Jewelry Retouching Service
Once everything is isolated, we begin by sharpening the various layers. There’s no right or wrong formula, it’s all about getting diamond facets to come out more. The rule we live by is this: the smaller the stone, the more contrast is gets – the larger the stone the more gradation in color is needs. Large stones need to showcase their facets and several gradients of shades in the blues, black and whites, etc.
We sharpen exclusively using the simple Unsharp Mask Filter (USM). We use 2-pass method: One stronger with a larger radius followed by one with a smaller radius. I’m not mentioning the actual numbers because this depends on the actual pixel size of your file. For print we use much larger radius and small ones for web output.Jewelry retouching isn’t a complicated science, it’s just a time consuming effort where attention to detail is primordial, and being able to reproduce a “look” for each client is important. Each one of our clients has their own style, making each job unique.
We then work on the contrasts of each layer to maximize the “pop” factor. Starting with the small pave diamonds, we usually brighten them up substantially until they are visually filled with mostly mid and high tones. We don’t want too much contrast (or tones) because depending on the final size; the diamonds will simply blend with the gold, and make the jewelry look dead.
Another useful technique is to darken the area behind the smaller diamonds (prongs) to increase this apparent contrast even more. Look at the following diagram to see an exaggerated view regarding contrasts. Diamonds with many defects are a pain in the butt to retouch and will require much more attention (hence time and money) should the client want them “clean”. Normally, the lower the quality of the jewelry, the more time is required to finish the Jewelry retouching when compared to a high-end item. There’s not much that can be done with items containing what I call “grains of salt”, or “peppered with inclusions”. If your client can’t live with that, then replacement or redrawing is needed as mentioned about. Several studios like to copy/paste the same stone over and over throughout an item to reduce the Jewelry retouching work. Take a look next advert you see, you’ll be surprised how often this technique is used (I personally don’t like that much as it’s too obvious in my eyes so care must be made when using this technique, you should rotate and distort appropriately).