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Why You Need To Take Breaks While Retouching


I stumbled across this video that really blew my mind. A woman ages right before your eyes and you don’t realize it is happening. You can feel a change but it’s gradual. Once you reach the end and look back, you can’t believe how much change has happened in just 5 minutes.

Anthony Cerniello was behind this video. He states, “I attempted to create a person in order to emulate the aging process. The idea was that something is happening but you can’t see it but you can feel it, like aging itself.”
What I find interesting is that in just a short period of time, even though we witness such a huge change, we don’t feel like much has happened for every moment that passes. Our eyes and mind become acclimated to seeing things as they are. We don’t bring back the past into consideration so much as we’re watching it. We focus on the moment as it is and almost disregard the progress that has happened.
It reminds me very much of retouching. This is the perfect video to express why it is so important to take breaks if you’re sitting at your desk retouching for a good period of time.

For some people, the retouching process is usually a lot longer than 5 minutes. It’s even longer if you are retouching a portrait or a beauty shot, where you usually spend a considerable amount of time. Has it ever happened where you come back after a period of time and look back at your results only to dislike what you’ve done? This is a common occurrence and the effect seen in the video really shows us why that is the case. As we tend to work forward, we usually cannot remember where we came from and our minds begin to accept the work we’ve done as normal. Even if we begin to steer in the wrong direction, we usually do not doubt the retouching decisions we’ve made to get to that point. So when we look back at the original, we forget just how much we’ve actually done. Sometimes this is for the better, but that is not always the case.

In the process, it becomes detrimental to our workflow to not take breaks and look away for brief periods of time. Over time, we get a better sense of judgment over how far to go but it always helps to take breaks when necessary.
Personally, after every 20 minutes of work, I tend to take a couple of minutes and check e-mail, get a glass of water, or something that allows me to look away and reanalyze the image. Often, sleeping on the image and coming back to it the next day for important work is crucial. I see areas I missed or went too far on.

In the process, don’t forget to save as often as you are taking breaks (if not more).
Point aside, this video was incredible. Here is a list of everyone included in making it:
Still Photographer: Keith Sirchio
Animator: Nathan Meier
Animator: Edmund Earle
Nuke Artist: George Cuddy

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