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Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lights

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Old 11-15-2009, 11:42 AM
LightFantastic LightFantastic is offline
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Question Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lights

Does anyone know of any tips or advice for making smoother transitions in a retouch on skin between shadows and light?

I'm having quite a bit of trouble with making smooth transitions with brushes (In PS) between shadows and light. My fall off/transition is often abrupt, I've noticed. It gets even more noticeable once I reach the body (in close-ups) I would like to somehow remedy this...this is how I'm working, thus far.

1. I've been using a mouse, though I do have access to a wacom. I'm not sure if this is contributing to this? (I doubt it, I've seen great retouchers who use only a mouse).

2. I usually work with relatively small brushes (this is a problem, I think

3. I usually paint with about 7 to 15 percent opacity and 60 percent flow.

4. I'm usually zoomed in at 100 percent, though I often zoom out to 50 percent because I can often see more flaws that way.


Any advice or tips on how I can make my transitions smoother? I know I must practice, but I've been practicing and doing the same thing over and over again...which is driving me a bit batty.

Any suggestions? I'm attaching a before and after of a retouch I did this weekend to demonstrate what I mean...


BEFORE: http://lookpic.com/i/345/rXoseBXJ.jpeg

INTERMEDIATE STAGE (BEFORE ADDING LIGHT AND SHADOW): http://lookpic.com/i/6/8myJfUR.jpeg

AFTER (AFTER ADDING LIGHT AND SHADOW): http://lookpic.com/i/685/FFNmEeKe.jpeg

Last edited by LightFantastic; 11-15-2009 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 11-15-2009, 02:29 PM
LightFantastic LightFantastic is offline
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Re: Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lig

Anyone?...
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Old 11-15-2009, 02:56 PM
Flashtones Flashtones is offline
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Re: Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lig

You don't say what your brush technique is. Have you tried painting white on a softlight layer with a soft brush?
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Old 11-15-2009, 03:18 PM
edgework edgework is offline
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Re: Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lig

Judicious use of the healing brush with a small radius can be effective. The hype on the tool is that it clones texture patterns into an area while preserving existing color and value, which is all true. But if your sample and target areas span the kind of harsh transition you're talking about, things can get weird. Depending on how large your brush radius is, you will get value bleed from the sample into the target. When I first started using it I thought it was a bug, but now I see it as one of it's most useful features, for just this problem. The amount of value draw depends on the size of the brush, so a bit of trial and error can control the bleed to whatever transition width you need for the image. (Sampling right on the edge will result in no bleed either way, which helps smooth things over after you've worked out the transition range.
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Old 11-15-2009, 03:25 PM
LightFantastic LightFantastic is offline
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Re: Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashtones View Post
You don't say what your brush technique is. Have you tried painting white on a softlight layer with a soft brush?

I use the brush tool on low opacity and flow on an overlay grayscale layer at 50%.

Sometimes, if I go over an area with the brush tool, the area begins to turn "reddish". I don't know why that is, either.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:45 PM
MariusX MariusX is offline
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Re: Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lig

Did you try Gaussian blurring the overlay layer? (not recommended if you have some detail work on it but works ok for me for the broad strokes)

As for the redness, try selecting the overlay strokes by ctrl clicking on the thumbnail and then create hue/sat adjustment layer, and fiddle with global desat or just select reds and desat.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:55 AM
robertmccadden robertmccadden is offline
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Re: Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lig

First off I would reccomend picking up a book on drawing faces; there you will learn about the two types of shadows (form and cast) and how they start and end. After you know how to properly render shadows you can use your favorite dodge and burn technique to make the transitions smoother.

Another technique you could look into using is luminocity masksing.
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:56 PM
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DCobb DCobb is offline
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Re: Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lig

I just got a book on drawing faces. SECRETS TO DRAWING REALISTIC FACES by Carrie Stuart Parks. isbn 1-58180-216-1.
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:18 PM
rsvrdogg86 rsvrdogg86 is offline
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Re: Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lig

I would say that exclusively using a mouse is a very large part of the problem. The question of control of movement as compared to a stylus is almost laughable, and the options of flow and opacity control with a tablet completely dwarf a mouse. I'm not sure where you've seen these great retouchers, but any high end professional will tell you a tablet is the most necessary tool next to Photoshop itself.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:01 PM
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ray12 ray12 is offline
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Re: Smoother Transitions btwn Skin shadows and Lig

You could try diffusing the edges...making them softer, smoother, wider and possibly lighter. For creating smooth transitions between hard areas and softer areas.. I use the gausian blur tool set fairly high. I DO NOT paint the whole face with it... just only at the transition.

Blurring a shadow which has little skin detail in it is no sin and smoothing out the edge so it is softer and feathered will make the edge look softer and less harsh. Just make the gaussian so the blur looks quite soft...then put a mask on that separate layer. Its the mask that controls how much blur is deposited and where, and how strong. So I paint with a soft white low opacity 10% brush over the transition of the hard shadow edge and the skin right next to it. I might delicately soften the brush as it gets into the skin area so it is also nearly invisible.

The combination of the gaussian blur to spread and diffuse the hard shadow edge... and a soft layer mask to intelligently blend and precisely control the artistic application... often will make the shadow seem like it came from a softlight rather than a hard edged light. And it involves only a small amount of skin so your job doesnt look like a blur job.

Ray12
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