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

Did I embalm or improve this person?

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  #1  
Old 08-26-2009, 10:23 PM
Tom_M Tom_M is offline
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Did I embalm or improve this person?

Background: This image is an intentionally silly grab shot I took of a good friend of the family while at a miniature golf course on vacation (ie, on-camera flash & similar limitations).

Our friend is sitting on the knee of a life-sized wooden statue of a pirate, acting like she is flirting with him :-) . The retouched version (along with other images) may be given to her as a gag gift.

Given that this most definitely was not a professional shoot with a 20-something thin-as-a-rail model, do you think I took too many years / pounds off, or did I embalm her (as my wife claims ;-) )? Have I exceeded the bounds of propriety in liquifying her features, smoothing her skin, etc? Should I have stuck to just removing the hotspots caused by the on-camera flash?

Would your answers to the above questions be different if the image wasn't going to be used as a gag gift, but the subject was still a a friend of the family, not a professional model?

TIA,

:-)

Tom
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:25 PM
Tom_M Tom_M is offline
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Re: Did I emblam or improve this person?

whoops ... attachement didn't make it.
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File Type: jpg 4.jpg (91.2 KB, 128 views)
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:35 AM
Tom_M Tom_M is offline
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Re: Did I embalm or improve this person?

... and here are the frames from which the previous crops were taken
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:05 PM
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snook305 snook305 is offline
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Re: Did I embalm or improve this person?

You certainly over sharpened that is for sure...
Snook
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:33 PM
stereokatt stereokatt is offline
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Re: Did I embalm or improve this person?

How far you take it depends on what your final objective is. It looks like you've moved in the edges of the entire image, which affects everything in the image. Just tweaking the figure a bit is all it needs. Here's your original and a slightly tweaked version, with very localized use of liquify, plus a little cloning. Not huge changes but they do make a difference. Of course if you wanted something more extreme the sky's the limit.
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:23 PM
htown htown is offline
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Re: Did I embalm or improve this person?

The image is highly pixelized but I gave it a shot. Just removed some shadows and a little tiny bit of liquefy.
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:23 PM
Tom_M Tom_M is offline
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Re: Did I embalm or improve this person?

Quote:
Originally Posted by snook305 View Post
You certainly over sharpened that is for sure...
Snook
Good eye! When I first read your comment, I thought, "no way" because I didn't remember doing any sharpening whatsoever in PS. I checked my psd file, and indeed, I had not sharpened it at all.

Then I looked at the original in-camera sharpening setting. It was set to max. That setting carried through when I ingested the NEF file in NX2, and since this was just a silly little fun project, I never noticed it. Fortunately, it's not yet at the level of blinding white halos around every high contrast edge ;-) (see attached).

Thanks,

Tom
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:37 PM
Tom_M Tom_M is offline
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Re: Did I embalm or improve this person?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stereokatt View Post
...It looks like you've moved in the edges of the entire image, which affects everything in the image...
Very close. To keep the proportions of the statue correct, but try to take a few pounds off our friend, I selected only the right half (approx) of the image and then squished that part a bit horizontally.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stereokatt View Post
...Just tweaking the figure a bit is all it needs. Here's your original and a slightly tweaked version, with very localized use of liquify, plus a little cloning. Not huge changes but they do make a difference. Of course if you wanted something more extreme the sky's the limit.
It looks like your major concern was the dark circles and the jowls, and I love the job you did on them, but you left the hot spots and pale areas alone. I'm curious why because these were the problems that were highest on my list, but my repair of this is probably exactly what triggered my wife's "embalming" comment. Do you tend to leave traces of hot spots (from oily areas of skin) as a visual cue that the skin is not plastic?

Cheers,

Tom
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:46 PM
Tom_M Tom_M is offline
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Re: Did I embalm or improve this person?

Quote:
Originally Posted by htown View Post
The image is highly pixelized but I gave it a shot. Just removed some shadows and a little tiny bit of liquefy.
Sorry about the low quality of the image. I did the usual dance between number of pixels and jpg quality, and with a 100k posting limit, the image didn't fare too well. Thanks for giving it a shot.

I really like your version of her face ... probably the best yet. You got rid of some of the blemishes and hot spots, but you didn't make her skin look plastic. I guess that the take-home message is that even for a gag photo, it's easy to be way too heavy handed.

If I may ask, how exactly did you remove the hot spots on her nose, between her nose and her lips, etc?

Cheers,

Tom
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2009, 11:34 PM
stereokatt stereokatt is offline
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Re: Did I embalm or improve this person?

Quote:
...you left the hot spots and pale areas alone. I'm curious why...
That's why I began my comments with "How far you take it depends on what your final objective is." There's no "right" or "wrong", it's all up to personal preference and how you want the final image to look. In the case of this photo, possibly why your wife made the "embalmed" comment was because you almost totally removed the highlights (hot spots), which flattens the face and makes it look like it's a person wearing too much makeup. Reducing the highlights is a good idea, eliminating them I feel goes a bit too far. A bit of highlight left will leave some dimension to the face. Here's another version with the highlights reduced but still there, slightly.
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