Interview with Robby Rautenburg, Digitech at Amazon Studios, Seattle WA

For my special topics class, I'm aiming to learn more about different roles within a studio environment. As part of that, I am interviewing industry professionals about their experiences in these roles. Here's my first interview with my friend Robby from Amazon Studios in Seattle, WA.

What is your current job description?
Initially my job description was to retouch images given to me by a certain project, given specific guidelines (knock out to white, remove dust etc) But over the years I have taken on more roles and projects, so it’s hard to pinpoint what my actual job description would be right now.

How long have you been a digitech with Amazon?
I have been with amazon for 3.5 years

How did you come across the job/ how did you get started in this business?
One of my classmates Heather Shea was working there and recommend me for a project they needed a retoucher for.

What kind of experience were the interviewers looking for?
Working in a studio environment and working with high volumes.

What do you do on an average day in the office/studio?
Well I work on lots of secret projects at amazon and I also shoot, so my average day at Amazon varies quite a bit. In a day I could go from working on high end retouch for beauty products, to shooting wine, then maybe working on some other projects I have going on.

What programs/equipment do you use most commonly?
Photoshop, CaptureOne, and Helicon are the most common ones I’ll use in a day.  

What is one unexpected part of your job?
The most unexpected part of my job was learning about how business teams look at product imaging, they care less about how an item looks and more about how fast that will convince a customer to make a buying decision.

What do you think is vital to being a good digital tech?
Shortcuts and thinking outside the box. When working on an image there could be 10 different way you could “correct” it, it’s vital to know which tool will give you the quickest and best results. Also knowing as many shortcuts as you can, it really cuts down on retouching time when you’re not wasting time using your pen/mouse to select menu items or tools.

What advice might you have for me, as a newcomer in this industry?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I’ve been around long enough to see Amazon in it’s slow times and it’s busy times. People are constantly coming and going from the studio. Make sure you get your foot in the door at multiple places.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
With 3D emerging into the industry, I wish I had taken the time to learn some programs like C4D, Blender, Maya etc..

Thanks so much for your input, Robby!