Let's start talking about mark ups. Mark ups, mark ups, alright. It's all about communication, I think this is, I don't know, this is again, as I said a bit underrated, and people don't pay attention to this.
Sets a tone for the job, man. You've got the time, if you ask the right questions, then it gets smooth after this, if you miss a few it can get hanky quick. It shows your new client or your old client that you're on top of it, you're the guy to be called, you're the lady to be called, because you're asking stuff in advance.
So what he's saying he just said, you're asking stuff in advance so oddly enough, on the communication, what we're talking about is not you getting a markup from your client, we're talking about you giving your client a markup. So I do this often with new clients, especially beauty and skin work and makeup ads, especially with those I send an initial markup with the estimate, I'm going to say that again, I send an initial markup with the estimate, and what ...
I say is, great, thank you for calling me for this job, the opportunity to bid on this job, whatever I'm going to say and this is the kind of stuff I'm looking at, do you guys want these cross hairs out? Do you want this softened, I think this should go down 50%, I was thinking the neck might need to be cleared. Might you have another shot we could put new shoulders in, whatever the case may be I markup the file and send it with the estimate. And it's my way of saying, hello, let's communicate. And then hopefully, they will be sending it back to me. Their own markup if I get the job. How much, how far to go, this is so important, isn't it?
Do it now.
Yeah, do it now. It's especially for the bidding process, but aside from the bidding process it's also for the job. Send a markup halfway through the job, especially new clients yeah, especially new clients. Managing expectations, what can get done, or what you think you're going to do, huh?
Or what you've got to fix, big. It's like if you get a shot and the feet are cut off. Circle that baby and go what are you going to do here? You're going to crop in and never worry about it, or do we have to get another picture, and start stripping in feet. And it's just a good time to talk about a bird's eye view stuff.
Now I'm going to say something kind of weird, I don't have it written down here, but I used the markup process for my scheduling. Isn't this weird, so what will happen is, this is not for the estimating job, this is actually if the job actually, I finally get it, I will take, I'm going to give you an example, if we get the CBS, yeah I can say that, CBS job and we're doing a bunch of gallery shoots, and I have five shows I'm doing, five different set ups, I'll take a shot, like a group shot from each one, and I'll mark it up because then in my head, I'm going, okay, I need half an hour for that, 15 minutes for that, this I need, okay, I need that, okay, that's times five, got it, that's my job, I use it to do my timing. Ooh, ooh, that's spotting, ooh, that's a lot, add some time and I'll actually write notes on the side of the markup, ooh, 15 minutes, ooh, plan on 20 minutes, you better call a friend this is too much work, that's happened before.
That's how many, you start getting a real idea of how many touches you're going to have on that piece of artwork.
And every touch is money.
Every time you touch it, is, yeah.
Every touch is a dollar, yeah, that was a funny thing to say, so, it's also, and I apologize I don't have it on this sheet, but timing, I do it for my own estimating, spotting I think the markups are where you really, it forces you to look at how many of you all get a piece and you're looking at it on your screen, big right and you're like oh okay, it's this. No, no, no, darlings, woo, you need to be zoomed in and go, oh, do the monk thing, and look at it, so you can mark it up properly for the spotting. And you don't have to do it on every shot, if you're doing the what do you call it, the product shot the coffee, hoo-ha's that you're doing, drink ad, a computer product, do it on one. If you do it on one you kind of get the idea, you don't have to markup every 600 shots.
This, again, run a solar curve and find out what the lens on the digital camera is looking like if they haven't cleaned that thing in awhile you'll see every shot's going to have, a dozen spots that you've got to take into consideration and then you can send that back in the markups, on the estimate, and say hey, dude your lens needs cleaning, I've got to hit every one of these images 12 different spots here.
Oh so that was interesting, I've never done that before I've never sent a solar curve picture back to a client, that's a really good idea.
Yeah, hmm, you're smart. And we're going to talk about, in this section, we're going to talk about methods or markups, we're going to show you some samples of jobs we get and how they're done. It's so much fun, alright. So, there's different, very many ways, folks do markups, we have some stories. Some of the most common ones we get are, they do a layer in Photoshop and they mark it up. You will get sticky notes in Photoshop which is his personal favorite. Sometimes you'll get just a PDF, that's marked up, I think these are actually fairly decent samples so you'll get a PDF that's marked up and then the comments are on a second page. So I call that the PDF. Then there's also third party software the companies use and we're going to discuss that in a moment to do their markups, and there's a variety of reasons, pros and cons to use those, alright. So, let's go to the perfect world, alright. Wouldn't it be lovely, I was just about to sing, but I can't sing, there's a song, alright. Wouldn't it be lovely if you got markups like this, that it was actually like, remove, soften, remove, darken, usually put DK, if it was spelled out like this. No, what you get is scrawl. You get that, now I can read that as fill, but often times you'll get scrawl, and you don't know what it is. So I'm just pointing it out that this is, a common way that you get markups, and you're going to have to deal with it. I often get markups I can't read, and they, especially in entertainment and they make signs. So I wanted to talk a little bit of some common marks that people make, so if you see this little E thing, that means delete, delete. And boy, it can be hard to read sometimes. Now, I find this often and I don't know if this is common to everybody on the planet, but, one stroke line means soften, two stroke line means soften more. It's not delete, but it's stop, we say step on, step on it, step on it, it's blurred a little, step on it that's a term you'll see. And for trimming, body trimming, they're just going to draw a line they're not going to say trim the body and whatnot. You'll often get things where you'll get a circle and they don't say what they want, like that looks like it could be darken, how many times do you get marks and there's no comment?
Most times, every once in awhile you get a slick one but rarely do I get a set of markups and not have to make another call and go, what did you mean by this?
Let me say that again, they mark it up but they don't say. So if you markup this, now, I know what that means. You don't have to say anything, but we'll get something like this they'll circle it or this, the opening of the shirt, circled right there and not say anything, well, what does that mean, do you want hair there? Do you want it dark, well, obviously you don't want hair there, do you want it just cleaned up, do you want the shirt closed? Do you want the shirt straightened? And we often get really bad markups, we mostly get bad markups, I think that's pretty fair. You have to tell the story about the phone one.
The phone, oh, the phone one. So I got, I have gotten markups before, where they'll take my artwork, and they'll print it out, hang it on a wall, with the sun coming in the window, and they'll all sit around with grease pencils. Most of the times the wrong colored grease pencils, so it'll be a white piece of art and they'll all grab white grease pencils, or light color grease pencils and they just go at it, and they're all kabitzing like a bunch of hens, and they're talking, and they're like is that cool, yeah, that's great send that to Raible. Someone will pull out a cell phone, and start taking pictures with the sun glaring on the white artwork with the white grease pencils, go here, do this, and I'm like, dude (laughs) you can't read any of this. So then they'll start taking pictures of different parts of it that's when I usually, I'll Amazon them, like a real quick box of crayons, like dude here, 64 colors pick a color that contrasts with the print out, please do.
Alright, so I'm going to say something about business, and how this is controversial or trouble. So he's talking about an environment where he's working in the house, he does not want to drive two hours, to this place to work and have to sit there. So he wants to be home, he's at home. This company sends the file, they've got, one, two, three, four, five people who look, have to look at this piece of art and make their comments. So the fastest way, most efficient way for them, is to have a print and people write on it. Now they have to get that to him, and meanwhile, the person responsible for getting him the information, the production manager has 17 phone calls, four other people to manage, someone screaming behind them, so what are they supposed to do? They're doing the best they can, and they send a picture, and it's horrible. Because first, can you imagine, you guys must do this at home, if you've ever done a markup. How much time does it take, it takes some time. To do that, so who's going to sit at the computer, open up the TIF or JPG, mark it out, and type it out, the guy has got to send it to him, he doesn't have time and keep in mind, what's the end goal, he wants to work at home, so he's got to make it easy, so they keep sending it. Because imagine, if he's a pain in the hiney, they're going to say no, we're going to hire someone else who will sit here because we don't have the time to go in and redo this, so it's a pickle, because he's got to ask for what he needs, but he can't be a pain, ooh. So you really got to balance this. And yeah, I find I cringe for him sometimes, because I'm like ooh, what are you going to do, you need the information but you don't want to be a pain. Yeah?
Alright, he doesn't care, he's like ah, dude, redo it. Alright, this one's you.
This one is the one, this is how I like to get stuff, so I send them a full sized flattened piece of art, revision one revision two, the quality folks will take that make a separate layer, a notes layer on top of it. And they'll draw in right up against with a smaller or bigger airbrush exactly what they want and then they can switch colors, you can pick any kind of color you want in Photoshop, and these guys are savvy enough of Photoshop to do this. Then there's another tool in Photoshop that's called a sticky, it's a notes tool, and it's in by your eyedropper, in by your ruler, you just pop on that you touch on your image, and out comes a little dialogue box, and you can just type in what exactly what you need there. And then it disappears into that little baby icon. So they just send back one full sized JPG or TIF back on the Dropbox and I can see everywhere where they've marked up stuff and if everyone uses different colors I can see this guy's got this opinions, this opinions, or everything in yellow's going to be masking problems, everything in purple's are going to be add shadows, whatever that means, and then there's more detailed stuff, and if it's all spelled out for me then I know exactly if I got the information I need or not or if I'm back on the phone saying, I didn't understand this please explain further. But this is probably the cleaner way, if I were to put together a perfect world, this is what I'd ask for.
Cool, so he just said something that I think is important, this is what I'd ask for. It didn't occur to me until about last year, to actually ask my clients how they would like to do the markup process. Isn't that funny, it didn't even occur to me, to say hey, how can I service you better? What can I do to make your job easy, so, on the checklist you might want to add markups, how would you like to get them and receive them, because I think it's, it matters, and I think these are those little things that clients aren't going to tell you, do you know what I mean, they're not going to say hey, make sure you, you take care of it.
And it's an opportunity to be smooth, you don't have to be a snot about it, and you don't want to be needy about it, but look at this, find out what you need, and then elegantly ask for it, and do it short and sweet. And it just gives you another opportunity to deal with them and be the folks they like getting the phone calls for, and the folks they like hanging out with.
Cool, should we take a question?
How large are they needing to look at these, I'm just wondering are you not having people almost mark things up on tablets or iPads at this point, you know on PDF software?
Sometimes they'll look at it on their phone, it's a whole nother box of lovely.
He's not kidding, they look at it, not kidding, they look on things on the phones, so great question, so, I will say the primary entertainment industry clients, what they'll do is they'll print out a 40 inch, by let fall 40 inch wide by let fall Epson print, and then the folks will come in the room and mark it up. Keep in mind that industry is doing a lot of outdoor, and posters so that's what they do, I have (laughs) literally had folks print out prints close to that size and walk into an office and look at it and say it looks too green, and since I happened to be in that studio, I could say yes, and the walls of your office are painted mint green. A major network studio out there often currently, proofs on a phone. For outdoor. I don't know what to say, I absolutely don't know what to say. Tablets, people marking up on tablets, I find the folks who do that are ad people. I don't know why, I think ad agencies are a little slicker, and everybody on their staff has a pad, and they're connected and they're just more fluid with that. There is no one at the entertainment ad agency that I work at that walks around with a pad, except for the sketch guys. But at ad agencies I work at, everyone's got one. So I think it's kind of industry dependent and that's a really good question. Because wouldn't that be easy?
Yeah, I like the idea as long as you're zooming in and not letting anything get by you, so that's why I give them as big as possible, so they can zoom into stuff and check all that out, I don't want them seeing something little and not getting the problems, not being able to see the problems.
But I will tell you I believe we are moving away from print proofing. It used to be no matter what, no matter where I was I had to send a print, no matter what and we are moving away to more electronic proofing, something you said, so it occurs to me also, we haven't talked about this, ask them, hey would you mind if you just, marked it up, could you just, you can always ask. And I think in our industry we're often afraid to ask. We just, like, we do what we're told, we're given what we're given and if it's not working we make it work instead of saying, hi, excuse me would you, could we maybe work this out? So ask, just don't be a schnook, is that the word, schnook?
Don't be a schnook.
But, and you word that right when, hey here, I've got everything done for you, I'm sending I'm Dropboxing, I'm emailing this revision, this version to you can you just make, and you just say it right then, can you just make an extra layer in Photoshop and write on that notes layer an extra layer in, and you've already let them write it to where you want them, and then they read it, they make another notes layer, and then they're already zooming in and out, they're grabbing airbrushes and oh, smaller, and harder and different colors that already read to them, it just puts them in that arena where they're going to do what you need.
And you just gave me an idea, I think we have a few clients that are, they're pretty big clients, they're huge clients for us, that, why don't I send them a pad as a gift and say hey, what if we do our markups on this. I'm taking that, that was a really good idea, you may not have meant it but you gave me a really good idea so thank you for that. Should we talk about design studio, review studio?
Alright, do you want to take this or do you want me to talk about it?
I will take this, this is from our friend the photographer and yesterday we had some questions from photographers and answers and it hit home with me because we asked them what are retouchers doing that you don't like and he says, make it easy on me if I want to use different transfer protocols go with that, I'm the client. If I name a file like that, don't change it, I'm the client. This is the way he likes to call out his artwork, so then I go okay, he's the boss, let him do it and he can see where the positives are, this is an electronic call out application, and with this when you can zoom in and out, and circle up different spots, so if it's a great big change he can sit way back, if you need zip in and grab these little baby specs or highlights or whatever you can do that. That's positive one, positive two is every time that happens it automatically gives you a number, and makes to the right side, option for extra notes to be typed up so you can do one without the other, but for the most part he's directed them, to also type in the directions. It's also a name by person so if you were doing a bunch of these you can already kind of see, okay, this guy's looking for, you know, the lettuce is just never green enough for this fella, this guy likes tighter, you know, whatever, everyone's got their main little peccadillos or whatever but for us, what gets touchy with this is now we have one application open, and Photoshop so now we're looking back and forth between them. These scroll down so when all these markups on the right are scrolled down, you're going through now 21 to 30, now 30 through 40, okay, so there's that disconnect as well, and you're jumping from that over to your picture, to your circling markups and a Photoshop and trying to cover it and it gets a little shaky there. What's been working for us and is good insurance for us is to take screen grabs of this stuff. So we screen grab every one of those typed out markups, that is numbered and that comes in the Photoshop file with it so that way I open up the Photoshop art and here's another layer with all those screen grab typed out notes, we also have a screen grab of the artwork and I color range each one of those circles and each one of those numbers so now, I have the numbers and all the markups floating on a layer above the artwork and I can see through those and they go over the artwork I'm actually working on. So I'm looking at artwork, I'm looking at call outs, I'm looking at numbers and then also on another layer I have all the typed out instructions as well and they get pretty, well, it gets three and four strips of those typed out information but I haven't missed one yet, so it's a bit of insurance, it's a little bit of an investment, but I haven't made any mistakes, nothing's gotten by me since.
Yeah, he's looking at me because something has. Alright, so I'm going to take my portion of this, we work with the same, I love this client. I absolutely, 100% adore this client, and I hate this program, 100% hate this program, drives me nuts and I'm going to explain why. And it doesn't matter, it does not matter that I hate this program, this is his, and this is what we do. So first of all, as he said, it identifies the note maker, why that's important is I have a list of the team. So we've had jobs where I've logged on, this is a web based program, it's called review studio, so I've had, I know that the team is, I keep that in the worksheet, so I can see when four of the people haven't marked it up yet, and I wait, I don't do, I don't open up the file, and do ten revisions, I wait until all the revisions are in, and then I do it, I don't go back and forth. Also because I'll miss something. Two, what's nice is you can look at this from anywhere, so the client doesn't have to be in the office, a client can be in Tahiti, and I have often been in some very nice places I should say, when a job has come in and I can go on review studio, and see what's coming and or work on it, so you know, we have a place in Truckee in the mountains, and we like to sit there and go do some work, and it's awesome, so I can look at this from anywhere, which is also great, it is such a pain in the hiney to translate so for example, this is a, I'm going to guess this was a two hour job, there's actually, do you notice how there's no spotting on the, no spotting markup? There is so much stuff on here I can't even tell you, not marked up at all because they expect you to do it. It's not spoken, I just felt like I should say it, there's a ton of stuff on that. This is about a two hour job, and often on this particular client and these jobs, there is as Simon said, three tiers of markups, it takes me a half an hour, a half an hour, to get the markup into Photoshop, scale it exactly and translate each markup so what I have to do is I have to have review studio open, and I have to go oh, what's number one? Okay, what's number, okay, what's it say, okay, where is it, oh, it's over there. And then I type or hand write so in Photoshop, I have this over the top and on that layer, I write what number one was and I write it over here. And number three and number four, pain in the hiney, takes me a half an hour on a three hour job, if you do the math, money wise that's not worth it. So it was really an issue for us and I didn't know how to handle it and because I would normally charge for that. And then we just said okay, we've got to charge for it. But okay, we charged for it, he didn't complain, I agonized over this forever and he was like yeah. So ask for it, it's not a problem, the other thing is before I did that, before I literally dragged that file into Photoshop, I missed stuff because it was such a pain for me to try to go from one screen to the other and translate.
An additional thing I do in missing stuff, so when I have that floating notes layer, and all those circles and all those numbers, when I'm done with one, I mask it out or change it to some crazy color, like a blitzing green and that way, that's green it's good it's touched, that's nothing I have to, I've covered it. So there's a done, I can like cross off the list. Because it's on another layer, I just did that.
I actually, he changes color, I literally, with a red marker, I do a cross cross and then I know I did it. Also why that's helpful is, do you remember I said I like to take vacations? And I like to go away, so I've started to do this in house when I go to an agency alright, picture this, you're in an entertainment ad agency, things are flying like crazy, you've got five projects, there's a production manager, who it's her whole life to manage all these jobs. I'll be working on that 44 GB file. I have to stop to go work on a rush thing they just need a little shoe lace tied on a job. I have to close that file and reopen it, I may never get back to that main file, someone else has to pick up that file. If I don't mark where I was done, or what little dot I got how are they going to know where the revisions are, and in entertainment they don't markup the file, they have a print. So as a courtesy I have now learned that I leave a markup layer inside my layered file, when I close it and I'll just put a big circle, area not finished yet, okay, area not finished yet. Because for example we will bring the high res actor in the shot in and not retouch it. It's all mass out it's ready to go, and if someone comes in new they see a high res file, they're like oh, it's done. They don't know it's not done. And is there a note, a piece of paper that's going to be given to them? Probably not, put your notes in the Photoshop file, cool, alright, on this deal, what we do is we save out either the screen captures or we save out that Photoshop file with the note layer on top as a flat JPG and we put it in the versions folder for billing. So we don't forget to charge. Very important, put your markups in your versions folder for you billing or in a folder for notes from client for billing and make sure the version number's on that, call it V1 call it V2 call it V3, so that when you look at your versions, do you guys remember on the estimate section, we talked about we give three revisions, three rounds of revisions and then they have to pay for it, you need to know what the three rounds of revisions are. And you don't need to just know that they got three rounds of revision, it's very helpful if you can tell them what the revision was. Like, oh, do you remember on version one, we took out this and added four people, you forgot about, do you remember on revision two, we added this because I assure you your clients can't remember what they asked for or in what order so markups can be really handy for that too. And was there anything else on that, I think that's, I think we're kind of good on the section.
That's enough talking about markups, for crying out loud don't you think?
Is there anything else about versions? Let me take one second to just kind of review the especially the billing and delivery.
So not only did I get my buddies a big box of crayons the one time, to markup these things, but they were, they had these printers, I don't know what they pay for these printers and every time these prints come out it's a couple hundred bucks and they got like, kindergarten stick on your refrigerator magnets, trying to hold these great big heavy prints up on top of the wall, and it's every day they're knocking out 10 to 20 of these things, so as soon as I got home I ran up to the hardware store and got the big heavy duty magnets, set on those couple of boxes in there, and they were too strong, so these-
Totally, you can't pull them off, oh, yeah, and your fingernails break when you pull them, I remember those, oh.
They all got like blood blisters on them, because they would like pull apart and snap, and they would be like, ah! And you just hear that going around the office, and you just sit there giggling.
But it means they think of him often, so I just want to take a second to kind of recap this session so we can review a little bit about what we talked about, so first of all, first thing we talked about was file size, manage how big you build your files, I can't tell you how big you, I don't know what your jobs are I can tell you how we do, and communicate with the printer, know that they're often going to ask you for stuff that is not possible. Like, a 1,000, a gigabyte file flat in Photoshop, you can't work on, you can't add layers to that, so communicate, talk, and figure out a workflow that works for you and be sensible because time is money, yeah, absolutely. Naming, I spent a long time talking about naming. Naming, naming, naming, please come up with a system if you don't use mine, that's cool, but find something and stick to it, absolutely stick to it because I know, folks have gone through this you go home, or you're working in the middle of the night, you've got a separate job and wait, what was that file called and you don't know where it is or what round it is, and I do want to reiterate the fact that if you can manage your folders, manage your folders and manage your naming, you can take more jobs in. Like we are so good at like banging from one job to the next because our system's in place. We can find stuff, I can be on a job, a client can email a real quick change, I can just close that window, open it up real quick, do it and name it and then come back to it two days later and I didn't accidentally save it in some weird spot it's all the roadmaps already made, for when you're crazy, do you know what I mean? When you're crazy you don't have to figure out a roadmap. And then markups, people should be doing more markups. Darn it, do more marks. I'd like a shirt that says do more markups, anyway.
We do have a couple questions.
Okay. So, back when you were talking about font being and typing your enemy, and you talked about that you have two layers, can you explain that a little bit more, the question was what did you mean for two layers, do you edit both or is one just left untouched, and the other one not edited.
Great question and Jennifer Bare came up with this system at BLT and I love it, so what the, the first layer is the live editable type, it's where you're literally you've got your font, you set it, you do whatever magic beautiful voodoo that you do and you set your type. What you then do is go to in your Photoshop palette, you duplicate that layer and you say make shape layer, out of the font layer so you have two fonts, two layers, one is a live type, and one is a shape layer, just paths. And you put a black or vector mask on the live type, or put it in a folder with the black mask, so it's turned off you can not see it. I want to stress this, I think we talked about this, in some of our other Photoshop classes, when you build your files in Photoshop, which we will get to in the next section, please if you have elements in there that are turned off like, a layer of live type, please put a black mask on it, don't just turn the eyeball off, put a black mask on it if you put a vector mask on it, that is hide all, the vector mask takes hardly any memory so you're not making your Photoshop file larger if you put a black mask on it, you will make your Photoshop file larger. Not a ton larger, but it'll be larger, and when you have a 44 GB file, every little bit adds up so the question is, you don't edit both you edit the live type, and when you, if you have an edit, then you have to throw away that shape layer and redo it.
Great, thank you, thank you for that. Okay, another question, this came from Alejandro, who said are there occasions when clients ask for your input on their markups, and how do you handle that? So if they're looking for, I don't know if it would be if you agree with them, if you don't agree.
If it's already, if it's been a trouble, up until that point and they're just looking for a bailout, yeah that's to be like hey, we don't know how to figure this out, what would you do? You know, something's out of focus or whatever, I was like, well, shoot another, shoot another shirt, shoot another bust, whatever's out of focus, and maybe that's what they're looking for at that time, so you've got to think on your feet, but at that point yeah, they're not asking should it be lighter or darker I don't think.
No yeah, I think what, no, the short answer for me, is no, they don't ask, but we offer input, and the other thing I would like to encourage retouchers to do again, to have it be more of a symbiotic relationship, when we get calls, call outs, and would you please do something we don't just do it necessarily, we'll look at it and say you know what, could we maybe make a suggestion here, rather than darkening under the neck, can I pull the jaw up or rather than retouching that neck, can I just straighten and cover it with a shirt? So we will offer suggestions, and I think that's part of why people come to us, we don't just say, oh okay, we'll do what you do, we'll try to find a better solution for them. And ask, don't be afraid to ask. So many people in our industry they're just afraid to say, would you mind if we... And I do that when I get a really bad call out. When people, I'm going to give you a couple of examples, of not bad call outs, but... Where I've made suggestions. I did a poster for an entertainment ad agency, many many many years ago, and the lead, principals of these agencies were French, and we did a movie poster and the gal on the poster was incredibly shapely normal, not stereotypical shapely. Which French markets would appreciate, it's a normal body not overly Barbie dolled if you will. I asked them I said is this an international poster, or is this a domestic poster? And he said domestic and I said, honey, you're going to have to trim this. They're not, this isn't going to fly here. And we had a good relationship, and I said it in French so it was fantastic, and he said no that's ridiculous, it looks better the way it is and I said, you're absolutely right it does look better the way it is and sure enough three days later, he was like uh, could you go ahead and trim that? So he, so things like that will happen, but I'm not afraid to make a suggestion. And even though he was right, it looked better the way it was, it just wouldn't fly in an American market. So, that kind of thing.