Help - I'm stuck
My favorite subject is my wife; however, her face (forehead) appears blotchy in all of her pictures. After in-depth reading and numerous attempts to correct this, I am still at a loss. The most I can do is lighten/darken to try to smooth and match, then a slight blur. Needless to say, the results are flat with severe loss of details. I've seen some amazing stuff here. I am seriously at my wits end and would be very grateful for your help
Full size image is stored here
What you have is a color correction problem. If it was, say, a sweater you were trying to correct, the solution would be simple. Mask the sweater, use the mask in a curve adjustment layer and apply curves to move the old color to the desired change. The problem here is how to create an accurate mask for the region that needs changing. The solution is to work in reverse.
I set an info sampler on the large blotch on her forehead, and one on a good tone nearby. The color readouts were:
Skin blotch: R: 176, G: 121, B: 114
Good Skin: R: 191, G: 138, B: 128
Set a curve adjustment layer and open the curve dialogue. At the bottom of the curve-grid window there is a gradient from black to white. If the gradient doesn't have black to the left click it. That brings the Input/Output values in line with the Info palette readouts.
Now go to each channel, set a midpoint on the curve and plug in the numbers. For red enter 176 in the input box, 191 in the output box. Likewise for the other two channels.
Activate the layer mask for the adjustment layer and fill with black.
I used a small brush at 10% opacity. I have a tablet and I set the opacity to Pressure sensitive. I painted small strokes of white into my layer mask everywhere I saw a skin discoloration, slowly allowing the curve shift to take effect. You don't have to worry about how to create the mask, just watch the screen. You will literally paint the blotches away. Without losing texture.
The power of curves is that you're not just painting in a color, or shifting darks and lights; you're applying an entire color range, since the curve distributes the shift throughout the entire range.
Once I tamed the large regions with the curve, it was quick work for the Healing Brush (at the same size as I used for the mask) to smooth over the residual artifacts. (The healing brush is the tool of choice for this sort of thing, when you want to retain texture).
Below, the original, the mask and the result. This was a five minute fix. There is more to be done, but this shows what is possible.
Great stuff Edgework.
In no way is my solution as clever or as technical.
1. Clone of skin onto new layer with 25% clone brush and then set opacity of layer to around 72%
2. Using a small opacity white brush on a new layer, added a few highlights in colour dodge blending.
3. Using a 50% grey layer I added the noise filter and then attached a black mask and painted with white in very low opacity some noise in the areas where you would normally expect to see some.
Another Approach Using CS2
Technique from Katrin Eisman Vol 3 Photoshop Restoration and Retouching.
Copy the Layer using Screen Blending Mode
G. Blur the screen Layer at a 9 setting
Copy the Screen Layer to another Layer using multiply blending mode and set the opacity of the multiply layer to 40%
Select the Screen Layer and The multiply Layer
Then Make a new group from these two layers.
Add a black layer mask to the new group
Paint the mask with a soft white brush where needed.
Sharpen later as needed.
Last edited by philbach; 02-10-2006 at 11:08 AM. Reason: Give credit to originator
Ro's method is great--I love it.
Another trick that sometimes works is run a noise reduction tool and adjust the equalizer sliders to remove only the grunge.
The tool needs to be one that lets you explicitly sample the part of the image you want to clean up. In this case, I just sampled the forehead and then turned the high and low frequency sliders down and the medium frequency slider up. Again, you can do this on a separate layer with a mask and only do the NR selectively. I know Noise Ninja and the Paintshop Pro noise tool allow manual sampling.
The disadvantage is, it's more difficult to target a specific texture in situations where there are many textures on top of one another and you only want to get rid of a specific texture frequency--Ro's method is king in that case.
The advantage is you don't have to pick the frequency to remove--the NR tool automatically analyzes the blotchiness and removes it.
In this case, I think the two methods are giving pretty similar results.
I was working in parallel using Ro's method which I thought would work better than a noise filter in this case because the blotches are large and not really noise. Independently I used settings high settings to test the lattitude - which his technique has a fair amount of. The larger size image maintains more freckles and detail some of which was lost when I downsized.
Welcome to RP!
Great techniques here!! ... edgework, In spite of my allergy for them, your post got me considering to give another look at 'those' numbers ....
Too nice a picture to resist ....
I just used 'my' blank Layer set to ... (in this case: Lighten, Soft Light and Overlay) technique ... Patch Tool, Healing Brush, and USM for sharpening.
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