By now, we all have some kind of idea as to how much work goes into a single magazine spread, commercial, or press release. A LOT. When you flip through a fashion magazine, for instance, the pictures of models you’re seeing most likely went through major retouching and Photoshopping. Skin is smoothed over, hair is glossed up, bodies are (sometimes) slimmed down — everything in the image becomes manipulated to project an often unrealistic aesthetic. So, what does the process look like, exactly?
Elizabeth Moss, the founder and head retoucher of Rare Digital Art, a retouching company based out of New York, provided PetaPixel‘s Michael Zhang with a behind-the-scenes look at just how complicated Photoshopping really is. And how much the process can transform a person’s natural face into something more digitally, well, processed. Moss, who has worked with Vogue, Elle, GQ, and Vanity Fair, created a 90-second video that captures 6 hours of Photoshopping one woman’s face.
Not only is video insanely detailed (considering how short it is), but it’s also pretty rare. Moss tells PetaPixel that “none of the high end retouchers make these type of videos, so the quality of the other before and after retouching videos available online are pretty terrible and not at all representative of what is typically done on high fashion editorials and campaigns.”
In 90 seconds, this video shows you, step-by-step, how a Photoshop artist creates an entirely different background, removes excess hair, smooths over acne and uneven skin, elongates and lightens up nails, slims jaw bone and fingers, and touches up the model’s lipstick (along with other minute details we didn’t even think twice about).
Here is the 6-hour process condensed into 90 seconds:
While this video is mesmerizing to watch, it also serves as a reminder: nobody is “perfect.” The fashion spreads and commercials we see are products of laborious reworking and reworking and intense, expert digital enhancing. And while I don’t want to be harping on the same thing over and over and over again (trust me, I’m feeling the Photoshop fatigue, too), we still live in a world that idolizes unrealistic bodies and faces.
So when you watch these videos, watch the precision that goes into every single digital alteration, every single strand of hair, and every pore. And just know that this is the kind of process so many images — the very images we regularly compare ourselves to — go through.
To watch even more Photoshopping videos courtesy of Moss, visit PetaPixel.
(Image via PetaPixel)