Brilliant Time-Lapse Video On Retouching A Rolex Watch

Retouching jewelry is an extremely time intensive task, especially when it is done correctly. It can involved hours of work to fix the most minute details. When it's done right, it looks effortless and this time-lapse video is no exception. The balance of artistry and technicality makes the final image what it is. 

Andreas Jörg is a photographer based out of Germany who created this video. He shot and retouched this from start to finish. The shoot took 1.5 hours and it was retouched in 2 hours. This video shows a sped up version of the process. The amazing part is that the before image looks beautiful as it is, showcasing how great Andreas is with lighting and capturing the base image. It goes to show there is still no shortcut for taking a great shot. Next, the retouching part showcases the areas that are typically addressed to polish the image to get to the final piece.

Check out the before and after images below.





[Via Retouching Academy]

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LA M's picture

Job mastery..for sure

Joel Meaders's picture

No watch can live up to these unrealistic standards! :)

Cool video! That was a lot longer than I thought it would be.

Von Wong's picture

thats nuts

Ariel Martini's picture

"Brilliant" -> Why such words have to be on the topic? Isn't that up to us to decide if it's brilliant or not?

Alex Masters's picture

Do you need the word defining for you?

Matthew Kurtis Murphy's picture

Holy.. freaking.. paths...
5:08 - shoot me

Teddy Tran's picture

I wonder what the cost for this amount of quality would be. Of this would consider an advertised piece vs that of catelog work.


Simply brilliant!

cocoaclassic's picture

Awesome skills, great work for sure. I feel like a lot of it could've been done with less time/steps, though, and ended up looking the same.

Stefan Parol's picture

These are awesome skills.
As a Designer, though, I fear for the "Personality" of that watch. It turned from a Black and White design with a blue Backdrop to something very different. As a cusomer, I would expect to find a different watch in the store.

Jason Armond's picture

Stefan the original image colors are not true to life. A lot of still life products are hard to get accurate color in camera. The color is then made true in post. The retouched image is a true to life color of the watch.

Jeff's picture

This is a LUXURY watch company, they would clearly produce the watch to look like the image.

M K's picture

Damn that's one awesome looking watch. I'm even jealous of that "before" shot.

William B Green's picture

I could have built it in a 3D program easier

Brian Reese's picture

Prove it

William B Green's picture

ha ha...only if I'm being payed

Joe Sanders's picture

I think you don't postprocess your images yourself. Because a 3d model is as far away from a picture as the photograph. Anyway, I'm realy interested in your skills, because the building, creating the materials, lighting and rendering a watch in the quality of a medium-format camera is quite amazing! Even if it would take twice as much time as shooting it. Please let me know how to contact you, if you need a job.

Brian Reese's picture

$100 says you can't efficiently build a 3D Model that looks like this photo. And no downloading from TurboSquid.

Frans's picture

IKEA catalog will be 25 percent 3D renders by next year

Lukas Prochazka's picture

That is a feer of photographers...I think in few years it will be reality it will be cheaper because you dont need to have studio camera lightning and on the other side you need only 3D programm and good animator

Joe Fannta's picture

Cant believe the post took only 2 hours. Would take days for me to do the paths...

Constance Hanscomb's picture

Wow! I wonder how long it would have taken Aaron Nace from Phlearn to do it? ;) I'd love to have half that talent!

SixStudio Six's picture

Wow, too many paths. Granted this is a Rolex and deserves a very critical eye when it comes to photos used for advertising but I am wondering how much of the work is overkill or how much could have been done without creating all of those paths. For the most part, I gave up paths in Photoshop some years ago. Granted the time lapse may be a great way to justify costs to a client. Then again most clients would think it only took nine minutes to do the retouching.

Martin Ellard's picture

most clients think everything takes 9 minutes to retouch anyway !! what I found amusing was the careful lighting to create shape and shadows around the strap lug tips and then the retoucher painted over the whole thing and created new shapes and shadow from scratch, so half the watch it seems is just drawn in photoshop !!

Timothy Jace's picture

As a watch maker, Rolex gives us its best product. As Photographers and DI artists, we ought to give our perfection too! Great video! Amazing and thanks for sharing!

Broseph of Arimathea's picture

Rolexes are hideous and only elderly Asian men still buy them.

Mike Kelley's picture

Cool. But I found this incredibly boring to watch after about 30 seconds with no explanation of what was going on. Even text labels that flashed up 'contrast on band' or 'selection of numbers' would have made this ten times more interesting. Now I just have tired eyes and a headache. Talent, though.

Timothy Holt's picture


Andreas Feustel's picture

but thought about you Mike when I watched this guy using the pen tool over and over again. ;-)

Joseph Graf's picture

Somebody get that watch a sandwitch!

Alain Tougas's picture

Good. Can you give me half your talent? If you can't (or don't want to), can you just tell me what the soundtrack is plz?

Lukas Prochazka's picture

Talent? you kidding this is hard work and skills over years...dont blame this on talent...this is more than talent

Alain Tougas's picture

What's wrong with "talent"... it does not mean, in no way. that this ability is a gift that came for free from the sky above... talent is something you acquire through thousands of hours of work. Don't confuse "talent from work" with those talent show that promote "instant fame" on TV. Anyways, it's not "instant". Most people develop a talent through hard labor. I don't get your point.

Lukas Prochazka's picture

Thats what I ment...I see talent as something you cant always learn as a playing tenis you can grab tenis rocket and play great but other can strugle with hangling that rocket and cant co-opare his moves ....and retouching is your way of talent, you spend quiet a long time to get better and understand all tools and building your skills step by step

sam l's picture

the after one doesn't even look real any more. especially those numbers. Shoot me if I have to work on this kinda of job. It's pure labor, not one ounce of creativity.

Broseph of Arimathea's picture

Wait... you expect product photography for marketing brochures to be... creative?

fotique13's picture

Watching this video makes me pine for the days of film. Sad that the new standard is ridiculously cartoonish so-called photography.

Timothy Holt's picture

Wow, my hand would be killing me if I had to make that many paths, especially around all the individual numbers. It's hard to believe that only took two hours.

Mart Seven's picture

Somebody get that watch a sandwitch! and don't forget check for more infos.

erikstabile's picture

In the age of Instagram filters, this is a great way to show a client that "it really does take me 2 hours to edit a single photo."

Janko Šláger's picture

such a waste of time with all those paths and reflections - I gues there must be an easier way to get there..

Lukas Prochazka's picture

I could take those money the rolex paid him but I dont know how to develop that skill :D

Peter Böszörményi's picture

No way was this done in 2 hours. The paths alone would be more than that. There are at least a 100 curved shapes and a 1/minute rate would be already a very fast pace...

Guest's picture

Why not...the drawing or a 3-D program?


Andreas Feustel's picture

... the awkward moment when you are done with it, review the briefing and realize that your customer wantet to present the Rolex in an upright position. ;-)
Great work! Would definitely drive me nuts if I would have to do that.

Morten Skjegg Hilde's picture

Those germans ... such a attention to details ... Pen Tool just gone NUTS

Henry Wu's picture

This is pretty standard in the industry. It's about removing artifact, bringing up the contrast and color correction. Though there is a very fine line between too much where it looses it's authenticity. I personally would've held back a bit around the water band.

Gene Smith's picture

The before looks better. The retouched looks like it was bought on a street corner...

Josiah Moore's picture

I'm torn, because it looks really good. But it looks digital at the end. I don't really see the benefit of this being a practical shot as opposed to a nice looking model. Personal preference... But stellar work regardless! So much detail work!

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