Interview with Pratik Naik, Craftsman of Luxury Skin


By a complete stroke of luck I was able meet and get to know a little bit about the keen eye behind the high end boutique retouching studio Solstice Retouch, Pratik Naik. Now you can too – he was cool enough to spend some time to answer some questions for about his work, life, theory, and practice. He’s not only a really talented artist, but a teacher too. You can find his training content on CreativeLive, FStoppers, and more.

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The Art and Science of Clipping

Clipping. Cut Outs. Knock Out. Outlining. Pathing. It’s called a lot of different things but if you’ve spent any time working in Commercial Retouching – at any level – you know that it’s pretty much job one. That’s because Clipping is the absolute foundation of any real high res retouching job.
At face value it might seem like the easiest thing in the world – you’re just outlining shapes. But with time you’ll come to understand that a high quality path is the result of a million tiny decisions made along the way.

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The Day You Gave Away Your Layered File…



… is the Day You Gave Away Money

Has a client you’ve been working with suddenly asked you to send over your full working PSD? Yeah? Did you do it? It’s ok. But you probably got screwed.
If you refused to hand over your layered files, were you worried that maybe you should have, and that you unnecessarily soured the relationship?
It took me years of experience, thousands of jobs, and a few missteps to understand all the nuances of this subject and write my own rulebook on it. It seems pretty simple now. Read on and I’ll tell you my complete manifesto so you’ll be able to negotiate like a pro the next time you get asked to provide your working files to a client.

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Top 7 Photoshop Hangups That Make You Want to End It All, with Quick Fixes

Goodbye There are so many modal settings in Photoshop that it can seem like a virtual mine field of things to accidentally click that will screw up your day. When you’re in the flow of work it can be a painful productivity hit when you get thrown off by something that is just not working. Here are 7 of the most common hangups that I’ve found bring me to a standstill. Check it out and join in the discussion if you’ve got some of your own. Continue Reading →

Better Grain using the Camera Raw Filter

Wheat ears in the hand. Harvest concept

99% of retouched files are going to have a grain layer sitting right at the top. It ties the elements together and provides a unified surface. If you’re doing a little slap-dash compositing, it can really help to hide any soft spots that may have been left behind. The Camera Raw Filter provides much more flexibility with the look of the grain, and you can go back to adjust it later with ease. Here’s how.

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Warp Zone – Set up an object for maximum warping

Getting the most control over your warps can be a puzzle if you haven’t figured out a good system to use every time. The good news is there is one, and it involves embedded smart objects so your warps are editable. The key to ultimate flexibility that many people miss though is the alignment step. I’ll show you how.

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Quick and easy mask extensions with Content Aware Fill

One of the painful steps in doing image extensions – aside from extending the picture – is redoing all of the masks after the canvas size changes. Masks are usually going to contain gradients, and they’re almost to impossible extend seamlessly without putting in a lot of time. Let Content Aware Fill help.

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Free your layer effects by dropping Fill to 0%

mmmDropLayer Effects are a really powerful set of tools for creating quick effects applied to pixel information. Most people think of them in terms of typographic or design-y uses, but they’re an absolutely essential component of a high-res photo realistic retouching workflow. Follow this trick to free them from your layer stack and add endless flexibility.

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