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

writers... er.. retouchers block?

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  #1  
Old 02-23-2008, 02:43 PM
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namphoto namphoto is offline
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writers... er.. retouchers block?

Lately Ive been really struggling to keep a constant style, and some may say thats good youre changing it up, but I cant seem to get the old style of work that I used to. Just take a look at this photo and tell me what I can do to improve the photo, because right now I cant seem to find the right way. I feel so unworthyyyyy!

post:
http://flickr.com/photos/21484632@N0...49920/sizes/l/

original: http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/3...43fdsafbb3.jpg
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Old 02-23-2008, 04:50 PM
edgework edgework is offline
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Re: writers... er.. retouchers block?

Quote:
Originally Posted by namphoto View Post
Lately Ive been really struggling to keep a constant style, and some may say thats good youre changing it up, but I cant seem to get the old style of work that I used to. Just take a look at this photo and tell me what I can do to improve the photo, because right now I cant seem to find the right way. I feel so unworthyyyyy!
And the problem is...?

Look, as a retoucher, you're not supposed to have a style, unless you're Amy Dresser. You're supposed to mesh with the folks whose styles are their meal tickets, the photgraphers and art directors who need you to produce a result, to spec, without your ego or personal style getting in the way. It's a tricky balance.

As for the posted shot, quite a few who post here would be glad to have problems like that.
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Old 02-25-2008, 01:37 PM
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kona kona is offline
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Re: writers... er.. retouchers block?

All I can say is that looks great, I'd love to hear some of the steps you went through to achieve that look, I really like it!
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Old 02-25-2008, 03:54 PM
smak smak is offline
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Re: writers... er.. retouchers block?

>>>>>> I feel so unworthyyyyy!

Well, you should young man! That image is just awful.

By the way, what do you do to your images in Photoshop?
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:50 PM
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namphoto namphoto is offline
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Re: writers... er.. retouchers block?

i love everyone here.

im still promising a FULL tut on what I do.

but I changed it a bit on this photo.
Raw conversion, for warmer colors, sharper, and bring back some shadow detail.
Then I create three exposure, -1.5, 0, 1.5 and stack the images into three layers on one image from darkest to lightest.
After that, ill create a new layer to paint out and/or softlight the skin to smoothen? idk the skin.
then ill create layer masks and the two darkest layer and hide everything. then slowly with a light brush reveal where i want it lighter, kind of like the curves method but the colors wont saturate when i make them darker or lighter or become to contrasty. after that ill ususally use another soft light layer to get in some details like the eyes lips, etc.
then ill put over the image a shadows and highlight to boost the shadows alittle, depening on the photo.
after all that, just some curves adjustments, saturation, and a gradient overlay.

understanding?
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:15 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: writers... er.. retouchers block?

makes sense, but a sample psd file would be even better...
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Old 02-26-2008, 07:55 AM
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kona kona is offline
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Re: writers... er.. retouchers block?

a psd would be awesome to see to really see what you did on the layers.
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  #8  
Old 02-26-2008, 08:40 PM
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namphoto namphoto is offline
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Re: writers... er.. retouchers block?

here's my magicians secret. all for you.

okay to explain it all now.

raw conversion is the best thing created to retoucher and photographer, i do alot of stuff in conversion before anything, sharpen, color corrections, tonality -shadows and highlights-, and some other stuff but make it look good in raw conversion before you start!
the bottom three layers, 'over' 'regular' and 'under' are three different exposures of the same photo made through raw conversion, about 1.5 step above and below. and on these layers ill make layer masks to mask away the darkness and allow lighter areas to show through, like the curves dodge and burn method, but this gives me better highlights and shadow detail. imo. next is the color layer which is just a layer set to color mode and then id color the faces a more brownish tone because some people are just tooo pale and too red. next is over copy! which is just a copy of the first three layers merged, and ill duplicate that layer, set it to softlight and use shadows and highlights to bring out the shadows and highlights, and set the opacity to wherever you feel like. next we have a hue and sat adjust layer, just for a little less saturation because because the next layer is a gradient map adjust layer set to softlight and the gradient map is a five or six color gradient ususally in the brown yellow range and by soft lighting it i can really get a golden brown tone to my photos and because its been desaturated the colors dont get too saturated or idk, it looks bad. the opacity on this layer is set a little lower also. next is a curves layer just to lighten the bottom half of the image. next is our favorite, the 50% softlight layer. using that to show some highlights and shadows. next we have have 'layer 2' i dont know what is on that layer but i was to skeptical to delete it.. so dotn ask me about it hahah. finally is one more hue and sat layer to desaturate again.

im very bad at explaing so ask questions for sure. but remember that this isnt a guide to follow, its just one way i thought of doing this image, but you wanted it, you got it.
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  #9  
Old 02-27-2008, 02:22 AM
subxaero subxaero is offline
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Re: writers... er.. retouchers block?

n1 - can you just go a bit deeper in your gradient-map-hack, please? eg what gradient it is actually cheers
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