed, what to think about it? Best, Will


#5

I get your point but can you direct us to a digital image of a piece
of jewelry created solely via the computer? All the digital images
I’ve seen created by these programs Rhino, etc. look like computer
images and nothing like something created in metal. I would love to
see something done digitally that looks like a photograph of a real
piece of jewelry. The other aspect is that it’s much easier to view
digital images than slides. And given that the work is not juried
live i.e., viewing the piece itself is there any real difference? K Kelly


#6

Airbrushed photographs of models make our daughter’s dreams of
physical perfection a constant frustration. With jewelry image
retouched photos circulating out there, perhaps a number of talented
jewelers will be unnecessarily depressed about the quality of their
work. Margery F. Cooper


#7

Doug, I used to wonder about this until I started to learn how to do
3D modeling. It takes as many skills (different ones to be sure) to
create and render a truly photo realistic image of a piece of
jewelry as it does to actually make it so why would anyone bother to
put all that work into a non existent item. If you have the ability
to render a image that cannot be distinguished from a real item in a
jury slide you can make more money doing that than being a
goldsmith.

Now photo retouching is a different story. There it is hard to draw

the line between fixing a bad image and making it look better than
it does in real life. I think that is much more of a problem. I have
a friend who does many retail shows, he takes some ok slides of his
work. By ok I mean that they are not the same quality as a high end
photographer would do but not bad slides. He then has then scanned
and takes the files in photoshop and “cleans them up” some of this
clean up involves giving the stones more “punch”. Now anyone who has
tried to photograph jewelry and stones knows how hard it is to make
a image look right. Stones in particular tend to come out lifeless
and dull. A good photographer with the right skill and proper
equipment can take shots that really bring out the visual qualities
of the gems . But a good photographer costs a lot of money so if my
friend “fixes” his slides what is the harm? But what happens when
you start to fix little blemishes like the excess solder or the
place where you slipped with the bur or make that cheap sapphire
look better than it actually is or you whiten the diamonds up some,
is that ok? I think the concept of retouching is a slippery slope
and should be used with care and integrity especially when it is
used on jury slides.

Jim Binnion James Binnion Metal Arts Phone (360) 756-6550 Toll Free
(877) 408 7287 Fax (360) 756-2160 http://www.mokume-gane.com
@James_Binnion Member of the Better Business Bureau


#8

Correction to Douglas’ post Re: Smithsonian Craft Show - I just
checked this year’s application, and it does NOT specify digital, but
specifically addresses how to mark “photographs or photographic
slides”. It DOES accept digital in addition to, but not instead of,
photos or slides. I personally like having the choice! As I found
when completing my MFA years ago, some colors do NOT show up well in
some photographic media, for whatever reason. My monoprints would
look great in slides, but horrible when printed :frowning:

And actually, with current technology, you could “create” anything
you wanted on a computer and THEN have the slide or print made, so I
don’t think having a digital option changes that aspect.

Best wishes to all,
Beth in SC


#9
   And given that the work is not juried live i.e., viewing the
piece itself is there any real difference? 

Not a great deal, I guess, but my concern is this: We are already
judged to a significant degree according to the skill of the
photographer. Are we now to be judged by our skill at using a
retouching program? It is harder to hide poor workmanship in a
slide, I believe, than in a digital image. But I also have no doubt
that digital is the way of the future, so we’ll just have to deal!

–No?


#10
    Does anyone here go to such lengths to retouch photos of their
own jewelry? 

I my opinion (I can already see people getting ready to jump down my
throat…again), these images go beyond the pale of retouching. They
are what I’d call “faked.” Take a good close look at those diamonds:
it is the same diamond, repeated over and over, just made smaller or
larger and distorted to the proper perspective! Totally dishonest.


#11

Kevin, A slide requires 10 megapixels to reproduce the details. I
don’t believe that any of the artists who apply are supplying files
that large. I have seen images created using ModelMaster and Matrix
programs that would easily pass for photographs of an actual object
when viewed on a monitor. You can also take a photo of a finished
piece, even one assembled with glue or wax, and change it a LOT in
Photoshop.

I PREFER to shoot my work in a digital format, since it is so much

easier and cheaper, and the images are easily archived for my use.
But it is still harder to fake a slide, since it is blown up so large
and image manipulation on film is (usually) beyond the resources of
most of us.

The use of digital images for jurying does not seem to be a sound

one, IMHO. You can see the concept, but not the craftsmanship. Why
spend a lifetime perfecting your craft, when all you need is an MFA?

Doug


#12
        In particular, check out those diamonds. Does anyone have
an idea how this is done? I tried a few things in Photoshop 

it appears as if not only have the brightness/contrast/gamma but in
at least two of the images that one stone was isolated, corrected
and duplicated to replace the other stones. IMHO, they don’t have a
real feel, not better than the originals, just different.

perhaps a better choice than these images would be 3-d generated
images rendered.

april
de-tech studio


#13

Dale, I checked out the images on the website you indicated. You are
right. They replaced the diamonds in the original photos. I do not
know how they did this, but in the top photo the shadows are no
longer there in the after photo. Not just retouched, but gone
completely. In the sixth and seventh photos from the top, not only
are the diamonds replaced, they are replaced with a different number
and layout of stones with different cuts. They are not even showing
the same piece of jewelry from the before to the after photo. They
merely started with the before photo and modified it to a completely
different piece of jewelry.

If they are just showing examples possible work they can do, then I
suppose this is OK. But if they are representing these as actual
pieces, I would have a problem with that. I would hope that no
Orchidians would “retouch” a photo like this and then represent it
as the actual piece. This is not retouching. This is designing.

Just my observations,
Dale (also)


#14
Take a good close look at those diamonds: it is the same diamond,
repeated over and over, just made smaller or larger and distorted
to the proper perspective! Totally dishonest. 

That’s why I was asking, because after trying the usual white
balancing, contrast enhancement, and sharpening, I finally realized
that most of those “stones” were really just some kind of canned
images. They even go to the length of faux-focal plane blurring of
some of the repeated images to make them look more realistic. And
they’re only paying $4.50 per image!

If one were to be charitable about it, one could say that they’re
selling an ideal, and that the customer carries that ideal in their
mind after they make their purchase, so that the image becomes part
of the product. Or you could say the photographer didn’t do such a
good job, so the retouched images carry more of the flavor of the
real objects. On the other hand, there’s that yellow gold necklace
which has white metal posts and apparently some white metal soldering
in the original, but it’s all retouched to yellow gold in the catalog
image. Now that’s dishonest.

Still, the catalog images are dazzling, so that’s why I wondered if
anyone here did that.

DMGreer, LLC
www.luxefon.com


#15
    perhaps a better choice than these images would be 3-d
generated images rendered. 

The more I think about it, and after taking a look at a website like
www.cartier.com, I think these guys really need a good photographer
more than they need a retoucher. Maybe it’s cheaper this way. The
images remind me of airbrushed images of the days before personal
computers. If you shrink them down to the size they’ll probably be in
a catalog, the faked up diamonds look more realistic.

DMGreer, LLC
www.luxefon.com


#16

Doug- I see your point. Having seen very few images created
"virtually" I can’t speak to that issue. I use my digital cameras
to take pictures of finished pieces for archival purposes and to
email images to potential customers. And I have applied to shows
where digital images are allowed; It makes it easier for me. I guess
for the rest of it we depend on personal integrity. Although I do
many art fairs where the exhibitor is promoted as the maker of the
work when that person has never touched the work presented. In my
case I spend a lot of time explaining to the public what it is that
I do since I use some stones that most have not seen. My personal
presentation determines my success or lack of it. And I don’t
comment on other exhibitors work. The promoters in most cases are
interested in renting the space and don’t want to look too closely.
Since I’m on this path: in most cases the jurors don’t have the
expertise to evaluate different media. I know a lot about stone and
metal but almost nothing about ceramics, etc. Perhaps I’ve gone on
too long. It seems an unsolvable problem. Kevin Kelly


#17

Did you happen to see the show on TV last night about photographing
food? It’s not even food. But so what? Soggy corn flakes don’t make
for a good photo, so why not use something that looks like milk but
isn’t and won’t soak into the product. The ice cream ads show a
concoction of Crisco. We women get up every morning and put make up
on to enhance our looks. Men shave to give the illusion that they
have no hair on their face. In this incredibly visual world where
everything in the media and advertising is enhanced, why is it a
surprise that the jewelry world is doing the same. Most of the
jewelry photos I’ve seen on the internet (untouched) are so unclear
that I can’t tell much about the piece. What shape are the stones?
For instance. Touching up our photos gives us a level of
professionalism that people are use to seeing. Do you think anyone
would buy those $99. tennis bracelets from those chain stores if the
ads actually showed the cloudy diamonds? All of the photos of jewelry
in the professional magazines we get are touched up. I for one want
to look as professional as possible, and this is a visual world.

Julia


#18
    On the other hand, there's that yellow gold necklace which has
white metal posts and apparently some white metal soldering in the
original, but it's all retouched to yellow gold in the catalog
image. Now _that's_ dishonest. Still, the catalog images are
dazzling, so that's why I wondered if anyone here did that. 

Considering how often we see catalogs that show items that won’t
actually even be available, so the customer then is offered slightly
more costly goods, or lesser goods at the same price, or stuff like
that, or even the mass marketers offering cheap goods at inflated
prices and pretending it’s good value, it seems to me that a bit of
retouching or downright faking of the images in catalogs isn’t that
much of an honesty issue. The point to the catalog is communication
of what style and look the customer will expect to buy, and they’re
not using a loupe to be sure the grainy, halftoned print image
exactly matches the real thing. Some of that dramatic retouching or
swapping of a canned diamond in those images might be just so it at
least partially survives being half toned, and reduced in size to a
typical catalog image, and still vaguely suggests a diamond. The
needs of a printed (or web based) catalog image are not at all that of
a high quality high resolution photo, and one needs to adjust for
that. Remember too, the catalog exists to help sell the stuff, not to
purport to be totally honest. We ARE, after all, talking about
advertising here… (grin) And I’ve seen plenty of ad copy that
doesn’t even start with a photo, but just uses a nice artists sketch.
This too can be effective, and I don’t really see much difference, or
ethical issue, if the communication to the customer of what to expect
is achieved. If a totally honest image is used, the half toned and
printed in a one inch wide newsprint catalog, the diamond set
section will appear as just a vague blurred smear, rather than
clearly showing that there is a row of diamonds set there…

Peter


#19
    The point to the catalog is communication of what style and
look the customer will expect to buy, and they're not using a loupe
to be sure the grainy, halftoned print image exactly matches the
real thing. 

Peter, If the only point of the catalog is communication of style and
look, then they wouldn’t have to retouch it at all, would they? How
can you divorce the" look" from the quality of materials and
workmanship? I was once approached by a woman ,while I was doing a
show, who showed me a sapphire ring she had purchased from one of
the TV shopping shows. She was really unhappy with the look of the
thing and she couldn’t understand why it looked as crappy as it did.
It hadn’t looked that way on TV. . She thought something must have
happened to it. It was about a four or five carat promotional
grade, native cut oval sapphire. I asked her what she payed for it
and I think it was around $65 ir so. I told her she got her money’s
worth, and that’s what a $65 , four or five carat sapphire looked
like. She did not go away happy. Is not fair market value defined
as the price agreed upon by a knowledgeable buyer and seller? Did
this lady then really pay fair market value? I think not.

Jerry in Kodiak


#20
 Do you think anyone would buy those $99. tennis bracelets from
those chain stores if the ads actually showed the cloudy diamonds? 

Probably not, Julia, but does that excuse the practice? Heaven
forbid an advertiser should disclose what he is actually selling! Is
it not deceitful, fraudulant and downright sleazy to lie to the
customer about your goods? What is the difference between showing
what appear to be eye clean stones but which are actually
promotional grade and saying in print that you are selling VS
stones and then delivering I3? With that kind of lack of ethics
it’s no wonder people look with suspicion on the trade!

Jerry in Kodiak