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From handmade to digital: The transfiguration of photo retouching & CGI with Ledesma Millenium

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Meet Ledesma Millenium, one of the first advertising photography studios in Argentina. Focused on photography, digital retouching, 3d and photographic production for almost 40 years, Ledesma Millenium was able to give us an insight on the technological advances within the industry. Continue reading to discover how Ledesma Millenium has developed CGI as a tool and how they’ve gown as an international studio.

Client: Nike

Production Paradise: What’s the origin story behind you and Ledesma Millennium?

Ledesma Millenium:  The studio started as an advertising photography studio a little over 50 years ago and today we are more dedicated to photo retouching. When we started, Juan Carlos Ledesma was one of the pioneers doing automotive and product advertising photography in Argentina, Colombia, Spain, etc. Everything in photography was handmade. During all these years we went from analog to digital, always adapting to the new trends.

When Martin Ledesma started working on digital retouching 25 years ago, he was using Photoshop and that version didn’t even have layers! It required a lot of skill… with time and technological evolution, everything changed. Today Ledesma Millennium is a digital post-production studio for everything graphic.

Client: Coors Light

Production Paradise: What does a typical day on the job look like?

Ledesma Millenium: There is not such thing as a typical day. We usually arrive in the morning to work on pending things that we have been working on or to make some adjustments to jobs that were sent the day before and so on. You can be very organised with the daily work, and suddenly some urgent work arises, which leads you to prioritise based on deadlines, some meeting outside the studio, or some call that was not scheduled. We try to be able to organise ourselves by the agenda of priorities, and I’m proud to say we always comply with the agreed deadlines.

Nowadays we work both in Latin America (for example, Mexico) and Dubai, which means sometimes it is complicated to organise the schedules considering the time differences of all these countries, but we mainly organise ourselves to work in the usual working hours of Argentina.

Client: Audi

Production Paradise: Which types of retouching do you do for clients and which is your favourite?

Ledesma Millenium: We are known for doing all kinds of retouching. We believe that is what we like most of this job. We do not limit to any particular aesthetic, or a way of working, but we adapt to each type of customer we have. I can say that maybe we feel more comfortable with cars because it was the main field of the studio for so many years, but the truth is that we also work a lot with products, models, liquids and compositions.  

Client: Gatorade

Production Paradise: To piggyback on the previous question, what type of retouching do you find the most complex to achieve and why?

Ledesma Millenium: Complex jobs do not worry us, perhaps a more tedious job is the retouching of hair because it is very thorough, detailed and takes time to do. It requires a lot of patience.

Production Paradise: What do you consider the top three most essential soft skills for your kind of job?

Ledesma Millenium: I think the ones that represent me the most are interpretation, creativity and perfectionism.

Client: Axe

Production Paradise: As you are also experienced in CGI –  what are the biggest differences between CGI and photography retouching?

Ledesma Millenium: In CGI you create something out of nothing, you need more time and you can have more freedom in the creation process. You need more technical knowledge and in almost every case you need retouching to finish polishing and make it more photographic. Retouching is much more artistic, photographic. You need more knowledge of light, perspective, shadows, reflections and unlike CGI this must be created. As with everything new, there are fanatics and critics. For me, it is a tool to use in certain cases; I like the organic feel that can be achieved with Photoshop much more. Many times I see very rough CGI that I don’t like.

Client: Brahma

Production Paradise: Do you have a favorite tool to use?

Ledesma Millenium: Photoshop and Wacom.

Production Paradise: How do you see the future of retouching and CGI? What new tools and new challenges do you think will arise in the future of retouching and CGI?

Ledesma Millenium: I think in the future there will be more interaction between CGI and retouching, the tools will simplify the process and possibly less knowledge will be needed to do the work. As any evolution in technology, it tends to make things easier and less time-consuming.

Client: Toyota Mexico

We would like to thank Mariela from Ledesma Millenium for taking the time to speak with us. You can see more of their work and services on Production Paradise and on their website.

If you want to show off your latest work to the industry in the next edition of Production Paradise’s Spotlight or Showcase magazine, contact us now!

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