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Trying to learn to balance skin tones

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Old 10-28-2007, 07:14 PM
surfingcali surfingcali is offline
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Wink Trying to learn to balance skin tones


My first post here and just trying to learn a little more about retouching myself. I know how to make things look plastic and blurred, not too hard to accomplish, but I am trying to learn how to keep things look more realistic, even with images just for web use.

Anyway.. I took this image:

well it is a crop of the original and I am stuck trying to figure out how to blend the tones of her skin to make it even without looking too fake? Although this was shot during bright sun and I know it had a lot to do with the image looking this way I notice this problem once in a while with models I shoot outside so it would be cool to learn how to deal with the issue.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated and you are more than welcome to copy and re-paste any examples if you have a solution!

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Old 10-29-2007, 01:45 PM
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DCobb DCobb is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Posts: 557
Re: Trying to learn to balance skin tones

I am neither a professional retoucher nor photographer, so I may not fully understand what look you want. My efforts below.

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Old 10-29-2007, 03:11 PM
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JayNads JayNads is offline
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Location: Wading River, New York
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Re: Trying to learn to balance skin tones

The best way I know of to fix blotchy skin in without introducing any blur techniques is to create two curves adjustment layers, one with the curve pulled down, the other up. Invert the mask to hide them, and with a brush set to 100% opacity and 5% flow, slowly paint the skin tones darker or lighter to even them out. I prefer low flow to low opacity because the flow allows you to build density merely by how slowly you paint. You may find that setting the blending mode to luminosity helps, but not always.

Another method involves creating a neutral-grey overlay layer (soft-light works well, too), and then painting with white and black with the same settings as above - they're "essentially" the same technique . . . it's arguable which one gives you more control, but they are each difficult to master and tedious to do.

Good luck!
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Old 10-30-2007, 07:48 AM
thumbslinger thumbslinger is offline
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Re: Trying to learn to balance skin tones

The ole standard numbers still work as well:
Magenta and Yellow should be within 3/5 points of each other and Cyan 1/3 of Magenta.

That's for the average caucasion. Slight adjustments to those numbers are obviously needed for different ethnic regions but they're a good starting place.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:29 AM
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chillin chillin is offline
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Re: Trying to learn to balance skin tones

I did different selections by color range with low fuzziness, converted them to masks & applied HSL or color balance. With high pass filter, I brought back some of the original texture. I also have used a dodge tool to get rid of some stubborn pixels… and I used some standard adjustments like curves, levels etc.
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