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The Skin Game ...
Old 08-21-2007, 11:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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We seem to have running discussions about when retouching goes too far, or not far enough, etc. Certainly retouching is often predicated on the needs of a publication or a person who is paying the bills.

In this post I'm provided three photos. The first photo is as it came out of the camera (only cropping has been done). The second photo represents skin retouching and sharpening that is taken to the half way point and the last image has it all the way. The technique I used takes about 1 minute for basic sharpening and application of makeup to the skin. That got me to photo #3. I then set the opacity to 50% and that became photo #2. Photo #1 is before any work was done as already stated. So here are the photos:






Keep in mind that other corrections would normally be done and should be done to this photo, but I'll leave that as a challenge to anyone that wants to give it a shot.

Finally, which version do you prefer and why?

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: The Skin Game ...
Old 08-22-2007, 02:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Mr Smith!

Well I surely like the second one best. Why ?

The first picture seems to have a high shadow to highlight ratio with the light coming from a high angle, which makes her skin look uneven- not very pretty. Too much character for a woman.

The third one seems unnaturally smooth. Especially if one has seen the first picture. The glowing skin does not complement the high ratio lighting, I think. As a high key maybe... And of course it looks a little plastic, does something unnatural to her eyes too.

So that leaves the second one for me

CU
Peter

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Re: The Skin Game ... 
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Re: The Skin Game ...
Old 08-22-2007, 12:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Here is one at 75% or half way in between the original #2 and #3. What do you think?

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Re: The Skin Game ... 

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: The Skin Game ...
Old 08-22-2007, 02:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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RFS,

All three are nice, but I like # 2 and the 75% version. But as you mentioned the amount of post production is determined by the final use of the photo.

JW
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Re: The Skin Game ...
Old 09-08-2007, 03:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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And what do you think about this version?




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Re: The Skin Game ...
Old 09-10-2007, 12:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My fast work on this photo:



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Re: The Skin Game ...
Old 09-10-2007, 01:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I wonder if the white spot on the lip (probably a specular) should not be corrected since it seems to stand out very distinctly.
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: The Skin Game ...
Old 09-10-2007, 05:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Fredrick_Smith View Post
I wonder if the white spot on the lip (probably a specular) should not be corrected since it seems to stand out very distinctly.
Cheers,
rfs
Definitely!
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Re: The Skin Game ...
Old 09-12-2007, 08:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It took me about 15 minutes. But it took me several years to get this skill. So take it easy, just practise, work, practise... PS is the best tool, don't hate it!
I'm always ready to discuss my price, sometimes I can do some retouch even for free on some conditions.
Best regards
Tom
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Re: The Skin Game ...
Old 09-12-2007, 04:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ffppro View Post
RFS,

How would I go about doing that?
I'm not RFS -- but I have a little PS knowledge that I'll share here.

Below is a screenshot of your image after my PS edits. I'll explain the layers one by one and I'll even offer to email you the PSD file if you'd like it. It's just under 1MB.



First -- if you think my edits are crap, stop reading!

Whew, you're still with me.

I started working from the bottom up. The only layer you can't see above is at the very bottom of the list. It's the background layer and contains your original photo -- nothing on it was changed.

Remove Highlights
This layer started out empty (click new layer) button. It contains clone brush applications I made to remove the highlight on the lips and the ear. To do this:

1) Add a new layer
2) Be sure the new layer is selected
3) Click the clone brush and set the brush to sample all layers or sample below (doesn't matter which unless you have layers above this one).
4) Set the brush to a soft edge
5) Clone away! Undoing what you don't like along the way.

Smooth Skin
This layer contains a copy of the model's skin (you can see it in the layer thumbnail above...spooky, isn't it!) that has been blurred to smooth out the look. The layer is set to an opacity of 55%, but that isn't a number you should write down...just adjust to taste. To do this:

1) Use the magic wand to select the model's skin. Be careful not to allow your selections to include clothing, backgrounds, the eyes, hair, etc. Just skin. Avoid the lips too!
2) Create a new layer as a copy of the current selection.
3) Ensure the selection is maintained and add a layer mask (that's the black & white thumbnail in the layer -- this will prevent the blur from moving outside the edges of the model
4) Apply a surface blur (I use this rather than Gaussian as it tends to retain edges better)
5) Set opacity to taste!
6) Select the layer mask and clean up anything that you want to look sharp (the lines of the nose, for example) by painting black into the mask with a small, soft brush

Levels
You have virtually no data in the top fourth of the histogram, so I simply moved the white point down a bit. Add an adjustment layer -> Levels to do the same.

The entire process took me about 15 minutes, including creating the web image and pasting it to my server -- but this thread took just as long to write. There's more that could be done to the image, of course -- I am just throwing out the quick fix. I hope something in it was helpful to you!
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