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On the right track?

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  #1  
Old 10-28-2010, 02:19 PM
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oneredpanther oneredpanther is offline
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On the right track?

Hi guys,
I began posting on RetouchPro a few weeks ago and have been trying to get involved as much as possible. I thought that after giving my opinion on the work of so many of you fine artists, that I would seek the same in response.

I started taking photos of models only about a year ago but have actually been a user of photoshop for ten years, so compared to most people I came to retouching backwards!

Only in the last few months have I given any thought to becoming a little more serious in my approach and thoughts are beginning that perhaps I'd like to become more hireable.

In any case, I'd love to know your thoughts on my image below.

It was a simple two-light setup and I was aiming for an end result that was clean, tight and I suppose generated a degree of aloof separation between viewer and model.

Some of the the idea being that the cat would act as the gateway to the soul of the image, but it was hard to make the little furry thing look at me!

The retouch took somewhere around 7 hours start to finish, over the course of a week or so. I've never retouched hair before, so that's my real weakness. It was shot on an ancient 6MP Nikon D40 at ISO800 (whoops) so finesse was hard to come by.

Anyway, I'd like to hear from you guys whether I seem to be on the right track with my image-making. You're very welcome to check out the website in my signature for more...

Panth
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  #2  
Old 10-28-2010, 03:29 PM
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Boneappetit Boneappetit is offline
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Re: On the right track?

Hi Barrington: I'm a newbie at the retouch thing. I don't have the knowledge that you and the other pros here have. I saw your website and your work is pretty good, very professional. I just hope to retouch like you guys in a near future. The only thing I can say in simple words about your image here, first, It is a nice job, on the other hand, the hair looks too sharp on the edge. Just a small detail.

PS The model needs to be very careful with those claws hehe.
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:02 PM
TEastman TEastman is offline
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Re: On the right track?

I really like the original photograph, but it did need to be corrected. The touched up image was over-worked in my opinion and has too much of a blue cast, and you definitely need to work on your selections. As you have discovered, you can't just use the quick select tool to select hair. You would actually be better off using a mask layer with channel selections. Be sure to use the refine edge command with your selections too.
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:23 AM
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oneredpanther oneredpanther is offline
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Re: On the right track?

TEastman, thanks for taking the time to reply.
I'm not quite sure I understand your comments however. The blue cast is absolutely the way I want it, but that's purely an aesthetic choice rather than technical.

In any case, I'm confused by your assumption that quick-select has been used for the hair. You're right that I discovered it can't be used for this job... about 7 years ago. The entire body and hair are masked by a very accurate and well-defined alpha channel with precisely refined edges (this took about an hour).

I'll have to post a link to the full-size version where the 800px JPEG doesnt make quite such a smush of the edges.

I think the greater problem is that the 'bun' of her hair needs some highlight and shadow reconstruction to make it more spherical than it is now; the actual selection itself I believe is about as accurate as it could be - the main problem is the shading at the edges. I'm not sure how to d&b the edges of redrawn hair, and I think that's the failing.

Panth
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:20 AM
Flashtones Flashtones is offline
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Re: On the right track?

Panth, I do more product than beauty but I'll give you my few thoughts.

The hair edge is too hard. You say it's a very accurate tracing. It is for the shape you want, but the edge itself is too sharp. On your mask I'd make a selection around the hair edge and give a gaussian blur of a couple of pixels or so (depends on image size). You want to keep the shape but allow it to feel more tactile and less like a rubber mold.

To go with the above, your blacks seem to be crushing a bit in the hair and cat, further diminishing the tactile quality. They're going 2 dimensional.

If you really want a hard, inorganic feeling then you'd have to also smooth the skin more. But the porousness of the skin is incongruent with the hardness of the hair/fur. They need to be brought into balance.

At this size I find the beauty mark distracting. If it were a headshot maybe one could better discern what it is, but at this size I thought I had a fleck on my monitor. I'd either lose it or make it more distinct.

She could probably use some more shading/carving in her face/neck to give shape to your midtones.

Similarly the background could perhaps use some vignetting or grading or perhaps a stronger, weaker or contrasting color. There's something non-committal and antiseptic about it.


Those are just some suggestions that I myself would explore, but maybe they'd fail. Overall I think the image has a nice look.
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  #6  
Old 10-29-2010, 12:51 PM
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BagLady BagLady is offline
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Re: On the right track?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oneredpanther View Post
I think the greater problem is that the 'bun' of her hair needs some highlight and shadow reconstruction to make it more spherical than it is now; the actual selection itself I believe is about as accurate as it could be - the main problem is the shading at the edges. I'm not sure how to d&b the edges of redrawn hair, and I think that's the failing.

Panth
Retouching hair can be a nightmare and unfortunately, there aren't many tutorials regarding the subject. It would be nice to have a long lasting thread dedicated to hair only! ;-)

Anyway, I think the problem is the fact that the original hair style is purposely loose... If you look at the bun itself (not only the edges) you will notice hairs going in every direction. There's general movement throughout the whole hair style and looseness towards the back. The hair is not slicked back and the bun is loose therefore the eye expects to see some messiness and transparency around the edges.

So, I would clean less around the edges (only the obviously distracting/out of place, or anything that makes the background look dirty) and pay more attention to her hairline. The area behind her ear looks unnatural and the vertical hairline (from ear up to forehead) appears to be a bit harsh. Evening out tones throughout the hair in general would also help.

I would suggest using frequency separation which is wonderful for stray hairs, hair lines (and everything else!) and an inverted high pass layer for evening out tones beautifully.

Read this thread for basic frequency separation explanation and tutorial link:
http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/pho...ay-person.html

The above technique may be applied to the hair by carefully creating/blending hair in bare areas around the hair line with the smudge tool (on the low frequency layer) and for removing stray hairs with the healing brush on the high frequency layer.

and last but not least, here's a great tutorial on the inverted high pass for hair provided by Godmother (part of her DVD):
http://www.digitalphotoshopretouchin...s/hair-retouch

I hope that I haven't been too critical or confusing regarding hair details, but I'm also working on a profile with the hair up! I just wanted to share what I have learned.
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  #7  
Old 10-31-2010, 04:50 PM
rocco rocco is offline
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Re: On the right track?

I'd say its right on track, though I agree w Flashtones about the blacks. A bit too severe and you're loosing detail. I do like the blue cast however.
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