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Why does this composite look fake?

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  #11  
Old 05-02-2012, 09:03 AM
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Re: Why does this composite look fake?

No the client has not seen the image yet but I just know it looks a bit off. I've shown it to people around the office and to the untrained eye (or without me saying a thing) they think it looks fine.
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  #12  
Old 05-02-2012, 09:18 AM
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Re: Why does this composite look fake?

Thanks so much for the input guys. Here is the new revision of the image which I think it's much more realistic. Here's what I did:

1. I tilted the head to the left a few degrees so that it sits more straight with the body.
2. I reduced the shadows on the left side of his face, so that the lighting it's not so dramatic.
3. I used the neck from the 'head' source image instead of combining the two.
4. I matched the tone and contrast a bit better on the face/head to the hands.

What do you guys think? I've included the before and after.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg _55T7733.jpg (72.1 KB, 109 views)
File Type: jpg _55T7733_rev1.jpg (70.7 KB, 126 views)
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  #13  
Old 05-02-2012, 10:09 AM
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Re: Why does this composite look fake?

It looks better now.
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  #14  
Old 05-02-2012, 03:15 PM
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Re: Why does this composite look fake?

Agreed, though he would probably be happy with either.
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  #15  
Old 05-02-2012, 05:48 PM
lokki lokki is offline
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Re: Why does this composite look fake?

The big elements I would work on in the revision are:

The shadow under the chin is too cool and light - darken, warm up, increase contrast here.
The detail and texture in the skin does not match the hands or the texture detail in the shirt - try cloning some of the original texture and variation in.
The head is just a tiny bit too small. The original's angle and gesture gives you an artificially small reference, so you'll need to scale it up just a notch or two.

One way to help with the lighting is to build a soft map of the lighting. You can try isolating the head, desaturating, blurring, and using the brightness values as a guide. If you're really brave, try equalizing the light on the replacement head and using the blurred/desaturated copy as a Soft Light layer on low opacity as a starting point. The intermediate step of evening out the light will look horrible and flatter until you bring the depth back.
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  #16  
Old 05-02-2012, 05:50 PM
lokki lokki is offline
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Re: Why does this composite look fake?

Oh - another solution would be to leave the head as it is in the revision and move the rest of the body into darker shadow, then 'force' a little perspective into it as if the lens were wider (e.g., shrink the lower part of the body). That will let you get away with the current overall lighting, but you'll still need to do some dodge/burn to bring more depth into the face.
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  #17  
Old 05-03-2012, 04:01 AM
Anthony Wood Anthony Wood is offline
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Re: Why does this composite look fake?

I've been following this thread and wondering why it's so seemingly difficult to get this right. I don't agree that it looks OK but as someone suggested maybe that's because you pointed me to the problem. Anyway ...maybe there isn't a technical solution.

When I look at the original shot from where you got head (the shot at the desk) it looks just a little fake. Maybe "fake" is too harsh a term, but there is to me just a hint of unnaturalness about the smile and the head placement. It reminds me a little of the catwalk shots where it seems any actress over 25 has been trained to push their chin forward to stretch out the neck. Just a little forced and a little unrelaxed.

Now when I look at the shot you are trying to fix (where he is laughing with his eyes closed and throwing his head back) he looks very relaxed, and natural. His body language, however subtle, is totally congruent with this. Here he looks like someone I'd enjoy going for a beer with. Now I'm not suggesting this is an appropriate shot to deliver to the client. I'm just wondering if this is the root cause of the problem and that this may prove to be unphotoshopable.

Another thought...is it that the hand gesture doesn't work with the facial expression?

Last edited by Anthony Wood; 05-03-2012 at 05:49 AM. Reason: Another thought..
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  #18  
Old 05-03-2012, 09:57 AM
dhp dhp is offline
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Re: Why does this composite look fake?

this is a huge improvement as far as the lighting goes & i think for most viewers that will be the main factor in convincing them of 'realism' so it's kind of, objective achieved ...

however, if i was the guy in the shot i may now feel as though i had a slight 'turtle neck' situation where the head seems thrust forward - if i was going to do any more work on this that would be the only area i'd look at as you could spend a long time on small lighting details for little improvement or just fix the slight turtle neck, then it's ready to be sent out

i think it may just be a question of introducing a slight suggestion of a twist (with a bit of dodge & burn) in the left neck muscle (his right) - i'm smiling as i write this & realise how ridiculously miniscule these details seem to anybody who doesn't sweat the small stuff :-))
but i would say just look in the mirror & you'll see what i mean about the contours of the neck muscles changing slightly as you turn your body away but keep the head square

be interesting to see if you take any of the recent suggestions here or just send it out as close enough, as there's always that balance between infinite time & right enough for a deadline...?
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  #19  
Old 05-09-2012, 04:19 PM
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Re: Why does this composite look fake?

I think the revisions make it look real, however I think the shot with the desk makes a better portrait. The shot on the white background appears a little haphazard.
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