I began image editing in the early 90’s, ever since Photoshop 2.0.
I was also an early adopter of a very powerful image editing program called Live Picture, which unfortunately was very short lived. Live Picture made much of my work in the early day’s possible and was my preferred weapon of choice. I used a state of the art (at the time) Mac Quadra 800 with an overclocked 40ghz processor, 40mb of ram and a 500mb hardrive. In those days RAM memory was a commodity and very expensive. So were computers, my Mac system at the time costing $12K and painfully slow when compared to today’s supercomputers. Even on these early Macs, Live Picture made it possible for real time transformations and also used a layer/layer mask system long before it was implemented in Photoshop, plus I was the only kid on the block that used the program and the benefits were obvious to my clients. It was during this period where image editing became a staple of my workflow and the work was transformed because of it. Also in 93′ I also realized the vast potential of CGI and began incorporating CG elements within my composites. I was self taught in both image editing and CGI programs. Having used most image editing and CGI programs available on both Mac and PC. Over the years I have used Electric Image, Strata, Maya, Vue, Bryce, StudioMax, Lightwave, Cinema 4d (since 1996), Terragen, and various renderers including Vray, and MaxRender. Cinema 4D is now the preferred CG program coupled with MaxRender.
Having spent so much time developing my editing and CG skills made it possible to shoot very efficient productions. When problems could be solved on set I would do so. When it was more cost efficient to rely on a post/cgi solution the decision was easy since I possessed the skills necessary for the task. My productions are engineered this way from the start, deciding on what will be handled in the analog world and that which is best suited for the virtual. With this in mind my projects reflect my artistic vision from beginning to the end, are efficient and maintains our client’s budget. The images also bely a larger production than is actually used . The problem here lies with the misconception that the work is very costly. Clients are generally surprised to find out their “big idea” is actually well within the realm of their budget.
Outsourcing the post work to a retouching studio, or in house retoucher, in my mind, adds someone else’s artistic style/vision and dilutes mine. When shooting for a post finish a good photographer will not back the retoucher into a corner and provide captures that can be easily altered even re-lit to some degree to fit various backgrounds. I do this myself with my own work. The work can become more the style of the retouching studio and less of the photographers. I see this in the work of many photographers portfolios, recognizing trademark touches of various post houses. With this in mind I prefer to do own image editing and it will continue to be a staple in my production pipeline.