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How to retouch "grey areas" in a portrait?

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  #1  
Old 11-26-2008, 03:26 PM
TLphoto TLphoto is offline
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How to retouch "grey areas" in a portrait?

Hi!

I sometimes come across portraits, that have slight shadows in parts of the face that look like grey stains. And i have always problems retouching those because I don't know how to make them look better.

Can you give me an advise on how to deal with those?

I have to two examples included. I am referring to the area next to her mouth.

www.timolebe.com/extern/_MG_6739_20081122.jpg
www.timolebe.com/extern/_MG_6747_20081122.jpg

Any help is very much appreciated!!

Thank you very much!
Timo
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2008, 07:06 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: How to retouch "grey areas" in a portrait?

Those areas seem unusual to me. However, my first thought is to roughly lasso that area, copy to a new layer, then sample and paint over in color blend mode. You could try many methods on that layer, just depending on the tonality of the problem area, i.e. curves, Hue/Sat, etc. Any part of that layer you don't want to show, just erase out.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:31 PM
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ray12 ray12 is offline
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Re: How to retouch "grey areas" in a portrait?

There is a non destructive way to do it that will save the skin details intact.

You use a layer pallet adjustment layer above the image...curves or level adjustment. The brightness or color that they add to the layer below does not destroy any underlying skin texture pixels...these adjustments are transparent. When you add a curves adjustment layer you will be pushing the curve upwards in the middle or with levels you will pull the center gamma slider to the left ...that will visibly lighten your dark skin area...keep lightening it till you have more than you really need.

Each adjustment layer comes with a white layer mask already attached to it. Do a control or command I (invert) on that mask to make it become black...and all your previous adjustments will be blocked by the blackness of the mask. Now, with a very very soft, very low opacity(15% or less) white brush...paint on the picture with the mask selected... and watch...your dark areas will become lighter and lighter where you paint...and since it is transparent...all the skin details underneath will be preserved. If you want to get especially fancy you can do a custom color made from curves that matches the skin tones you like...then paint with that...now you have a lightened area that matches the surrounding skin tones and all the texture under that correction is still preserved.

Do a separate curves or levels adjustment layer for each area to be corrected if there are different kinds of color contaminants that must be dealt with.

In your image here, once you got the offending gray out...and could then see underneath the shadow...then you were left with some previously unseen and hidden "side-lit facial defects" (a vertical wrinkle and several dark hairs) which would then have to be taken out by some kind of a dodge technique to get their yet darker aspects to come up to the surrounding lighter skin tone values. This image may require several layers... and then a skin smooth and a texture replace to look really nice. Its a somewhat testy image.

Ray12

Last edited by ray12; 11-26-2008 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:52 PM
neumanns neumanns is offline
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Re: How to retouch "grey areas" in a portrait?

You can address the problem or you can address the cause...It looks to me like it is an induced problem from a curves inversion somewhere.

Is it there in the original...If not go back and turn off any curves layers one by one to isolate the problem.

I'm curious if my hunch is correct. please report back with your findings.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:00 PM
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Re: How to retouch "grey areas" in a portrait?

depending on the intensity of the shadow, you can sample the skin color from a 'good' area, create a "color" layer, and paint the sampled skin color over the area of the greyness.
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Old 11-29-2008, 01:28 PM
TLphoto TLphoto is offline
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Re: How to retouch "grey areas" in a portrait?

Thank you very much for your input...

@ray12: I will try that. I am always using a db layer with soft light but this - of course - does not bring back the color...

@ambernoon: I tried that already but it did not bring very good results. Thanks for your suggestion though!

@neumann: This is directly from the raw converter without any adjustments. So, unfortunately, your hunch is not correct

I will post the corrected image when I am done with it. Any other suggestions are very welcome...
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Old 11-29-2008, 02:26 PM
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Re: How to retouch "grey areas" in a portrait?

You could try D&B with curves adjustments taking "sample of the skin color from a 'good' area (ambermoon)"
Attached Images
File Type: gif _MG_6739_20081122_chill.gif (81.5 KB, 39 views)
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  #8  
Old 11-29-2008, 02:52 PM
neumanns neumanns is offline
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Re: How to retouch "grey areas" in a portrait?

On second look you didn't invert a curve you clipped the blue channel...Either via curves adjustment before raw conversion or on capture. Either way the blue channel clipped and that's what's causing it.

The easiest fix is avoiding it in the first place. Be sure to chimp the histogram when shooting to avoid problems in PP. The data is gone, but since you shot in raw you may be able to recover some of it.
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Old 11-29-2008, 03:20 PM
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stopa stopa is offline
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Re: How to retouch "grey areas" in a portrait?

few clues:
- try saturation blend mode.
- on overlay/soft or hard light layers you can use not only BLACK and WHITE brush, but also COLOR ones.
- in 90% of working time I use CURVES - so if this work was mine, I probably use lasso tool and some CURVES correction.
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