PDA

View Full Version : Looking For Some Inspiration (Help)



Larry Rutledge
07-16-2007, 09:25 PM
I'm putting together a pictorial directory (address book with pictures), but the pictures I'm working with are not the greatest.

I've read and practiced tons of tutorials for removing blemishes, smoothing skin, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum. But I'm still having trouble getting, in my opinion, a decent final result.

If anyone of you Photoshop guru's feels like playing around with one of the pictures and giving me an idea of what I could accomplish it might give me the inspiration I need. I think my problem is that I'm not experienced enough with these kinds of manipulations to know what I should be looking for in an end result.

Here's one of the images (~2 MB)

http://www.nrestudios.com/archive/images/flanders.jpg


Also, since I'll be printing these images at a place like Kinko's, so I need to color correct to a calibrated monitor, or will the LCD on my notebook give me a close enough color representation to know what to expect in the printed version?

Thanks for any feedback, comments, suggestions, examples, etc, etc, etc, :)

Peace,
Larry

dougspice
07-16-2007, 09:33 PM
The tip I learned from a very high-end retoucher for skin tones (this was his "Covergirl" technique) was that you first actually remove all the color from the skin tones and go to grayscale. In grayscale you use your healing and cloning tools to fix it all up and blur the skin to perfection. Once it's silky smooth in grayscale you paint the color back in by hand, using screen mode and others as appropriate.

I can see how this yields the best results, but it was always a bit work intensive for me - plus it generates that rather artificial look that I'm not a huge fan of. My method was to simply paint over the face in a handful of blended solid colors, then transfer these at varying opacities (15-30% usually seemed to work well for a semi-natural look).

Larry Rutledge
07-16-2007, 09:51 PM
Cool, thanks for the tip, I'll play with that idea.

I think part of my question, which I didn't list out above, is ideas to make the photos look "better". There doesn't seem to be much interest in the photo, IMHO. Of course, these are just family portraits that will just be large thumbnails on a page of multiple images, but it seems like something can be done to the color, look, something to make the image look "better" :)

I have been very successful in removing blemishes, smoothing skin, and giving the photos that "portrait studio" smoothness and glow. But they still just aren't right, for some reason. Maybe it's the background, perhaps I should cut them all out and use a different background (Yikes, that means cutting around hair).

Oh well, I'll keep playing and if any of you have ideas I'm all ears (ok, I am much more than ears, but you know what I mean :grin: )

dougspice
07-17-2007, 10:21 AM
Aha. Well, yes, the background is flat, flat, flat. What I would do, short of fully replacing it, is defocus it and enhance that very slight dappled light effect you have going on. Also, the color of the wall isn't necessarily doing his skin tone any favors.

Larry Rutledge
07-17-2007, 04:58 PM
Yea, that's what I was thinking...so that makes me feel better (I might know something on my own after all :) ). I'm definitely going to play with that background, either modify it or replace it completely (though modifying sounds easier since I won't have to worry as much about cutting around hair).

Thanks

Drew Ott
07-17-2007, 11:34 PM
The picture you posted is also cropped pretty uninterestingly.

It seems to have a little too much headroom and is cropped weirdly at the chest.

I think changing the background and reframing is your best bet at adding interest. Maybe add a lens flare? One of those blue-ish streaky ones (I forgot the name).

Keep posting your changes.

Tom Marshall
07-18-2007, 12:06 AM
Hey Larry, here's what I did with it... I didn't completely clean it up and make it blemish free as that would make it seem unnatural. I think this cleaned it up nicely though.

As far as an accurate color representation from your LCD monitor, you would have to calibrate it first. They sell tools to do that and they're about 100 bucks or less.

http://www.silentstormmedia.com/dvxpics/retouched_for_larry.jpg

Matt Grunau
07-18-2007, 06:22 PM
My own humble attempt:

http://www.paramm.com/Flanders_1.jpg

Not as good as tommy's, but decent.

Tom Marshall
07-20-2007, 01:21 PM
Yours looks good Matt. You kept all of the reddish colors in there and that adds the the character of the photo.

Larry Rutledge
07-20-2007, 02:13 PM
Matt, how'd you color correct/white balance/whatever the image? The reason I ask is you got the wall color to match the actual paint on the physical wall. In the original its coming out too red.

Matt Grunau
07-20-2007, 04:26 PM
It was too red, so I created and Hue and Sat adjustment layer just for the wall, desaturated by almost half, and then using that adjustment layer's Layer Mask, painted Flanders out. I also noticed that his skin tone was a little yellowish, so I created another Hue and Sat Adjustment Layer and took only the yellow channel and swept it to something a little more red. That worked for his skin, but his lips turned maroon, so using the Layer mask for that adjustment Layer, I painted his lips out.

I also noticed some slight splotching where his skin was redder in some areas than others, so I used the Clone tool set to Color and balanced them out. The blemishes were Healing brush. I also created two additional Hue and sat Adjustment layers, one for teeth and one for whites of his eyes. I desaturated the teeth a little, and lightened them very slightly, again, using the Layer mask to dertermine what would be affected. Same with the whites of his eyes, except that I put a little more white in the corners than the original so it made his eyes look a little more open.

I also copied just the irises, put them on their own layer, set it to color doge and cranked it way down to lighten the eyes, but only a little.

Then there is a big but subtle vignette on the whole thing, which I like to do.

All the hue and saturation adjustment layers were set to color blending modes. I also lightened it slightly with a levels Adjustment layer and deepened the contrast very slightly with a curves adjustment layer.

And that's it. A little sharpening, and that was the result.

Larry Rutledge
07-20-2007, 04:47 PM
Wow, thanks for the detail. I was only asking about the wall color, but what you gave me is immensely helpful for the other photos. Thanks a lot.

One more thing. In the shot they took of me and my wife, my eyes are cut to the side (I was looking at the screen rather than into the lens). How hard do you think it would be to alter just my eyes so they are looking straight ahead? (I'll post the pic later tonight when I get home).

Larry Rutledge
07-20-2007, 08:56 PM
Ok, so I worked with the image for a while. I started by extracting the wall and changing it's color/texture. Then I worked on him, used the spot healing brush to remove blemishes, whitened his teeth/eyes, smoothed his skin, sharpend via a slight unsharpen mask, then put a "portrait studio glow" on the finished image and cropped the image.

I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of what I did.

http://www.nrestudios.com/archive/images/flanders_final.jpg

Peace,
Larry

Tom Marshall
07-20-2007, 09:12 PM
I also noticed that his skin tone was a little yellowish, so I created another Hue and Sat Adjustment Layer and took only the yellow channel and swept it to something a little more red.

Wow, I don't see any yellow at all. I really need to get one of those things that lets you calibrate your monitor...

Matt Grunau
07-20-2007, 09:36 PM
Wow, I don't see any yellow at all. I really need to get one of those things that lets you calibrate your monitor...

I don't have one. I just have a pair of Dell Ultrasharps, but the key is to mouse over an area and look at its values. You could do that with a monochromatic monitor, and still build an accurate idea of what is going on inside the pic. It all comes down to the numbers.


I used to hate color theory, now, I can't work without.

Tom Marshall
07-20-2007, 09:53 PM
That's a great idea... I'll have to start doing that. Speaking of color theory, it's time for me to get out my LAB book and go through it...

Larry Rutledge
07-21-2007, 09:09 AM
No feedback on my attempt? Here's the link again, in case you missed it above:

http://www.nrestudios.com/archive/images/flanders_final.jpg

The reason I need feedback on mine rather than just taking one of yours, is that I have to do the same thing to photos of every family in our church, for this directory :)

I tried to use both of yours, mixed with my limited knowledge acquired while scouring the 'net.

Peace,
Larry

Matt Grunau
07-21-2007, 09:13 AM
No feedback on my attempt? Here's the link again, in case you missed it above:

http://www.nrestudios.com/archive/images/flanders_final.jpg

The reason I need feedback on mine rather than just taking one of yours, is that I have to do the same thing to photos of every family in our church, for this directory :)

I tried to use both of yours, mixed with my limited knowledge acquired while scouring the 'net.

Peace,
Larry

Too many effects on it, and there are places where the red wall shows around him. Ease up a bit on the effects "look". There are still places on his face and neck that need touched up, if you wanted to clean up the acne.


EDIT: Larry, download the .pdf from the Glamorshop thread at the top of the page and go through it. I will help.