Registered: April 2002
Location: North Carolina
Everything done in Corel Photopaint 10
1) Create masks and then convert them to objects (layers in PS) for the relevant image areas (backdrop, floor, chair, dress, blouse, hands and face). Feather each mask so that they overlap, keep the original image as an object to provide fill-in when holes between masks occur
2) Clean up the background with the clone brush, creating a consistent coverage with good texture to retain a natural appearance. Apply a stucco texture to the background to tidy it up and provide some depth.
3) Work on the chair, fixing imperfections with a clone brush, cutting and pasting from side to side when necessary.
4) Work on the dress, fixing cracks and creases with the clone brush. I removed the large area of discoloration by masking it and using the tone curve and other color correction tools to straighten out the hues so that they matched the surrounding area.
5) Fix up the face, hair and hands. Same thing, use the clone brush to remove damage and improve appearance. Use NeatImage to improve complexion. The hands are still not right but good enough I think.
6) Work on the floor. I patched in details on the rug to give it a more prominant appearance. Could be better but still an improvement. I didn't like the interface between floor and wall so I put in some wood flooring to make a better transition.
7) Experiment with the dress to give it a better finish. I tried making cutouts of dress parts, lapels, jacket etc and applying a cloth texture to them but it always looked bad, even when combined at low opacity with the existing image. The best results were obtained by applying a Gaussian blur to the cutouts but still not good. So I made another copy of the dress, reduced the opacity of the original, and combined the new one to the old one in texture mode. This had an intereting effect of darkening down the color while retaining much of the folding and shadowing. Experimenting with the opacity produced more or less contrast. I never stopped playing with this until the final version as the rest of my time was spent trying to balance the contrast and brightness of all the components so that they looked good together.
8) Take each component in turn (hands, face, chair, floor etc) and raise or lower the brightness and contast to produce a harmonious whole.
I was struck by the prosthetic boot on her left foot and the support provided to her left arm. It seems that she had experienced a stroke at some point or perhaps complications during birth leading to weakness on the left side.