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

What kind of technique is this?

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  #51  
Old 07-28-2006, 06:10 AM
funk funk is offline
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NancyJ,
Very good points indeed and when I tried out of curiosity the selective color trick, it worked like described and should be enough to know how to create porcelain skin.

And Snook, if it didn't bring you the results you wanted, you didn't try hard enough. For example if you had an underexposed photo with strong color cast, you have to make necessary adjustments for it to work (lighten the image, and remove the cast). (Also you could try and use curves in color layer and desaturating but it would be more time consuming and difficult to achieve the same effect.) Not all images work the same as Nancy here said:
Quote:
Their style is there own and they have spent a lot of time honing their talents and refining that style. To expect to create an exact replica, relying only on 'technique' is unrealistic. There is no magic formula, every picture is different, you cant just plug in some numbers and make every picture perfectly match a particular style - there is much more to making an image that than.
So true
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  #52  
Old 07-28-2006, 07:29 AM
megl megl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funk
And Snook, if it didn't bring you the results you wanted, you didn't try hard enough.
Ok - before everyone starts jumping Snook ...

I sure believe Snook is trying very hard - he's a great photographer and retoucher already IMO. Take a look at his work!

I'm sure both sides are misunderstanding each other a little bit - I don't really see anyone being rude here ... ? And I think you're both right - it all comes down to be able to see what a photo needs. I truly belive that the best retouchers out there are using the most simple tools ... BUT - there are tricks involved no matter what. Even if they are only using curves layers and masks or what not, then it is a trick after all. Everyone must have certain things they do over and over again??

And I must agree with Snook, that the top industry retouchers seem very reluctant to tell too much - wouldn't it be extremely interesting to see Amy Dresser do a total breakdown of one of her Photoshop-files? BUT ... I can understand them perfectly - someone like Fiscus obviously worked hard to acheive his own style and wouldn't want to see everyone able to copy that

/megl
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  #53  
Old 07-28-2006, 07:33 AM
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NancyJ NancyJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megl
And I must agree with Snook, that the top industry retouchers seem very reluctant to tell too much - wouldn't it be extremely interesting to see Amy Dresser do a total breakdown of one of her Photoshop-files? BUT ... I can understand them perfectly - someone like Fiscus obviously worked hard to acheive his own style and wouldn't want to see everyone able to copy that
You're assuming there that someone has actually asked them...
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  #54  
Old 07-28-2006, 07:48 AM
megl megl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NancyJ
You're assuming there that someone has actually asked them...
You're absolutely right! I don't know if everybody have been asked that question, but I know Fiscus often get asked, but he won't talk about it ... and I respect that 100%

/megl
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  #55  
Old 07-28-2006, 08:29 AM
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NancyJ NancyJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megl
You're absolutely right! I don't know if everybody have been asked that question, but I know Fiscus often get asked, but he won't talk about it ... and I respect that 100%

/megl
There is ofcourse the possibility that by putting these people on a pedestal you make it impossible for them to share their 'secrets', because they then have to live up to their own hype. (Especially if they're commanding a high wage for their work)

eg. You develop your own unique style of retouching. Some kid on a forum starts raving about your work and before you know it, you're the next big thing and everyone is talking about you. Everyone wants to know your secret. That kind of hype fuels the fire and pays your wages but if you come out and say... well I clean up the picture using x, adjust the shadows and highlights using y and then tweak the colours using z - its like bursting that big hype bubble, your work is demystified and theres a hundred cheap knock off PS actions with your name on them. To say you use the same tecnique in all your work would completely devalue you as an artist. Dispite the fact that every image is unique and to truely emulate your style is impossible, without being you - since only you know the artistry involved in creating your work.

Aside from that - I'm not suprised that fiscus isnt interested in sharing, if you look at his work - he has as many styles/techniques as he has images/series of images. To boil his work down to 'how do you do it' would completely devalue his creative intelligence and artistry.
Another reason may be that if you look at his website - the 'golden rule' that he is supposed to be adhering to is that 'for images to be believeable, the digital imaging must go undetected'. Which is clearly not the case in his work - else there would not be so much hype about his retouching style - it would be about his amazing photography skills. It even possible that he finds such requests insulting.
And ofcourse, possibly the main reason he doesnt share - is that he doesnt do the retouching, he's a photographer, his wife is the digital artist. While they are both involved in the creative process - he gets all the credit. But something else that is often overlooked is that a lot of his particular style is down to good photography (and processing - he shoots film not digital)
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  #56  
Old 07-28-2006, 08:35 AM
Angel_Ice Angel_Ice is offline
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Hi, I agree with you and I find that if somene is really great, like Fiscus, it's normal he don't want to share his secret.

So, let's talk about how to achive that knowledge. Is this just talent and PS experiments or there are somethink more like some great design or photography school? How to become so good?
Can it be just experimenting and experimenting or there is a some superior knowledge of somethink that brings him to be so great?
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  #57  
Old 07-28-2006, 08:39 AM
megl megl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NancyJ
if you come out and say... well I clean up the picture using x, adjust the shadows and highlights using y and then tweak the colours using z - its like bursting that big hype bubble, your work is demystified and theres a hundred cheap knock off PS actions with your name on them. To say you use the same tecnique in all your work would completely devalue you as an artist.
Yeah - I agree Nancy! As I said earlier, I can relate totally! But that doesn't stop me from being curious ... I would still like to look over the shoulders of Amy Dresser and Jill Greenberg for a couple of weeks, so I'm just saying, that I hear what Snook is saying

The fine line between art and craft is (very) blurry ;-)

/megl
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  #58  
Old 07-29-2006, 02:07 AM
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NancyJ NancyJ is offline
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All you had to do is ask.

To prove thats its no conspiracy, no secret tricks that cant be shared, just hard graft and a hell of a lot of talent... here is a tutorial by Amy Dresser herself, included is a PSD of one of her images.
As well as being immensely talented, she's a very nice lady, very friendly and approachable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy Dresser
For the record, I get asked about my methods pretty regularly. I'm
not opposed to sharing my them, but i think most are underwhelmed by
my approach. They expect me to say "blippity blap layer at whatever
mode= voilà!" When in reality, i don't have much for short cuts.
The images i work on i purely labor over.

There's nothing cool about clients showing me a blurry raw image and
saying "make this look like THAT" while pointing to a photo that has
completely different lighting and shot with a super high-end camera.
My approach is far from beeline, and much more touchy-feely and
gradual. Unfortunately, the more a photographer gets used to the
idea of retouching, the lazier some of them get. The example I'm
sharing was a fantastic photo to start with, so it didn't need any
damage control-- just the fun stuff.

before i do any retouching...
I adjust the overall color of a photo (no point in retouching
anything that will be blown out or hidden in shadows in the end).
Most of my color adjustments are through curves (i adjust the
individual channels) and an occasional hue/sat layer--- just personal
taste. typically desaturate the reds a bit... as most peoples'
flaws are reddish in nature, this diminishes some the areas vs.
actual bumps. Also, i'm a bigger fan of desaturated images vs.
saturated ones... i think i can control the shape of things better
when i don't have to worry about weird saturation drop-offs.

I usually work an image up in an all over and gradual manner... kind
of general to specific. I refine color as i go along, carve features
and remove blemishes sort of all at the same time. This way, if
don't spend as much time as i'd like, the image should be fairly
presentable if the deadline is sooner rather than later.
Here are the general things i do:

Rubber stamp out major stuff (on a copy of the original layer of
course) at 100% on normal mode. I make sure that all the cloning i
do is completely unnoticeable. No big blur blobs all over the place
or step-marks. Not a fan of the healing brush either.

Dodge and burn small light and dark spots and areas... anything that
distracts and jumps out at me-- always set on midtones at about 3-4%
with the fuzziest brush you got with "other dynamics" selected so the
pen pressure is in effect. This is where i spend the bulk of my
time. To speed this up, i have programmed the 2 buttons on my pen to
be the short cuts for decrease brush size and increase brush size.

Even out the skin tones to be basically the same hue, saturation
through out a figure/face/image. i'll use the lasso with a fat
amount feathering on it and circle/trace areas that i want to
adjust. Again, i favor curves. These typically will be very subtle
in nature... with the middle of a channel's curve just pulled up or
down a notch or 2.

Carving and painting highlights:
I refer to already existing highlights and exaggerate and/or simplify
them. This is one of those things that will come naturally if you've
done a lot of figure drawing, otherwise, it just takes practice. I
have a few methods of doing this and sometimes i use one...
sometimes more.

1--more dodging and burning! I almost always do some amount of
carving directly on the retouched image by dodging and burning– pure
and simple. 0% hardness brush, still at about 3%. It's a good idea
to do this on a second copy of the retouched layer just in case i get
carried away and something starts to look weird. In case the client
says "woah, too much!"-- it's easy to lightly mask out what's overkill.

2--make 2 curves layers... one curve pulled down, the other pulled
up. I fill both masks black and then paint in areas on the
individual layers that i want to carve down or up (0% hardness on the
brush, 100% opacity, 1% flow). This is method make a low-impact on
your file size, but i dislike it because i have to switch back and
forth between layers.

3--make a new layer, fill with 50% grey and set that layer to
"overlay" and paint black or white (again, 0% hardness on the brush,
100% opacity, 1% flow) to carve down or up. This method sometimes
adds more saturation to the carved shadows than i would prefer.

4--plain old painting white on an empty layer set to "normal"-- 0%
hardness on the brush, 100% opacity, 1% flow, "other dynamics"
selected. I do this to every image i work on.

5--this may possibly be my only "trick." This has to be done as a
final step or it will magnify any so-called-flaws that are white in
nature. Make a new empty layer on top of everything. with pure
white selected as the foreground color in the tool bar go to Select >
Color Range. The whites of the image should already be selected by
default. Move the fuzziness slider so the slightest dusting of
selection will be made (click selection radio vs. image radio), hit
OK. Fill this selection with white. Mask or erase out what is too
much. sometimes i blur this layer a bit.

And that's it.
http://www.fearofbodd.com/ADresserSample_RET.psd
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  #59  
Old 07-29-2006, 02:48 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Simply great Nancy!!! ...

Thank you so much for sharing!!!

Reading Amy Dresser's Tutorial confirms what I've been experiencing and saying .... "each image has a life and a 'mind' of its own ... so there isn't, and probably there never will be, a fool-proof method that works perfectly in every occasion and with every picture ... even if the final aim is the same and the 'problems' appear similar ..." ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy Dresser
My approach is far from beeline, and much more touchy-feely and
gradual.
Far from comparing myself to anyone as talented as Amy, I've also never believed in fast, global, one single layer adjustments ("took me 5 minutes"... and, most of the times, it shows!!!).... I often talk about 'the feeling' I get from each picture I work on and how I approach each restoration individually ... I understand time pressure and deadlines ... but, in my opinion, hurry, fast, quick have rarely been synonymous of quality ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy Dresser
They expect me to say "blippity blap layer at whatever
mode= voilà!" When in reality, i don't have much for short cuts.
The images i work on i purely labor over.
Thanks again for taking the time to ask and posting the result of your query!!!
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  #60  
Old 07-29-2006, 04:18 AM
Angel_Ice Angel_Ice is offline
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Thanks for sharing that! Wow, this is what I call reall speed up. This is the kind of things i like to read for learn. This is 100 times more than a step by step tutorial. It's really great to listen speak someone really great, about his work.

Where to find other articles like that?
Thanks,

Ciao!

Last edited by Angel_Ice; 07-29-2006 at 04:26 AM.
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