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Critique Please

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Old 04-24-2005, 03:37 AM
embee embee is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2
Critique Please

Hello, this is my first post here so I apologise in advance for any posting errors. I've been asked to retouch a picture for a friend and I would welcome any opinions, criticism or advice on my effort. The original was quite badly damaged, as you can see! Thank you.
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File Type: jpg Final.jpg (58.3 KB, 37 views)
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Old 04-24-2005, 04:55 AM
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Caitlin Caitlin is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 494
Hi Embee,

My initial reaction is I think you may have lost a bit of detail in the process of fixing the contrast, and converting to greyscale. (I don't know what technique you used to do so, but converting to Lab color, and saving the lightness channel can be more effective that just converting straight to greyscale)

I think part of the uniqueness of the image is the handtouched hair, so I would try to retain that.

I rather laboriously fixed the background on each layer with a created patterntool, but really that was just me being masochistic - it would have been easier to fix with a patterntool in RGB. *lol* Then it was just hand retouching with the clone stamp, heal and dodge tool.

I also dropped the saturation in all areas except the hair which I excluded with a mask, and fixed up the levels. Then a light gausian blur.
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Last edited by Caitlin; 04-24-2005 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 04-24-2005, 08:38 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 883
Overall, not too bad.
My suggestions:
The contrast is too strong/harsh. Increasing the contrast also brings out a lot of imperfections and noise. Go for a softer contrast. Not only will it keep the image looking more like the original, it will save you some work.
Removing the background, and replacing it with "clouds" is a no-no. IMO, this is the biggest mistake, and I see it all the time. It's a lot of work to make selections all around the edges of the subject in order to change the background, and it hardly ever works out. Most times, the end result looks like cut & paste. Put that effort and energy into repairing the background. Repair the background as you would the image - it's just as important.
If you insist on replacing the background, there are a couple of things that need to be done-meticulously. The blending between the background and the image must be undetectable - no dark or light "halos" where the background meets the subject. Changing light to dark, and vice versa, is tough. Save yourself the agony, and keep it the same -work with it, instead of against it. The noise, sharpness, and contrast must also match. The "new" background must be "real". No canned clouds, etc. Look at some portraiture for background ideas.
I hope you find this critique/advice is helpful, as you've already got a good start.
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