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In the first chapter of the course you will get acquainted with the world of digital photo editing for online stores. I'll explain how a typical photo studio operates and how original images should look before you even get to retouch them. I'll cover other important topics: how many images in a day can a retoucher retouch, how much Photoshop knowledge you should have before you can become a true professional, and why it's so hard to find anything product image related on the internet. The main problem of all studios – the “postproduction will solve this” attitude will be thoroughly discussed, and you will learn how to tell our responsibilities from others' responsibilities, and what to do when there's something wrong with the images. If you've been working as a product image editor for a while, you probably know all this, but it will let you see that I'm in the same boat as you and that we speak the same language. A good start.

laptop and graphic tablet used by a person, a pair of shoes on white background shown on the screen

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The second chapter is dedicated to a very important topic that is often overlooked – our working space. You'll understand why there's no such thing as a “correct” or “right” color, how our color perception works and what you should keep in mind when choosing a room to work in. You'll learn the basics of monitor calibration and what you should do if you can't afford a colorimeter device. Setting up Photoshop in a proper way is also very important, and this topic is also covered, as well as RGB color management. You'll learn why you shouldn't set the RGB Working space to be your Monitor's RGB. At this point no questions like “why am I seeing different images in Photoshop and Facebook?” or “Why are my images look decent everywhere but are awful when I open them in Photoshop?” should arise anymore. Then we'll discuss the usual choices: mouse or tablet, PC or Mac? You see, when you know what you're doing you can retouch on a microwave screen. And finally, I will debunk the great “non-destructiveness” myth, and you will learn whether it's really necessary to use all those adjustment layers, smart objects and stuff like that.

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If you have at least some experience in Photoshop, you know it's all about the color and contrast. That's what is important. But how should we color correct for the web, is it any different from what the prepress technicians do? Of course it is. Color correction for the web is a totally different world. You might not realize that, but we can't make all the people see the same thing on their monitors no matter how hard we try. That's the problem. The third chapter is dedicated to the problem of transferring color via computer screens, not in theory, but in practice. Our tool number one here is Adobe Camera Raw – a raw converter that can be used to process both raw and jpeg images and speed up our retouching process.

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Ahh, my favourite topic! You can't imagine how much time and money I saved myself and for my employers thanks to all the Photoshop actions and scripts that I wrote over the years. Automation is essential in product image editing because we do the same things to large batches of images. I don't know why, but people often underestimate the power of automation, but I assure you: it's not just a way to save time and money, it's not rocket science either. You will the difference between actions and scripts, understand how it all works and even write a simple script of your own. This chapter is relatively short because we still need to learn a lot before we can use automation to its full capacity. But we will get there eventually, so be patient.

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A short, but important chapter. To work in a fast manner, all the tools and commands that we constantly use should be accessible. You'll learn how to organize the working space in Photoshop and how much time using shortcuts can save you. Ever faced the problem when Photoshop resets to the default settings and all your custom shortcuts and workspaces are lost? Learn how to save them and load to avoid any unnecessary hassle.  

Photoshop proper color settings for product image retouching

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This is where it gets intense. Background removal is one of the most important, not mentioning time-consuming tasks in the industry. The time you save here is pure gold. I'll give you a short tools and techniques overview, and you'll learn the method that proved to be the best for at least a million of product images. There are so many ways how you can change the background in an image, and I'll explain most of them: transparency, chromakeying, natural and artificial shadows, reflections, you name it. Complicated issues like isolating gray fur on a gray background will also be discussed, and you'll see there's nothing impossible when you have the necessary skills. I'll demonstrate the method that lets you replace the background with white automatically – why waste time on something that can be done in seconds? And finally, you'll learn how to check if the background is truly white, both manually and with a script.

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Time to learn the basics! Yes, again. The reason why we go through all the basic tools and techniques is simple: Photoshop has so many great features that it's impossible to be aware of them all. We'll make sure that no vital techniques get overlooked: transformation tools, tools used to remove imperfections, brushes, content-aware fill, a few useful filters. Then blending modes: how many of them do you actually use on a daily basis? Should be at least four not including the normal mode, otherwise you're missing a lot of fun (and robbing yourself of precious time). Then comes our gem: the frequency splitting, which is the most controversial and underestimated technique in product image retouching. I'll show you how to remove clothing wrinkles with it and you'll love it as much as I do

balmain long black women boot before and after product image retouching

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This chapter is dedicated to a very important subject – how to retouch human beings without making them look weird. We'll start with color correction in both Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop. There is a way how to adjust skin color and tone without even having to select it first! Then I'll teach you how to automatically smooth skin to make it instantly look better (no blurring involved). There are expensive plugins that help with that matter, but who needs them when you can do the same with just Photoshop actions. Then I'll show you how to retouch every part of the human body you might ever need: feet, legs, bikini area, elbows, nipples, armpits, face and hair. Removing marks on skin included, as well as shape and pose correction

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before and after automatic smoothing skin in Photoshop

Almost any product image editor deals with clothes a lot. A lot! And when we say clothes retouching, we usually mean shape correction and wrinkles retouching. I'll teach how to quickly fix bulges and flatten wrinkles with powerful retouching tools like the Liquify filter and the Split Frequencies technique. Retouching clothes doesn't have to be tough even if someone forgot to iron or steam them. However, clothes preparation is an essential part of the process, so we shouldn't retouch just anything: if too much time is needed, they better take care and reshoot the item.

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Not every online store deals with ghost mannequins, but as it's still a popular clothes demonstration method, there's a big chance you'll encounter these plastic monstrosities one day. No one likes retouching mannequins. You have to trace clothes with the Pen Tool, you have to combine multiple images into one, and it all takes time and effort. There's no such a magic trick in Photoshop that will allow you to skip background removal and backside insertion when you're working with ghost mannequins. But I've been dealing with them for 7 years, I know how to do it all properly, and I will show you the quickest methods available. In product image retouching, we never despair!

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Mannequins and models are not the only options. Online stores use flat lays to demonstrate garments. This technique is especially popular when it comes to kids clothes. However, shooting flat lays is not an easy thing. First of all, I will explain how to handle flat items on the photography stage to minimize retouching efforts later on. Then background removal – once again, it all depends on the photography stage. Once we finish with that, I'll show you how to retouch flat lays in general, how to remove props and wrinkles and how to combine multiple items in one image if they were shot separately.

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My favorite chapter! Object retouching means shoes and bags and all numerous items sold in online stores. Everything that is not clothes is objects to us, retouchers. It doesn't matter, coffins or cutlery, all we care about is texture and shape. We'll start with shoes: high heels, long boots, stretchy boots, stickers on soles, dirty soles, even sandals with straps that can't hold their shape. Then bags: small, big and wobbly, supported with plastic fixtures, metal wire or fishing line. Then I'll teach you how to quickly remove reflections and fingerprints, and that'll take care of all the metal objects in the world. There's also quite a bit of information on jewelry, watches, sunglasses, scarves. I'll also explain how to remove labels, and at this point you'll probably love object retouching as much as I do.  

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This chapter is relatively short, but important nonetheless. What can be worse than cleaning a dirty background with the Healing Brush? In my opinion, nothing. I'll teach you how to automate the cleaning process so that you can do it in seconds, with an action. No need to select the background, no banding afterward. Fast and easy.

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Finally, the ultimate moire removal guide. There are some tutorials for sure, and some of them even work. But what works on one image will be useless on another. All because there are many different kinds of moire that require different methods if you ever want to reduce or remove the dreaded stripes. I've got all the information right in this chapter, all in one place. You'll become the true moire killer after you've studied it. No boring anti-aliasing and interference patterns explanation. Straight to the point.

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beige texture before and after moire reduction in Photoshop

“This black shoe is too dark! I can't see what's it made of!” Or: “This white t-shirt is too dull and looks gray”. Familiar situation? Problem is, different screens show different images. For some people, black will look too dark, and for others the same black will look dark gray. Same with white. But don't worry, there is a solution. As a person who supervised more than a million of product images, I know how black and white items should look to satisfy most customers, and I'll teach you all I know. We'll make these textures pop up!

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It doesn't matter how many hundreds of product images you can retouch if none of them pass the quality control. It's the ultimate goal of any retoucher: make the images so that they pass the quality control, or you'll never get paid. Being a head of retouch for 7 years, I know everything about quality check and I will show you how the images should and should not look to be accepted and put online. Quality standards vary from store to store, but there are always some average guidelines we all should be following.  

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In product image editing, it just happens. We might get weird requests: “Please, make something red blue”. Or worse: “Change white to black”, and vice versa. Every retoucher knows there's the Hue/Saturation interface, but there are more sophisticated ways how to change color when we need drastic changes. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be hard at all.

black balmain shoe colored white in photoshop before and after

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In product image editing, resizing images is crucial. The less size in pixels, the better. You already know why – because all the trash and dust just disappear when the image becomes smaller, as well as complex textures, and it's much easier to retouch and clean. But it's not an easy process. Photoshop has many resizing tools and quite a few interpolation mechanisms. I'll teach you exactly what to do to avoid moire, rough edges and other complications of resizing gone wrong.

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Sometimes resizing is not enough. Some online stores demand a more standardized approach, especially when it's object retouching: shoes, bags, accessories and so on. What if we have to make sure that all the objects are aligned exactly the same way? Centered or stuck to the bottom, trimmed to the edges or fit into some margins of a particular width? It's relatively easy to do when you have products surrounded with a white background, but what if there's a shadow underneath or the background was never removed in the first place? Well, relax. It's all a piece of cake. When the workflow is correct, aligning any object only takes a second or two. I've automated the process 100%, and I'll show you how to do it.

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When the need to save arises, it means the retouching process is almost over. However, there are still many opportunities to mess it all up. We could save the images with the wrong quality setting and make them blurry and pixelated, or we could save them to a random folder with a random name and lose forever. That's why this chapter is important: it's time to learn how to control quality and size and never lose an image again.

screenshot of notepad with javascript for Photoshop

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Introduction to catalogue retouching

Specific qualities of a catalogue retoucher

How many images you can do in one day

Course requirements

Course outline and structure

Catalogue retouching. E-commerce. Product images

Photo shoots in online stores

Typical problems of studio photographs

2. Organization of workspace

Retoucher's workspace: brass tacks

Color and tone perception tests

Monitor settings

Basic color correction by numbers

Photoshop color settings

Mouse or tablet?

PC or Mac?

Retina and other HD displays

Non-destructiveness myth

3. Color correction

Prepress and web

Color Matching

Color Preservation

Adobe Camera Raw

Raw and JPEG in ACR. Comparison

Current process vs 2010

Image correction in ACR

A basic preset

Camera Raw features

Step by step correction examples

4. Automation in Photoshop

Photoshop versions and languages compatibility

Actions

Loading and running actions

Simple Actions

Complex Actions

Scripts

Running scripts

Why scripts and how they can be used

Check image size with a script

Useful JavaScript commands

Script Listener

Script Events Manager

Events list

5. How to set up Photoshop

Preferences

Panels

Shortcuts

Exporting and importing custom settings

6. Background removal. Isolation

Isolation tools and techniques overview

Rectangular & Elliptical Marquee

Freehand & Polygonal Lasso

Magic wand & Quick Selection

Pen Tool

Quick Mask

Select Color Range

Select & Mask

Select Subject

Levels & Curves

Selective Color

Background Eraser

Magic Eraser

Blend if

Tools and methods of choice

Rectangular Marquee and Magic Wand

Modifying selections

Isolating action

Isolation of multiple images

Isolation types

Total white

Isolation with a natural shadow

Automatic shadow restoration

Isolation with an artificial shadow

Isolation with a reflection

Model isolation

Isolation on gray

Chroma key isolation

Transparency isolation

Complicated issues

White shoes on gray background

Gray fur on gray background

Thin fur

White net on gray

Automatic isolation

A bit of theory

Demonstration

"Magical" isolation

Isolation quality control

Typical mistakes

Final isolation check

7. Retouching basics

Transformation tools

Liquify (Forward Warp, Freeze Mask, Pin Edges)

Free Transform (Warp)

Puppet Warp

“Use it once” rule

Imperfections removal

Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush, Patch Tool

Content-aware Fill

Brush and Mixer Brush

Clone Stamp (Clone Source)

History Brush

Useful filters. Blur, Noise, Dust & Scratches

Blending modes

Apply the last settings & Fade trick

Frequency Separation

A method with a bad reputation

How to make it work

Removing wrinkles with frequency splitting

8. Model images retouching

The overall idea of model retouching

Skin color correction

Adjusting skin tone in ACR

Adjusting skin tone in Photoshop

Automatic skin enhancing and smoothing

Human body

Feet

Legs

Bikini area

Elbows

Nipples

Underwear marks on skin

Armpits

Face

Hair

Shape correction in general

Poses

Body shape

Plus size models

9. Clothes retouching

Clothes shape

Clothing wrinkles removing

Transparent clothes

Close-ups (detail shots)

10. Ghost mannequin

Mannequin removal

Backside insertion (neck joint)

Backside images demands

Mannequin symmetry

Trousers

Dresses

Transparency problem

Underwear on mannequins

11. Flat lay images

Flat lay photography

Flat lay isolation

Flat lay retouching

Props removal

Removing wrinkles

Sets combination

Flat underwear

12. Object retouching

Shoes

Bags

Reflections

Dirt and fingerprints

Jewelry

Watches

Scarves

Sunglasses

Miscellaneous objects

Labels

13. Background retouching

Posterization

Background cleaning action

Content-aware Scale & Fill

14. Moire reduction

Moire kinds

Camera induced moire

Preview moire

Interpolation moire

Colored moire

Monochrome moire

Advanced moire reducing methods

Channel Mixer

Hue method

Lab mode moire suppression

Split frequencies method

True Moire

Dealing with moire: a scheme to follow

15. Black & white items

Overall contrast

White

Black

Black suede

Black velvet

Texture revealing in general

Black texture revealing

White texture revealing

Glossy items

16. Quality control

Technical requirements

A list of typical demands

Lighting

All kinds of items demands

Specific quality demands

Isolation

Objects

Mannequins and flat lays

Models

Quality control process

Adobe Bridge

17. Changing color

Color, Tint, Tone, Shade, Hue

Automatic colorizing

Colorizing action

Blend if in color changing

Black to white and vice versa

18. Resizing images

Image size

Crop Tool

Canvas Size

Sharpening

Moire after sharpening

19. Image alignment

Aligning images via Trim

Aligning images via Selection

Aligning images via Alpha channel

Aligning images via Edge detection

Smart Blur edge detection

High Pass edge detection

Find Edges edge detection

Summary

20. Saving

Saving hi-res images as backup

Saving a Jpeg multiple times

Saving via scripts

Saving quality

Batch resave with lower quality

Batch to a specific folder with specific quality

Batch while preserving folder structure

Batch to specific file size

Afterword

Top

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