In Soviet Russia we Photoshop you! LOL.
I used to use Aldus photostyler (along with pagemaker) before Adobe bought Aldus. Only then did we transition to photoshop. Mostly used it for scanning and post-scanning adjustment.
through a glass darkly...
Pencil on the neg makes the image lighter, not darker, so you can pencil out freckles, lighten up wrinkles, and generally bring up the value of the face quite easily. Hurrell would shoot with a sharp lens, not a soft lens (at least not later in his career. He used soft lenses in his earliest work, then switched to a Goerz Celor), and preferred the glow from clean skin using makeup only to define the eyes and lips, and then he or his retouchers would clean up the skin blemishes on the neg. You can smooth out the retouching marks with a blending stump (kind of a tight roll of paper a bit thicker than a pencil, usually cut on the diagonal), and Hurrell was also known to apply powdered graphite to smooth out the texture of the skin. If you've tried this, it also has the effect of bringing up the value of the skin 1/2 to 1 stop or so, so it's like having another light.
You can also tone down a hotspot with a knife or with an abrasive reducer to thin out an overly dense section of the neg. The knife is also used to sharpen fuzzy lines. If you see Victorian photographs of live toddlers with sharp fingers, this is probably the result of knife work on the plate negative.
A certain amount of experience in working on negs is infinitely useful when working in Photoshop.
Retouching the negs was an important reason to use an 8x10 as they could see what they were doing. Also they would dupe negs for riskier work - for more extensive work they would airbrush paint onto prints and rephotograph them.
In Rochester we had a fairly famous retoucher for Elizabeth Taylor move back here to dry out, he made a lot of money because Liz needed a lot of work.
But there were more blue-collar retouchers around and for $20 to $100 they could fix most anything from removing power lines to fixing portraits. I used them in the 1980s.
Around 1988 or so Kodak had quite an impressive and expensive digital retouching system, I think it was $500K or so. But Scitex also had mature software and skilled operators, I bet they were well ahead of the Soviets at the same time. There were even some individual photographers with elaborate custom PCs and software, the name Ron Scott comes to mind. Check out the retro tech: http://www.ronscott.com
http://bybee.com/ Gerald Bybee was an early Photoshop artiste, he even borrowed one of my ideas once ;-0 but he was pretty darn good regardless.
Remember this one?
I used to know someone whose parents were commercial retouchers working for the big school portrait studios, and I'd imagine outfits like Olan Mills and such. They would get long rolls (70mm or 46mm were the standard formats) of color negs and retouch the zits out of all those senior portraits with dyes and brushes. It only took a few minutes per neg, as I understand it. Sometimes you see Adams Retouching Machines with the rollfilm transport and usually two magnifying glasses for this purpose. There was also a higher powered binocular magnifier for 35mm and 46mm negs.
Yeah and the retouching machine "jiggled" so as to make the retouching marks blend better. It was quite a skill, there were more women doing it back then for some reason.
When I saw this thread I thought it was about these:http://www.google.com/imgres?q=airbr...,r:4,s:0,i:150
One man's Mede is another man's Persian.
i know what you mean bob ..
i apprenticed with a portrait photographer in the 80s
and was taught lead negative retouching as well
as abrading film and and using a knife an graphite dust on prints as needed.
i don't do alt process but still use some of those skills when i retouch a scan.
Also there was, this was 1985-6, a large expensive computerized scanner/editor, in a special air conditioned room, whereby the operator was editing sweaters for a catelog. And with a click of a button would change the color from blue to red or green. It was very high-tech at the time. Looked far superior to the Soviet version.
I believe one of the businesses was called Quadra Color. One was the photoshop for the ad department of the Sacramento Bee.