Re: How to acheive this look
from a previous discussion:
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...
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.
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