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Retouching critique please :)

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Old 04-26-2007, 04:36 PM
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darlanne darlanne is offline
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Retouching critique please :)

I've been a member of RP for many years now but have long remained a lurker, only posting a few times. I'm really trying lately, though, to improve my retouching skills. I look at some of my old work and groan because much is over airbrushed, etc. I've really been digging into a lot of tutorials and reading as much as I can. I've done graphic arts and design stuff for years, but honestly retouching is my biggest passion. Everyone else thinks I'm good but once I come HERE I start to think "eeeeeee noooo I'm not" LOL.

So I'm sticking my toe in the water and posting a recent photo I retouched, and want a true critique. I can take it.

These were my steps for this photo:

*Cloned out blemishes and imperfections, but at a minimum.

*Ran the photo through Dust and Scratches at very low opacity.

*Ran the photo through Surface Blur using a mask.

*Used the High Pass Filter and took down the opacity dramatically.

*Much dodging and burning was done.

*I also followed a tip I think I found here about using Plastic Wrap to gloss the lips.

*I then used Unsharp Mask .. touched up a few stray imperfections with the clone tool and that was about it.

I had some trouble with the lighting on the chin. I highlighted a bit too much I think and then had some trouble finding my way back (hadn't used a mask for that, my mistake). I also think maybe the whites of her eyes are TOO bright and I think the lighting on the forehead is wrong.

My goal was to sharpen and brighten her up to look "glamorous" but to retain as much texture and information I could. I'm mixed when I look at the finished result. So I figured I'd post here to see what I did right or what could have been done differently.


Last edited by darlanne; 04-26-2007 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Noted a missed error ...
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Old 04-26-2007, 05:03 PM
Ant Ant is offline
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Re: Retouching critique please :)

First, calibrate your monitor and read on color.

Skin texture looks pretty good even considering you used dust and scratch and surface blur. You did a nice job with not going nuts on the eye bag, lines. You went crazy in general with the eyes though. As humans, we look to the eyes first and when they are so crazy, we just stop looking. The whites are indeed too bright and they lack shape (shading/shadow). The inner lid, the violet looking color, needs to be a human color and the saturation reduced. I can see what you were thinking with the eyelashes, but they are too made up. Even in real life with lots of mascara, you don't see that. Pupils have far too much contrast and color (need to be somewhere in the family of reality).

I'm not super fond of the shadowing of the left of the face, but I suppose that is up to you. I thought the original shot is just right. In adding the shadowing, you have created a very sharp bone like thing with her nose that she did not have in the original. That needs a softer transition. Lips, the effect is nice, but there doesn't appear to be that kind of light in the image to produce that amount of shine. I'd tone it down.

Overall, if you are going to go this far with the touching, you have to pay attention to other details like the fly aways and cross hairs of her hairstyle also. It's a whole package.

Not so bad overall once the color came sort of back in line and the eyes come back to reality.

edit: my color still stunk. took the image down

Last edited by Ant; 04-26-2007 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 04-26-2007, 05:23 PM
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darlanne darlanne is offline
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Re: Retouching critique please :)

Thank you very much Ant. That's exactly the critique I was looking for. I've followed a lot of your posts and I'm glad you're here on RP. Your advice is highly useful!

I'm going to work now on tweaking it and will post an update.

Thanks again
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Old 05-02-2007, 05:48 AM
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DJSoulglo DJSoulglo is offline
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Re: Retouching critique please :)

What you posted looked good, but I think you might have started to obsess with the face and forgot the rest....

The arms and neck are a completely different colour than the face, this is either bad make-up or not added in the curves layer stack for colouring.

Looks good though, if a bit overly saturated. (and yes I am looking at it on a calibrated monitor)
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Old 05-02-2007, 09:07 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Retouching critique please :)

the skin looks a tiny bit overly-smooth to me. nice job on the lips and eyes. the shadowing on the nose is giving her nose more of a chiseled look. that can be good or bad, depending. the highlights on the hair, camera right, look a bit overdone. and, you've lost a bit of texture on the chin. good contrasting. good tones. you definitely woke the picture up and gave it some life back.

and i agree with DJ about the arms and neck. too much yellow/orange to go with the rest of the skin.
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:05 AM
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MadChapelier MadChapelier is offline
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Re: Retouching critique please :)

I think you did a pretty good job with the skin balance and making it look clean, but I think the image has been sharpened too much and the contrast is very high. I think for a glamorous picture (and this is possibly a matter of opinion) you want a softer more natural look. I've included a picture with a basic retouch and then made it more like what I consider to be "glamorous."

Feel free to use it as a guide or disregard it altogether!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg mc_fem1.jpg (85.5 KB, 70 views)
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:52 AM
TheVeed TheVeed is offline
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Re: Retouching critique please :)

Good effort. I think Ant pretty much summed up what needs correcting. Only thing I can add, is that her forehead looks oddly lumpy to me, as well. Next time, though, try not blurring and sharpening as much.
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Old 05-25-2007, 07:25 PM
aquariusbg011 aquariusbg011 is offline
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Re: Retouching critique please :)

Darlanne, very cool retouching, skin looks naturaly, maybe her eyes are too shine ..

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Old 05-30-2007, 06:15 AM
zganie zganie is offline
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Re: Retouching critique please :)

Hi darlanne
First it is better than i could do.But sometimes when someone looks at your work they see things you dont.Theere is to much contrast in your photo
also you should soften the shadow areas lok at the original they are soft not so sharp as yours

just a thought Zganie
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