• I offer the service of transforming digital images as well as transformative imagery.

    I strive toward a commitment to image excellence and heightened viewer experience that ultimately creates powerful opportunities for clients to fulfill their visions.

    I am inspired to pursue fulfilling client relationships grounded in integrity.

  • The foundation of my success is built upon continuously expanding my digital, visual vocabulary.

    I welcome the opportunity to partner with creative and production staff to create work with both an effortless beauty and a high degree of precision.

    I am moved to offer empathy and communication awareness to build rewarding interpersonal relationships.

Biography

Through Image Transformation Services, David Kliger combines his marketing, digital and fine art backgrounds to bring imaging ideas to life. He holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BS in Marketing from George Mason University.

David embraced his Marketing program of studies because it taught how the needs of others were served through the structure of business, creating a more fulfilling society. While attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, David Kliger benefited from the freedom of combining drawing and painting with computer animation courses. Spending his days in the museum, he began to discover he had the eye of a painter, yet was attracted to the computer as an art medium.

At AARP Magazine from 1997 through 2002, he grew during his 5 years from his initial responsibilities including desktop scanning and shipping of artwork to take on retouching projects of increasing complexity. To support the creative efficiency of the Art Department, he implemented an accurate and fast color management system such that all forms of the Design Department’s color output and display matches RR Donnelley’s press proofs.

To expand his creative ideas and skills, Kliger began creating digital montages from photographs from which he created archival prints; he has developed and explored this method of working since 1999.

From 1999 thru 2003 Kliger displayed his archival digital montage prints and original photographs at Touchstone Gallery in downtown Washington, DC, while continuing to work on staff as a Photoshop Specialist at AARP Magazine.

He initially moved to New York in March, 2004 to work on staff at Quad Graphics, performing demanding retouching assignments within a quick turnaround for many leading magazines.

David expanded to offer freelance retouching services for ad agencies, prepress firms and corporate in-house. Each type of firm required a unique set of skills and client partnering. He embraced compositing for ad agencies, fashion and beauty for prepress and the project variety of corporate in-house. From 2009 to 2011 Kliger had the opportunity to work on staff at MBUSA as a Senior Retoucher. Here, there was much opportunity for compositing, including CGI integration with on-location photography. The rich range of projects included print, online interactive and billboard, and trade show graphics.

Since 2014, David’s onsite work has primarily been with Lord & Taylor. Here, he has retouched for print catalog and direct mail projects using both Photoshop and InDesign in their high-quality, tight-turnaround work environment. Color accuracy in matching supplied merchandise is very important, as well as harmonizing skin tone throughout a series. He has retouched skin and hair, apparel, jewelry, fragrances, accessories, intimates, and swimwear.

Since 2017, David’s onsite work has included DirecTV, J. Walter Thompson and McCann. With DirecTV, he has been involved in figural and environmental retouching, compositing both for presentation and print, as well as image-oriented production work for various print media with both Photoshop and InDesign. He works closely as a team to create large, complex compositing projects for multi-purpose use. He prepares files for proofing to Oris RIPs and prepare files for various CMYK media.

David’s freelance retouching for both McCann and J. Walter Thompson are similar. For McCann, he has worked on their Verizon account. For JWT, his focus has been on Rolex and Phizer. His projects have involved both figural and environmental retouching. He has color corrected in RGB and converted to the required CMYK profile for proofing and final delivery. Meetings directly with production managers, account managers, art directors and creative directors provided project direction. With JWT, he has worked intimately as a retouching team on high-end imagery of celebrities and tennis.

In addition, Kliger has continued to offer his retouching services through his studio. His ad agency compositing assignments includes work for Bandujo Advertising + Design, Chill/Radd, TBWA\WorldHealth, and Edelman Digital. He coordinates closely with creative staff regarding their compositing and retouching requirements for their final media.

He also works closely with a number of photographers, including Eric Garcia-March, Jesse Winter and Laura Crosta. Here, he provides high-end retouching and color correction services for fashion, advertising lifestyle and corporate assignments.

David very much enjoys the creative and technical process of providing work that is fresh, polished and passionate. He continues his growth into the exploration and integration digital studio photography.

Memberships

Publicity

  • This article on retouching originally appeared in the British design magazine, Digital Arts, in March 2009. Below I only included the sub-sections where I’m quoted.


    Creative Photo Retouching

    The camera never lies – but with image manipulation, anything is possible. Where are the limits?

    Writer: Sean Ashcroft

     

    Model behavior

    “Some models look like they’ve just got out of bed, because they have,” says Feron. “I’ve had magazines tell me, ‘Make her look she came out of the make-up room instead of the bedroom, or we’ve no cover this month’.”

    And with celebrities, the retouching goes beyond vanity, and into branding.

    “Celebrities control how their appearance is presented to the public as a tool for their branding, as they always have done,” says David Kliger (www.davidkliger.com). “We see more with our brains than with our eyes; we filter out details we consider to be unimportant or distractions. The camera, though, records surface appearances very accurately. With celebrities, blemishes and wrinkles distract the eye much more in a photograph than in real life, and the removal of these distractions reveals the person behind the distractions.”

    There is an ethical element to retouching, as the case study on the Swedish government illustrates (see Girl Power box, above). Retouching is a form of misrepresentation, after all, however innocent it may be in most instances. There are inevitably grey areas, which can leave the retoucher questioning whether what they’re being asked to do is morally right.

    Sandra Fretelliere is retouching manager at Sous Les Etoiles Studio, and she describes an incident where she was left feeling “uncomfortable” while working on an ad campaign for a health insurance company.

    “The subject was a baby,” she says, “and the art director asked us to remove a little puffiness under its eyes. This sounded wrong, and we suggested it was not natural to remove them.

    “We firmly believe that retouchers are not only there to follow a brief, but also there to advise when something gives the image a wrong feeling.”

    Christodoulou once found himself at the centre of a media storm, after a retouching job for Ford.

    “It was an ad showing loads of people lined up next to this new van, and [Ford] wanted to show the cultural diversity of the company, so we comped in Sikhs, Caribbeans, Chinese and all sorts. It got a lot of media attention.

    “When they ran the ad in Poland they took all of the ethnic people out, and dropped in Polish-looking people, because they’re aren’t that many ethnic minorities in Poland. You could say this is wrong, but you could also say that they’re just correcting that image to match their markets.”

    He concludes: “The ethical aspects of retouching are always there, whether it’s a shot of a woman or a car or a pack. Everyone is creating the perfect picture in order to sell things. What you have to ask is whether advertising is ethical.”

     

     

    RETOUCHING TECHNIQUES

    The basic techniques involved in top-end retouching can sound straightforward. The reality, however, is that at the top end it takes years to hone one’s craft to the standards expected. Here, two masters of retouching – Glenn Feron and David Kliger – discuss their approach to some common scenarios.

     

     

    MULTIPLE EXPOSURES

    Cameras can’t capture multiple exposures in a single shot, so retouchers are often asked to composite multiple shots so that all image elements are perfectly exposed.

    “Each exposure of the product will be on a separate layer,” says Kliger. “I align these new layers perfectly by setting the blend mode of the new exposure layer to Difference. This layer will now have a solid black background, with dramatic areas of white and other bright colours that show where the layer is out of alignment.

    “Next, select Transform [Edit > Transform] and proportionally scale the layer as needed until it becomes pure black, indicating it is in perfect alignment.”

     

    SILK PURSES FROM SOW’S EARS

    In most instances, images received by retouchers are of the highest quality, but this is not always the case. This doesn’t stop them producing arresting images, though.

    “When I’m not happy with results from using Unsharp Mask, I often use the High Pass [Filter > Other > High Pass] to enhance image texture and edges,” says Kliger. “You select the area that needs sharpening, place it in a separate layer, select High Pass, and use a radius of around ten pixels. You can then give the layer

    a blend mode of either Overlay, Soft Light or Hard Light, depending upon how much contrast

    is needed.”

    Feron says that his first step is usually to try Reduce Noise or Despeckle [Filters > Noise]. “They usually give a good start, but if there are still grain or pixel problems, I clone areas and airbrush them to catch all the imperfections. That’s where being an artist comes in handy, because you know how to render what’s not there and how to make it look as realistic as possible.”

  • PHOTO RETOUCHING STEP BY STEP

    Softmask Fundamentals

    By David Kliger, www.davidkliger.com

    A softmask is exactly what its name would suggest: a mask with a soft edge. Its softness is what makes it unique compared to clipping paths. Softmasks and clipping paths each have their own unique world of techniques. When used together, we can create masks for any picture element we desire.

    With these instructions, I will present a set of steps for creating a softmask for a figure with a soft edge whose character must be retained when separated from its background and placed on a new background.

    Before we begin: How to hold our digital brush

    I find the secret to seamless skin retouching is the ability to hold the Wacom pen with as light a touch as possible. Here, I use a grip barely light enough to hold the pen; any lighter and it would fall out of my hands. I push my hand around the tablet with my arm so I can access the light touch when I need it.

    We’ll be using this touch throughout this exercise. I find it gives me the maximum range of control and expression from the tools I can control with the Wacom pen – without bothering to change brush settings, we can go from the faintest to the most dense mark.

    Softmask Illustration 1
    The Red Channel gives us the most contrast between her hair and the background.

    A simple layer mask: black conceals, white reveals

    To get us started with the basic concepts of softmasks, we’ll start with the most basic layer mask.

    1. With our example file, double-click on the Background layer. Hit return so it becomes ’Layer 0’.

    2. Choose Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. You have now created your first Layer Mask. Congratulations!

    Repeat after me: Black Conceals, White Reveals. In the world of softmasks, anywhere in the mask that is white will allow the image to show. Anywhere that is black will hide the image. Shades of grey will ghost the image.

    3. To test this out, let’s choose a soft brush tool that will allow us to control its opacity with our pen pressure. Make sure black is our foreground colour. In our Layers palette, click once on the icon for the layer mask so it becomes highlighted with a thicker edge. Now, wherever we paint with black,

    the image will disappear.

    4. Alt/Opt + click on our layer mask so we can look at it directly (instead of just its results). Notice the black areas that made the mask invisible and its varying soft edge. We control the character of this soft edge with our world of image editing tools and techniques. Here are the steps I use to create my softmasks.

    Softmask Illustration 2
    Using Calculations, we use the Red Channel and Multiply to make an Alpha Channel with greatly increased contrast between her hair and the background.

    Our first hair mask

    Here, we’ll use our channels to help us create a mask for our model’s hair that builds contrast while retaining its dynamic lost-and-found edge.

    My technique has four overall steps:

    • Image > Calculations

    • Image > Adjustments > Levels

    • Burn & Dodge

    • Test and Tweak

    1. Image > Calculations…

    Review each channel in the Channels palette. Click once on the Red channel. Notice it looks like a black-and-white negative.

    As this image is saved in RGB colour mode, all colours are created by mixing shades of red, green and blue. Here in the Red channel, wherever there is white, the primary colour red is allowed to show through. Wherever there is black, no red is allowed in the image. Lighter shades of grey allow relatively more red through than darker shades of grey.

    As an experiment, paint with black somewhere in the Red channel then click on the RGB channel to notice the results. We created a cyan brush mark, red’s complement. Press Cmd/Ctrl + Z to undo our little test.

    What we’re learning is that each channel is actually a softmask controlling the mixture of red, green and blue for each pixel in our image.

    As we want to make a softmask for her hair, a great place to begin is by viewing the three softmasks we already have and evaluating which one is closest to what we want to create.

    We’re looking for a white background and black hair, or vice-versa. Looking at each channel individually, we notice the Red channel comes closest as she has

    blonde hair.

    Choose Image > Calculations.

    We will use Calculations to create a new softmask by combining two channel sources with a blend mode.

    Select Red as our channel for both Source 1 and Source 2, as we just learned this is our best starting point.

    Select Multiply as our blend mode.

    Next, toggle the preview check box off and then on to so we don’t have to help Photoshop give us our image preview instantly.

    Feel free to experiment by choosing Red and then Green for Source 2 to notice the different results. Then make it Red again and hit return to create a new alpha channel with greatly increased contrast between her hair and the background.

    Softmask Illustration 3
    We select Levels and move the grey slider to the right and the white slider to the left to darken the flyaway’s and make the background near-white. Finally, we nudge the black slider to the right slightly.

    2. Image > Adjustments > Levels…

    Go to the Channels palette and click on our new alpha channel. Zoom-in on a detail of her hair edge that gives us an enlarged representative sample.

    Choose Image > Adjustments > Levels.

    We’ll use this dialog box to make her hair more black and the background more white. The trick is darken the faint hairs while making the background white at the same time.

    Slowly move the grey triangle to the right toward the white triangle while paying close attention to her hair and the background.

    We want her hairs to get darker. Also, we want the background to remain near white and not fill with black, as this will force us to re-create our mask.

    We quickly notice that moving the grey slider too far plugs the background. Pull back toward the left until the results are enhanced as much as this tool will allow.

    Move the white slider to the right to make the background close to white without letting your hairs break up and fade to white.

    You might need to readjust the relationship between the grey and white sliders until you have a near-white background while retaining crisp hairs. Finally, move the black slider slightly toward the right to make the dark-grey hairs black. Don’t overdo it or our mask will plug the background.

    Click on RGB to view the whole image. Stay zoomed-in on her hair. Notice we can see the background through her hair around the edge.

    Using the Pen tool, make a simple outline within her head being careful not to include any of these background areas.

    Then select our alpha channel again, turn our path into a selection and fill it with black. Next, we’ll use the Burn and Dodge tools to finish off our mask.

    Softmask Illustration 4
    We make a quick Bezier curve with the Pen Tool to define areas of pure black within our mask.

    With crisp hairs and a near-white background, we use Burn and Dodge to make the background pure white while retaining crisp flyaways.

    3: Burn & Dodge

    Choose the Burn tool. Set Range to Shadows, Exposure to 100%. We’ll give ourselves a nice, big, soft brush. Go to the Brushes palette and ensure Exposure is controlled by pen pressure.

    Using a very light touch, drag the Burn Tool over her hair being very careful to darken her hair without plugging the background. We work our way around her head. Drag over the same area several times as needed. As with the levels tool, be careful not to overdo it. Use Edit > Undo or the History palette to step back if you go too far.

    Still using the Burn tool, we make our brush size smaller and continue lightly dragging over the hairs that need more separation. Again, be careful not to plug the background.

    We continue with this process until we reach a point of diminishing returns.

    We then repeat the same process with the Dodge tool with Range set to Highlights, Exposure set to 100%, a big, soft brush with Exposure controlled by pen pressure.

    Softmask Illustration 5
    We use the Burn Tool to further darken her hair without letting the background plug.

    Lightly drag over her hair. This time, we are making the background lighter while being careful not to lose our hair definition.

    After our large brush gives us diminishing returns, make the brush size smaller and continue.

    Once we have a white halo around a dark head, we again use the Pen tool to make a simple outline within our white halo and around the figure as a whole, turn it into a selection, Select Inverse for the background and fill our selection with white.

    The rest of the figure has a hard edge, so we complete our mask with the Pen tool. Outline the figure and save it with the name ‘Silo’.

    Turn our new Silo path into a selection and use it to fill the interior of the figure within our alpha channel with black and the background with white.

    At this point, the quality level of our mask is about 95%. We need to test it before a new background finishes it.

    With our new mask highlighted, we click on the dotted circle at the bottom of the Channels palette to turn it into a selection.

    We then go to our Layers palette. Duplicate the background layer by dragging it on the page icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

    Softmask Illustration 6
    We use to Dodge Tool to make the background white while retaining her hair’s edge.

    Click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

    4: Test and tweak.

    The extent of adjustments we need to perform to our mask depends upon the background colour and texture we place behind the figure.

    To demonstrate, we create a Solid Color adjustment layer filled with light grey below our figure layer, and then try different colours and tones to see the difference.

    Here are some typical adjustments we can perform to perfect our mask in relation to our chosen background.

    Zoom in on our hair mask. Invariably, there will be specks of the old background showing through and bumpy hair edges that should be straight.

    Use the Burn tool to remove background specks and tighten our mask. Here, use a low exposure setting of around 30% for greater control and delicacy. Be careful not to over-tighten.

    After cleaning up the specks, toggle between your hair mask and the original image. Notice the difference between the original’s hair edge and the mask’s hair edge. Most likely, the mask will be a little soft. Make it crisp with our one-pixel brush by brushing in hairs in-and-out along the edge.

    Softmask Illustration 7
    The extent of mask tweaking we need to perform
    depends upon the background we choose.

    Complete broken hairs with the brush tool. Use a size of one pixel, a fairly hard edge, and Flow Jitter controlled by pen pressure.

    Use the Blur tool delicately with a small brush to create smooth transitions between light and dark along the edge if needed. Be careful not to allow your mask to turn to mush.

    Fade the flyaways with a big, soft brush using the colour black and an opacity of about 30%.

    I choose to integrate her with an icy background and place an icy texture behind her. Next, I integrate the image by adding blue and green to icy ear coverings, correcting her hair toward blue, placing an icy texture layer above her hair with an opacity of 4% and the Overlay blend mode, and finally remove blue tone along the hair’s edge by creating a Selective Color adjustment layer, choosing Blues and adding 39% yellow.

    With this technique we can select any soft-edge shape from any background, and integrate it with any new environment of our choosing.

    Welcome to your new world of softmasking.

    Softmask Illustration Before
    Our before image.
    Softmask Illustration After
    Our final image with a new background and color adjustments along edges of hair.

  • Kliger and Bonello Featured at Saville Gallery

    March, 2002

    For the Potomac Review

     

    From March 7 through April 13, the Allegany Arts Council’s Saville Gallery will feature artwork by Washington, DC artist David Kliger and Pennsylvania artist Kurt Bonello.

    Using the computer as an artistic tool, David Kliger manipulates elements from various photographs to create “digital montages” that transgress and blur the boundaries between traditional drawing, painting and photography. The work that will be on display in the Saville Gallery is part of a series that focuses primarily on images of Native Americans interwoven with their landscapes. “Some of these are more figural, others earthen,” explains Kliger. “Some simplified and reductive, others complex and textural. Throughout, a hypnotic quality is evoked as the figure merges with the landscape to form one fabric.”

    Kurt Bonello is a sculptor. Iron, steel, stone and found objects are the materials he uses to capture and express his perceptions of today’s psychological and social phenomena.“With these materials, I provide new meaning and use to objects that have become obsolete and unwanted,” says Bonello. “Our junkyards hold the decaying remains of great achievements. In manufacturing, transportation, and farming—extensions of ourselves which have been cast aside. When I combine these remains, they again become lifelike. they become humanoid. they become caricatures of Man in today’s world. They speak. these technological artifacts now inspire me and serve as a forceful medium for expressing my perceptions of modern Man, the family, and facets of our culture and society.”

    Everyone is invited for light refreshments and the opportunity to meet the artists at the Opening Reception for this exhibition on Saturday, March 9, from 6-8 p.m. The Saville Gallery is located at 52 Baltimore street in downtown Cumberland. For more information, please call the Allegany Arts Council at 301-777-ARTS.

  • Gallery Featuring Artists from D.C., Pennsylvania

    March 3, 2002

    For the Cumberland Times-News

     

    CUMBERLAND—Allegeany Arts Council will feature artwork by Washington, D.C. artist David Kliger and Pennsylvania artist Kurt Bonello in its new Saville Gallery from March 7 through April 13.

    Using the computer as an artistic tool, David Kliger manipulates elements from various photographs to create “digital montages” that transgress and blur the boundaries between traditional drawing, painting and photography. The work is part of a series that focuses primarily on images of Native Americans interwoven with their landscapes.

    “Some of these are more figural, others earthen,” explains Kliger. “Some simplified and reductive, others complex and textural. Throughout, a hypnotic quality is evoked as the figure merges with the landscape to form one fabric.”

    Bonello is a sculptor. Iron, steel, stone and found objects are the materials he uses to capture and express his perceptions of today’s psychological and social phenomena.“With these materials, I provide new meaning and use to objects that have become obsolete and unwanted,” says Bonello. “Our junkyards hold the decaying remains of great achievements. In manufacturing, transportation, and farming—extensions of ourselves which have been cast aside.When I combine these remains, they again become lifelike. they become humanoid. they become caricatures of Man in today’s world. They speak. these technological artifacts now inspire me and serve as a forceful medium for expressing my perceptions of modern Man, the family, and facets of our culture and society.”

    Everyone is invited for light refreshments and the opportunity to meet the artists at the Opening Reception for this exhibition on Saturday, March 9, from 6-8 p.m. The Saville Gallery is located at 52 Baltimore street in downtown Cumberland. For more information, please call the Allegany Arts Council at 301-777-ARTS.

  • Here & Now

    July 9, 2000

     

    When Galleries showcase the works of their newest members, it certainly isn’t for money or prestige. Instead it’s a chance to infuse their space with new blood, show off something different, attract more viewers and perhaps discover something wonderful. Touchstone Gallery will display the works of its five newest members—Shoshanna Ahart, Tu Huynh, David Kliger, Michael Lang and Lauren Rader—and perhaps unearth something wonderful in the process.

    —Pete Zanko

Exhibitions

  • Solo Show, Allegheny Arts Council, Cumberland, MD
    March 10, 2002 – April 20, 2002.
  • Open Studios, A. Salon, Ltd. Takoma Park, MD
    December 1-2, 2001
  • Inaugural Solo Show, Modern Maturity Magazine Gallery, AARP, Washington, DC
    October 19 – November 19, 2001
  • Solo Show, Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC
    September 12 – October 7, 2001.
  • Honorable Mention, Regional Small Works Show 2001, Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC
    August 8, 2001 – September 8, 2001.
  • Open Studios, A. Salon, Ltd. Takoma Park, MD
    May 19, 2001.
  • Touchstone Holiday Art Show 2000, Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC
    December 6, 2000 – January 7, 2001.
  • Art-O-Matic 2000, all-media group show, 4500 Wisconsin Ave., NW Washington, DC
    September 28, 2000 – October 28, 2000.
  • Todos!, all-media group show, Wilson Center Gallery, Washington, DC; April 6, 2000 – April 28, 2000.
  • Second Annual National All-Media Exhibition, Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC; February 9 – March 4, 2000.
  • Salon 2000, Limner Gallery, New York, NY
    January 12 – January 29, 2000.
  • Touchstone and Friends, all media group show, Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC, December 8 – February 8, 1999.
  • 1999 MOCA-DC Members Show, MOCA Gallery, Washington, DC