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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

subtle, smooth burn and dodge on skin

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  #11  
Old 12-07-2005, 02:34 AM
Klaatu Baradda's Avatar
Klaatu Baradda Klaatu Baradda is offline
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Dodgy Dodger Dodging The Dodge Layer

Quote:
Originally Posted by singlo
... I find it difficult to get a very smooth, gradual transition in skin tone across large areas being lightened or darkened. I try this technique with both graphic tablet and mouse pad. The only control of I have is to lower the opacity of the duplicated layer if the transition between burn (or dodge ) and untouched areas look too artificial or too "blotchy or patchy "... Please advice.
Greetings singlo,

This is a favorite technique of ours and it's understandable WHY you can't get nice transitions using a soft Brush on the gray layer. The Brush is just too brutal even at lower opacities. Instead, use the Dodge/Burn Tool on this layer (set to a low Opacity). Yeah! It sounds weird (we know) especially since you are trying to avoid using these tools directly on the image. But the truth is, they work remarkably better than anything else! And it still works non-destructively by being on a separate layer.

Using the Dodge/Burn Tool works similar to using the Brush Tool but instead of pressing the x key to move back and forth between black & white, you set the tool to Burn and hold the opt/alt key to toggle using the Dodge tool.

The reason these work better in this situation is because of how they only affect the (gray) layer's luminosity and not adding pixels (like the Brush Tool). The result is nice even transitions in your lights & darks. You can also try Flora's suggestion of using the Blur Tool (press r) to smooth out transitions further (if needed).

A technique we use is one called "mottling." This is a method used by classical artist, whereby the larger patches (or blotches) of light & dark are applied roughly first then smoothed out (almost completely obliterated) then another layer is built upon this and smoothed out again. This is repeated several times and give the image great depth and dimension as well as a natural complexity. With paint this was literally "building-up" the transparent glazed paint layers.

With Photoshop and this Dodge/Burn technique, you can do something similar by adding larger areas of light & dark then using the Gaussian Blur to soften them way down. Then again, add more and blur again until you have the look you want.

We prefer using Overlay with this technique but certainly Soft Light can be used as well (with much softer results).

This technique is also a great way to create an artificial "Fill-flash" for those images that are well exposed for the background but under-exposed in the foreground. Just use the Dodge Tool on the gray layer to lighten up the image where it needs it the most.
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  #12  
Old 12-07-2005, 08:42 AM
singlo singlo is offline
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thank you so much for the tips. Klaatu, I have just tried your technique, it work well too--the only thing slows me down is that i have to keep reminding myself to switch constantly between hightlights, midtones and shadows option on the Dodge& Burn tool menu during the process. It is easy to forget when I work on a portrait with rich variations of tonal range.

I have also tried out lighten mode with brush tool colour sampling for dodge, and Darken mode for burn which is very much like Flora's method.

Shellby, I think too the curve method does the same thing too, except it also allows you to see the dark or light spots more clearly from the destaurated, high contrast image. I guess Heyrad's technique combines burn/dodge and spots removal in one process, if I understand it correctly. I prefer to use more simple method. At the moment I do skin smoothing separately using clone stamp at 25% opacity on a new layer on 50% opacity, viewing the Green channel(GlitterGuru's method). Before I learnt retouching, I used lazy person's quick fixes like Kodak GEM Airbush plug-in at medium setting and Neatimage, which both give plastic look at high settings, smearing out skin texture. I guess I can combine one of these plug-in filter tools at low settings with manual retouching.
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  #13  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:19 PM
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Klaatu Baradda Klaatu Baradda is offline
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Making The Switch And Switching The Making

Quote:
Originally Posted by singlo
thank you so much for the tips. Klaatu, I have just tried your technique, it work well too--the only thing slows me down is that i have to keep reminding myself to switch constantly between hightlights, midtones and shadows option on the Dodge & Burn tool menu during the process. It is easy to forget when I work on a portrait with rich variations of tonal range.
You're welcome!
Yeah, it does take a little experience with it to get used to, but the easy part is that in the interim you can either backup a step (or two) in history (press cmd/cntrl+shift+z) or just go over the mistake with the opposite tool. The really great part about using this method is that it isn't obliterating the gray pixels, it's just shifting their luminosity lighter or darker. So, you can easily use the Burn to darken the (accidental) highlights and the Dodge to lighten the (accidental) shadows. No harm, no foul.

Another thing that helps is that setting the foreground color to gray and then just pressing "b" for the Brush Tool will erase anything that you've done (be sure to switch back by pressing "o").

An alternative method (that is similar to heyrad's) would be to make two layers; one for Dodge and the other for Burn. The purests will love this since it keeps the two effects (highlights & shadows) separate and allows opacity (or mode blending) to be separate as well. This way you can also focus on one tool at a time without having to switch. However, this maybe overkill with most images that just need a little touch-up.

We've made the creation of the Dodge/Burn Layer(s) an Action which cuts down even more time. The Action also selects a preset of the Dodge/Burn Tool so, just one click and we're ready to roll. We're very used to the convenience of just using the opt/alt keypress to switch back and forth as it gives a greater sense of painting on the image (especially with a tablet).

Oh, that reminds us, you can also set the down-button on a pen to be the opt/alt key, this way you don't even have use the keyboard. Although, we've set ours to be the Zoom Tool (up and down) which is nice to get into those small details. But this would all be in the realm of personal preferences.
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  #14  
Old 12-08-2005, 06:35 PM
singlo singlo is offline
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thanks again Klaatu, good idea. I have made actions for each of these methods.

Quote:
The reason these work better in this situation is because of how they only affect the (gray) layer's luminosity and not adding pixels (like the Brush Tool).
I am not entirely sure if Brush Tool on Overlay Mode can cause colour shift of the pixels (I thought I read from somewhere that it doesn't), but I do notice unnatural shift in lighter colours, particularly burning the lighter colour tone with the Bush tool in special situations, e.g. when I try to transform a normally lit portrait to a low-key image with lots of post-production add-on shadows. The white dress of the model would turn to yellowish brown if darken it with Brush. So Burn/Dodge tool layer maybe the answer to this problem.
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  #15  
Old 12-08-2005, 06:57 PM
leuallen leuallen is offline
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singlo

Re color shift with 50% gray layer in Overlay blending mode.

Try Softlight instead of overlay. It seems to minimize the color shift.

Larry
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  #16  
Old 12-09-2005, 01:17 AM
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Klaatu Baradda Klaatu Baradda is offline
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Changing The World One Layer At A Time

Quote:
Originally Posted by singlo
I am not entirely sure if Brush Tool on Overlay Mode can cause colour shift of the pixels (I thought I read from somewhere that it doesn't), but I do notice unnatural shift in lighter colours, particularly burning the lighter colour tone with the Bush tool in special situations, e.g. when I try to transform a normally lit portrait to a low-key image with lots of post-production add-on shadows. The white dress of the model would turn to yellowish brown if darken it with Brush. So Burn/Dodge tool layer maybe the answer to this problem.
Uh actually, we were referring to the changing of pixels on the gray layer (which is why using the brush is so harsh) versus the luminosity change with the Dodge/Burn tool (thinking one layer here). However, yes, the Overlay blending will cause a color shift to the layers below as well.

Glad this helped.
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  #17  
Old 12-09-2005, 04:05 PM
edgework edgework is offline
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Color shift can be avoided with any of the these operations by merging to a new layer, setting that layer to Luminosity and turning off the operation layer(s).
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  #18  
Old 12-09-2005, 06:11 PM
singlo singlo is offline
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I still get colour shift not only in Overlay mode, but also in softlight, burn/dodge tools layers as well. My understanding of colour shift problem is that it is caused by the equal amount of darkening or lightening of the R, G and B channels in the process of burn and dodge while colour images compose of unequal amounts of RGB.

Now I find the least colour-shift technique is the use of two layers: a Darken mode blending layer for burn and a Lighten blending layer for dodge with the use of colour picker sampling of local areas.

Quote:
Color shift can be avoided with any of the these operations by merging to a new layer, setting that layer to Luminosity and turning off the operation layer(s).
Edgework I have tried your suggestion. I create a new layer in Luminosity blending mode and "meger down" to the softlight (overlay or DB tool ) layer. I must do something wrong, it doesn't stop colour shift.

Last edited by singlo; 12-11-2005 at 12:31 PM.
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  #19  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:52 PM
singlo singlo is offline
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I have experimented with dodge and burn in the green channel with the layer blending mode set to luminosity. No more colour shift and the results are great. Thanks
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  #20  
Old 12-31-2005, 02:18 AM
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I often use 2 blank layers above the original image to create this effect. I paint black patches on one layer over the cheeks for example (areas I want smoothly darkened) - and then white patches on the other layer below the eyes, forehead, nose bridge and chin. I place both layers in Softlight mode so I dont get any color shifts.

The key for me is to use a "heavy gaussian blur" on each layer to get that smoothed out look. Too little blur causes blotchyness - and too much blur causes a haze over the area. There is a "magic spot" where you can see the edges get nicely graded, smooth and soft. This is the perfect amount. It causes your brush highlights to have a great smooth, blended look.

You can then use the opacity slider in the layers pallette to control the amount of burn and highlight to exactly suit your taste. You can also add a mask later - and apply this darkening and lightening to only certain parts of the image.

I get great control this way and I can selectively erase areas I dont want.

Attached is a picture from another area of the forums - the girls cheeks and highlights were created using this method.

Ray
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File Type: jpg Ray12 amberComposite.jpg (92.3 KB, 103 views)
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