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Sflowers55 12-05-2016 03:10 PM

Another critique please!
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Hey everyone,
Thank you for taking the time to critique another retouch. My plan is to continue uploading images here in order to improve from your suggestions. I have also started taking a few more retouching classes and am learning different techniques.

I have been using free images from the web to practice on.
For this image I did the following:
  • Heal & Clone
  • Dodge & Burn
  • Frequency separation
  • color change using curves
  • sharpen
  • liquify

How did I do? Am I going too far?
Any critique is welcome! I am here to learn!! Teach me your ways!

What would you have done differently?

Thanks for the help!

klev 12-05-2016 05:46 PM

Re: Another critique please!
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Can you explain a few details? Most of your choices aren't obvious to me.

Why did you choose reshape the face that way?
How did you choose that lip color?

Those two things just puzzle me. As for the rest (looking at it again), you're doing way too much with one curve layer. The additional contrast blocks up your shadows, and it makes the unevenness in the skin particularly obvious. This is a 5 minute slop job with a mouse, but it illustrates my point. The goal with skin in this kind of shot is typically some nice evenness. You went the other way.

That hand is problematic no matter what. The jewelry should really stand out. You shouldn't lose detail in your shadows. You just need to really start thinking about the subject, not about liquify or frequency separation. Those are tools. They shouldn't define the final image any more than absolutely necessary.

Edit: also yeah just spotted the redness in the chest. Browsers sometimes display these things differently. Point about evenness still stands.

Sflowers55 12-06-2016 02:12 PM

Re: Another critique please!
1 Attachment(s)

Thanks again for taking the time to critique my retouch. I thought about what you said and started over on that image. I worked only on evening out the skin.

To answer your questions:
Why did you choose reshape the face that way?
Honestly, I had zero plan for shaping the face. This by far the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around. I have a hard time knowing how you are supposed to go about adding extra contouring or when you should. Do you have any suggestions about how I would learn this? Should I take a makeup class and discuss contouring with a professional makeup artist? How did you learn this?

How did you choose that lip color?
I wanted to see how to change lip color using a suggested technique from one of my classes. Using a curve layer with a mask. There was no specific reason for that color other than to try out that technique.

I started over and focused only on skin evenness. I missed the mark last time and wanted a second go at it. The only way I am to get better is to keep trying.

Is this new image better as far as evenness is concerned?

klev 12-06-2016 09:04 PM

Re: Another critique please!
Some parts look "slightly" overdone or heavy handed. I'm just looking at definition here. There are parts where the shift in skin color could be less obvious as well. On a nicer note, I like it a lot better. I think this is a good direction. My laptop isn't as revealing of details, given the aging screen.

Regarding things like changing the lip color and reshaping, I default to no changes. I only want to change things if they improve the image, but I don't change things just to do so. Reshaping is difficult, because you need some idea of what can be passed off as anatomically correct. Similarly with something like lip color, it's easy to pick a bad shade.

How do you feel about this iteration?

klev 12-06-2016 11:51 PM

Re: Another critique please!
Okay I'm viewing it on the bigger display, and I can see what caught my eye before. Careful about turning things like reflections into straight lines, like on the bridge of the nose. I find it's usually better to down down the bright parts very slightly until they stop being an issue. The same goes for the tip of the nose and that whole area. It's making it look like a slightly strange shape. It seems the lighting might be flattened a bit on the sides of the forehead as well, but that's minor. I still think this is a big improvement, and I suspect you can do even better.

Sflowers55 12-08-2016 02:17 PM

Re: Another critique please!
Klev thanks for all the help! I really appreciate it.

I am much happier with this iteration, I feel like it is more realistic looking than the last. The transitions look better to me and they seem more gradual. I'm still not 100% happy with this image but I am happy to be making progress.

Would you tell me where the shift in skin color is occurring? I'm not sure where you are talking about. Are you talking about around the cheeks and forehead?

Also, in terms of the forehead looking flat, how would you go about fixing this? Adding a bit more shadow around the sides of the forehead and feathering it in?

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