All the –ings of my profession

Photo retouching (I told you about photo retouching here)is just the beginning. Today, in digital photography one talks too much about compositing, processing, retouching, photo manipulation, digital art… but what do they mean? Which are the analogies and differences among these terms?

For what concerns digital photo retouching, in the course of the time two complementary reality of the same discipline have been drafted: creative and technical photo retouching. In the creative field, photo or image manipulation means applying the editing techniques to create illusory images, but coherently organized. Manipulation regards the techniques of compositing, digital imaging and photomontage, that means completing the image with elements taken from various sources in a coherent way, respecting the light sources, colours and perspective. An example is the image “Alien” that I created combining more than fifteen different photographs, respecting the colour of the skin and the enlightenment’s uniformity of the subject.
alieno workflow firmato
Where in composition the artistic skills and digital drawing techniques dominate, we are in the wider ambit of digital art than photography itself. This set of techniques is used to realize those images so complex, or even impossible, to set in real locations. The technique used to create specific impossible scenes or fairy landscapes, consists on a mix of compositing and digital art and is called matte painting, that means background painting.

The technical photo retouching is for improvements and photo restoration and includes adjusting colours, white balance, removing flaws or disturbing elements in the image and improvement of the clearness. The professional and more refined photo retouching is called high-end retouching and involves a hard work on every single pixel of the image. For example, it is particularly used in advertising and commercial photographs for the skin retouching in order to modify or/and rebuild, or create from nothing, every single pore equally.

Which terms did you use since today? If you have questions, I wait for you in the comments!

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