Creative Problem Solver

I thrive on creating and implementing workflows that drive measured results. I constantly adapt and change to meet, support, and drive increasing business demands. I seek to employ my knowledge in a challenging and developing environment while expanding my skills not only as an artistic manager, but as a people manager.

Selected Creative Work

fscreenClick any image for expanded views.

Google - Retouching

Retouching advertising photography for the Google Nexus.

Photography | Robert Couto
Art Direction | Autofuss
Retouch | Justin Allen

Adobe - Retouching

Conceptualizing, Retouching, Compositing, and Digitally Lighting the Cover of Adobe Creative Suite CS6.

Photography | Robert Couto
Art Direction | Autofuss
Retouch | Justin Allen

Apocalypse - Retouching

Personal work drawing and lighting effects. Also conceptualizing the look and feel of atmospheric events.

Ordered by Before / After.

Photography | Stock
Art Direction | Justin Allen
Retouch | Justin Allen

Butcher's Block - Retouching

Photographer Kristen Eschweiler approached me asking to exaggerate the features of the fish so that it would look scared. I did this but there still felt like a major disconnect about why the fish was scared - it just didn't make sense background. There needed to be something there that would really make the fish afraid. I photographed a new background, and composited the retouched fish in.

Ordered by Before / After.

Photography | Kristen Eschweiler, Justin Allen
Art Direction | Justin Allen
Retouch | Justin Allen

Youth - Retouching

Personal work experimenting with lighting and anatomical changes through retouching to make someone appear younger.

Ordered by Before / After.

Photography | Stock
Art Direction | Justin Allen
Retouch | Justin Allen

The Grey - Photography

Personal work photographing the Marin Headlands.

I have always been inspired by fog as a transformative element. When fog falls over land it changes the landscape. The setting becomes unfamiliar and creates unease. I sought in this series to impose a sense of peace on each scene, and a sense of stillness. In processing I attempted to enforce the feeling of the fog, how it mutes everything it touches.

Photography | Justin Allen
Location | Marin Headlands, SF CA. 2009.

Project Management & Efficiency

Selected Work

PNGr Server

Working for Gap I quickly identified opportunities for growth in efficiency's of the Digital Artist workflow. Our legacy process included manually converting PSD files to other file types. Every 25 PSd's took roughly 15 minutes to convert. In addition the user would have to drop these files to an external server manually.

Partnering with my team and brand including Users, Management, and Sr Management we secured hardware resources to create an automated server that would convert files and deliver them. I conceptualized, learned applescript, developed, engineered, delivered, and provided maintenance for this tool.

The workflow is written in applescript and based on modification date triggered scripts. Each script runs independently of one another. If the modification date of a folder has changed the associated script will run. See the chart above for efficiency gains.

With Digital artists processing hundreds of assets per day per person we saw actual time savings of an hour a day per user of the server (avg of 20 hours of daily downtime saved). This workflow is used across multiple brands.

Google Docs

Leading marketing retouching is half project management and half retouching.

In order to minimize staffing requirements and workflow "crunches" we needed a tool that would help us track and deliver projects. However this tool also needed to help us forecast workflow by testing throughput & timeline solutions against budget limits. Retrieving the data necessary to create this tool meant regular interfacing with production, creative, and photography teams.

I created a google spreadsheet to track deliverable dates as well as metric data for fiscal seasons. Further incorporated into this spreadsheet is a formula providing the number of retouchers required to deliver a project. This formula takes into account how much needed to be done vs what was completed, the number of business days (excluding holidays) between the current day and the due date, and lastly the ratio of how many images could be done per day.

In the graph above the red line "R" shows how many retouchers would be needed to complete the work for the season. The best part about this data is that it live updates based on the current day and the current workload.

Digital Artist - Old Navy, Gap Inc.

San Francisco, CA \ May 2013 - Present

I was offered the opportunity to move to Old Navy with the goal of continued workflow improvement for another brand. I began managing on figure retouching, increasing Digital Artist output by 67% per person within my first week. Later on and embracing a marketing role lead to streamlining workflows and processes improvements for the entire team. While maintaining the same team size, I worked with business partners to negotiate fair service level agreements reducing delivery time from 7 to 4 business days in addition to supporting an increased business demand of double the previous year. We are currently testing and streamlining cross brand workflows with Gap and Old Navy for laydown retouching. We’ve seen an increase of 63% output over baseline metrics in one month due to process changes with a projected cost savings of $115,000 annually. My major goal throughout has been enabling standardization of process.
During my time at Old Navy I managed ONOL On Figure, Laydown, and Marketing retouching simultaneously. Scheduling freelance talent based on workflow. During this time I validated retouched assets for all processes. I interacted with merchant, creative, management, and photo teams so that the brand continued to function while all other full time employees were unavailable for a period of 3 months. In addition I onboarded new talent including recruiting, interviewing, and training new hires.

Digital Artist - Gap, Gap Inc.

San Francisco, CA \ March 2011 - May 2013

I onboarded and trained new team members in parallel with creating new processes and workflows to support changing demands within a deliverables based creative environment. I developed a new live streaming info graphics system to analyze business demands enabling increased flexibility in freelance staffing requirements. This work contributed to overall Digital Artist budget savings of $120,000 annually. I regularly partnered directly with photo, creative, production, and design teams to achieve a realized unified concept vision. Year over year I doubled the previous baseline output while maintaining the same team size by creating and adopting better workflows.
Design, develop, and deploy script based workflows to further encompass our image processes across brands and across teams, saving $100,000 annually. Processes I developed while working on product laydown allowed me and my team produce double the output of any other team.

Owner and Proprietor, Sympa.

San Francisco, CA \ 2005 - Present

I have worked through the years with multiple production and advertising agencies including Organic and Autofuss on projects for Google, Intel, and Adobe. These projects include a variety of work from box art of Adobe products, advertising campaigns for Intel, and product related work for Google. I am used to working in a deliverables driven environment where tempers can be high and the timeline is always short.


Commentary and Awards

I like working with Justin. He works hard and I always seem to learn something in the process. I strongly recommend Justin for your retouching projects.

author Robert Cuoto Photographer

Exceed award for work on Designing, developing, and deploying script based workflows to further encompass our image processes cross brand and across teams.

author Devin Fisher Sr. Manager, Digital Production

Get In Touch


30A Abbey St. San Francisco California, 94114
United States.

+925 922 7871