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New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

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  #11  
Old 06-25-2011, 08:22 PM
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Boneappetit Boneappetit is offline
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Re: New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

Here is a sample of the eye help layers I use when dodging and burning...
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File Type: jpg eyehelplayersRP.jpg (99.2 KB, 59 views)
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  #12  
Old 06-26-2011, 01:16 PM
Siciliana Siciliana is offline
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Re: New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

Boneappett, thank you for that critique. It is exactly what I am looking for and not too harsh. The original file is not that small and it is a RAW file, but it does not have the kind of detail in the midtone and shadows one would like and is a bit underexposed. I see what you are saying about the 'blurry' factor and flatness caused by too much dodge & burn and that is the kind of thing I am trying to figure out. The sideburn problem was my fault because I tried cloning on "lighter color" to see if it would be more natural but ended up smudging out texture. I should have known better. As for the rest, I can see now that it definitely has lost some of the depth of the original and needs more contrast added back to give it more dimension.

Overall, I think next time I will host the images on private server space--the resized images on here or on photobucket(automatically resized) are degraded. I don't know what is going on with color. I am viewing the images now on a friend's monitor and the color looks really lousy. My retouch looks way too green and washed out. My monitor at home was recently calibrated but it is old and there is too much ambient light in my current workspace. I'm not sure if the friend's monitor is way off or if the environment I am working in is off. In any case, I have to improve that situation so that my color is more accurate. I actually am able to see color very well, but apparently, I am not seeing the photo as I ought to, or else the color is shifting in the web conversion.

You are right that is isn't a great image to work on, but I am learning something from it. I think I might try to do it all over again from scratch to see if I can do a better job of keeping the original shading and color and try to preserve more detail in the shadows somehow. Still problem solving and trying different strategies to get the result I want. Next time I will also post the images at original size.

~Amy

Last edited by Siciliana; 06-26-2011 at 01:29 PM. Reason: add name
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  #13  
Old 06-26-2011, 01:18 PM
Siciliana Siciliana is offline
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Re: New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

Oh, and thank you for the video link, that is very helpful. I was wondering how to best bring back the overall darkness to the skin and that is a nice technique that was not the first one to come to mind.
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  #14  
Old 06-27-2011, 10:42 AM
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Re: New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

U R very welcome Amy: Some time ago I was having the same problem, old monitor, small and not to faithful, as soon as I could, I got a new one and from there on I guess I'm having a better control over my works... This is a very important tool, we want our works to be faithful to the long hours we spend in it... Keep up the good work, you are doing great...
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  #15  
Old 06-27-2011, 01:40 PM
Siciliana Siciliana is offline
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Re: New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

Thanks again for the link on black skin. I tried it on that photo when I got home last night and it made a world of difference. I can't wait to retouch this photo over again this evening from scratch and see if I can't get a better result. I have a couple ideas of how I can improve it quite a bit, starting from the raw file.
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  #16  
Old 06-28-2011, 08:36 AM
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Re: New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

Quote:
Originally Posted by Siciliana View Post
Thanks again for the link on black skin. I tried it on that photo when I got home last night and it made a world of difference. I can't wait to retouch this photo over again this evening from scratch and see if I can't get a better result.

"I have a couple ideas of how I can improve it quite a bit, starting from the raw file".

Hi Amy:
That's a good practice. A new work starting from RAW. You can also try the black skin tutorial "on white skin", landscape, etc. to boost your image or get a nice sepia tone. You can take a look here: http://boneappetit.deviantart.com/ga...t=192#/d2u65or
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  #17  
Old 06-29-2011, 12:16 AM
Siciliana Siciliana is offline
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Re: New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

Well, I had another go. I realize I could go farther on tidying up irregularites and I could enhance and clean up the makeup more, but honestly, I think I'll work on a better image if I am going to spend that kind of time. Wondering if anyone wants to give more feedback? I'm really trying to get input on skin texture. I tried to sharpen up the shadows in RAW to see if I could keep more information. I'm mostly wondering opinions on texture. Is it too much texture along the nose? Not enough? Too splotchy still? Opinions on skin tone, color and texture appreciated. You can view these below at a larger size if you click "Original" size at the top of the page.

Thanks!
Amy

before:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rastere...n/photostream/

after:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rastere...n/photostream/

Last edited by Siciliana; 06-29-2011 at 12:32 AM. Reason: typo
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  #18  
Old 06-29-2011, 10:43 AM
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Re: New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

Hi Amy:

That one is much better, but still thinking that the photo is not the correct one. Besides the things I already pointed out, you have a black model over a "dark or black background" serving as an enemy of your work. I don't really know if using a black background for retouches is a no no among retouchers, (I got a couple in my gallery) but what I've seen so far, is that there are not many pro-works with a completely black background, and even more when your image is a head shot...
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  #19  
Old 06-29-2011, 12:06 PM
Siciliana Siciliana is offline
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Re: New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

What about the texture on the side of the nose? Is it too much still? The model has kind of bumpy, oily skin. I was trying to keep her original skin texture while reducing the dark splotches and blemishes. I was trying to be very authentic, so I stopped here, but part of me thinks that maybe the forehead and side of nose are a little too bumpy and it would be more attractive to reduce that texture a bit. These are the kinds of minute decisions I fret with, not knowing how much is too much yet--that is why I am looking for advice from more experienced retouchers. I'm tempted to do a frequency separation and mask out some of the opacity on the nose and forehead texture. I already reduced the texture on unattractive skin texture such as the large bumpy pores on the end of the nose.

Obviously, this is not a portfolio piece. I am really just practicing on making a realistic but significant improvement on the skin. This has been a good practice for me to work on dark skin with a lot of variations. Doing it twice, I got the chance to figure out which techniques were fastest for which problems.

Thanks for all your advice!
Amy
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  #20  
Old 06-29-2011, 12:15 PM
Siciliana Siciliana is offline
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Re: New retoucher seeking critique... before/after

One more:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rastere...n/photostream/

I realize I went overboard the first time, but I've tried adding a little color to the background and powdering up the highlights a bit to give her a smoother look and glam it up a bit. What do you think of this finish? Too much? Would you do something else? Color problems? Too dull? Nit-picking criticism appreciated--always seeking new ideas. I know it isn't a great photo, but this is the one I'm practicing on. Next time, I'll try to choose something better Need to get my hands on some very high-res files.
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