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Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

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  #1  
Old 09-24-2007, 08:08 PM
duwayne duwayne is offline
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Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

I have been working to master the dodge & burn technique for retouching skin but just can’t get to where I’m satisfied with the results. This is especially difficult when dealing with “blotchy” skin. I have been working on three images previously posted on this site. I don’t recall who the original poster was but thank a million for the practice material.

I started playing with an alternate approach that would remove the blotches and retain the skin pores. The following URL shows the three images after the retouch.

http://oosterbaan.us/Retouching-skin/

The following are the main step in the process.

Step 1 – Duplicate the background layer and run Filter-> Other-> High-Pass. Watch the preview window until you have a reasonable definition of the shin pores. Click OK and set the blending mode to Linear Light. Turn this layer off (click the little eyeball).

Step 2 – Duplicate the background layer again and run Filter-> Blur-> Gaussian Blur to smooth out the pores and skin defects. I used something around 10. Click OK

Step 3 – On this same layer, run Filter-> Noise-> Median to smooth out the blotchiness. I used something around 40

Step 4 – To this layer, add a Layer Mask Reveal All. (At this point, I turn the High-Pass layer back on go I can view the results). With the layer mask selected, choose an appropriate size brush and black paint to paint over the non-skin areas such as eyes, lips, shadow areas of the nose and anywhere you want to protect. I use brush opacity of about 25%. Note: The High-Pass layer will actually sharpen the image. Set to linear light blending mode gave some unexpected (and pleasant) results in the hair. If you don’t want to change anything except the skin, put a layer mask on the High-Pass layer.

Step 5 – A nice side effect of the process is that you can reduce the intensity of the result by reducing the opacity of both the High-Pass and Blur/Median layers. I think I changed them to around 70%.

I don’t think the results from this approach are in the same class as much of the work the Pro’s on the forum have shown and I wouldn’t send it to a publisher on a magazine. But hey, it only takes two minutes to do.

Comments and critiques welcome on the results and the method. I’m curious to see how the method will work on a larger sample of images. If it not worthwhile, tell me and I’ll go back in my closet and work on something else.
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2007, 10:04 PM
edgework edgework is offline
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Re: Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

Quote:
Originally Posted by duwayne View Post
I have been working to master the dodge & burn technique for retouching skin but just can’t get to where I’m satisfied with the results. This is especially difficult when dealing with “blotchy” skin. I have been working on three images previously posted on this site. I don’t recall who the original poster was but thank a million for the practice material.

I started playing with an alternate approach that would remove the blotches and retain the skin pores. The following URL shows the three images after the retouch...

...Comments and critiques welcome on the results and the method. I’m curious to see how the method will work on a larger sample of images. If it not worthwhile, tell me and I’ll go back in my closet and work on something else.
Dramatic transformation, no doubt about it. The problem with the technique is that it is so obvious that it was used. The skin is smooth and blotch free, but it's not real. It screams "Retoucher was here!" After all, the whole point to retouching is that no one knows you were there.

A couple of suggestions: go ahead and keep practicing the grunt work stuff—healing brush, dodging/burning—as a precursor to any algorithmic smoothing approaches. It will eliminate the need to do everything through the blurring/texture replacement step. For example, despite the profound shifts elsewhere, the middle image still has the obvious hair showing through the shadows.

And check out these two articles:

http://retouchpro.com/tutorials/?m=show&id=147
http://retouchpro.com/tutorials/?m=show&id=149

If you want to do an automated smoothing that yields perfection, one that really lets you hide your tracks, this is the ace of techniques. It's working more or less on the same principle as your approach, but it's far more effective. More complicated, but infinitely flexible. They have the added advantage of having been written by one of the moderators here, byRo, and you will find no better approach, or explanation.

If you want a quick fix, try this shortcut version, which you may have seen referenced as the Degrunge Technique:
http://retouchpro.com/tutorials/?m=show&id=213

These are the preferred methods here, with good reason. They work. But don't try to make them do everything. Judicious application within a fullly realized workflow can produce great results.
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  #3  
Old 09-25-2007, 03:14 AM
duwayne duwayne is offline
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Re: Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

edgework - Thanks for your helpful comments and encouragement. I've always view high-end retouching as an art form and I can't seem to make the transition from technician to artist. I think it's like playing the piano. When your fingers develop a mind of their own and you get the brain out of the loop is when you become a true master.

I have used byRo's degrunge method on many occasions but was unaware of the other two tutorials. I’ll check them out. He does some excellent work.

Most of the work I do is photo restoration and repair. Because of what you are starting with, you never get to the world of perfection the retouches live in. I’ll keep practicing D&B and maybe someday it will “click”. Thanks again.
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Old 09-25-2007, 07:55 AM
edgework edgework is offline
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Re: Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

Quote:
Originally Posted by duwayne View Post
edgework - Thanks for your helpful comments and encouragement. I've always view high-end retouching as an art form and I can't seem to make the transition from technician to artist. I think it's like playing the piano. When your fingers develop a mind of their own and you get the brain out of the loop is when you become a true master.
I resolved the art/craft issue for myself quite some time ago. While I certainly acknowledge that a creative element is involved in any decent retouching job, I've worked with artists, designers, and great photographers. I know what they do, and it's not what I do. And I'm cool with that. For the most part, retouchers are the anonymous mechanics behind the curtain; creative mechanics, to be sure, but mechanics nonetheless. While you have to develop a good eye for detail, this is primarily a learned process, a discipline that, when exercised in the service of artists, becomes part of the creative flow and part of the result. Mostly, it requires patience, the ability to remain in one position for several hours at a time and not go postal or swallow your tongue, and to not go comatose repeating the same task over and over and over and over. It also requires restraint, knowing what not to do, but that, too, is a learned discipline. The most important quality is the wilingness to resist the temptation to tell yourself that you can get away with a sloppy job. Once you start getting ruthless with yourself, the craft follows naturally.
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  #5  
Old 09-27-2007, 10:05 AM
aaRonology101 aaRonology101 is offline
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Re: Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

looks like an orange peel more than it does skin ..
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  #6  
Old 09-27-2007, 02:16 PM
Oh_Heck Oh_Heck is offline
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Re: Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

Duwayne, have a look at this tutorial as well. Never hurts to have a multitude of approaches for a single problem. I personally like the control you have over different elements with this process.

http://www.photoshopsupport.com/phot...is_202-215.pdf
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  #7  
Old 09-27-2007, 04:55 PM
duwayne duwayne is offline
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Re: Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

Thanks for the link. I briefly looked through the tutorial and it look like it has possibilities. I'll try to get through it this weekend. Thanks again.
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  #8  
Old 09-30-2007, 12:44 PM
aquariusbg011 aquariusbg011 is offline
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Re: Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

Very useful tutorial.
Thanx
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  #9  
Old 02-17-2009, 11:42 PM
Quantum3Studio Quantum3Studio is offline
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Re: Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

I was searching "Degrunge", or something like that. Seems it's very popular, since lot of people talks about that technique here, so I decided to google it and see what's about. I found a blog of a guy which explains this technique here: http://zumbariretouching.blogspot.co...kin-fixer.html

However, using "apply image" doesn't allow smart objects, so all the steps are straight. Wondering how to get something editable, I get this:

1) Duplicate the background.
2) Conver the duplicate to smart object.
3) Apply HighPass (choose the radius you like, it's an smart object and it can be tweaked later)
4) Set the layer to Linear Light
5) Apply 50% of fill (below opacity).
6) Apply a Gaussian Blur (radius again, editable).
7) Add a mask and brush out what's not skin.

The image was a portrait of a 24.4mp camera.

I forgot that the HighPass should be inverted Wondering how... I set its blend to exclusion, it gives an interesting approach... Yeap! High Pass blend should be Exclusion and a radius of 25 and the Gaussian Blur set to 8 px. Then you can apply for the quick airbrushin... I guess...

Because I'm just experimenting another way get the same result (and making it editable) this is just an approach to the technique called "Degrunge". It also looks like I'm doing the same but up side down. I don't know if, in the smart objects stack the blur should be over the high pass filter or viceversa, don't know if there is a real change in the mix as I also don't know if setting the highpass only, to linear light will make another difference, but you will get something a bit new to play around

Okay, I'm playing with this and I like this quick "Airbrushing" effect. You can duplicate the Smart object and set the parameters as iundicated below to give a softer contrast to the image:

In the Smart Filter Stack put High Pass over the Gaussian Blur and set both filters to 40.

Last edited by Quantum3Studio; 02-18-2009 at 12:36 AM.
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  #10  
Old 02-24-2009, 09:39 PM
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SteveB2005 SteveB2005 is offline
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Re: Yet Another Skin Retouch Method

This workflow you have tried is ok, I am going to try it out and see what I come up with. I have been looking for various techniques and tutorials to smooth skin on high rez fashion images and the more techniques learned and perfected, there is probably a use for it somewhere.

Skin smoothing is getting to be a very talked about and priority subject here on the forum and many of us have struggled trying to learn and use D&B at a pro level of retouching. But I think your approach is valid.

Steve
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