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Madame Tussauds?

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  #1  
Old 04-09-2010, 07:30 AM
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TriniK TriniK is offline
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Thumbs down Madame Tussauds?

I received a photo of my niece taken on a holiday in Barbados last week. Thought it was good material for a retouch exercise and did one. Her mother wrote me back and said that she looked as though she belonged in Madame Tussauds! Well I never!!!

Seriously though - is it that bad? Where did I go wrong then. Live and learn and all criticisms more than welcome.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:17 AM
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Re: Madame Tussauds?

The image is quite too small to really tell, what went wrong.
But even in this small resolution I can see that her face lost definition (I'm assuming the left one is the after?) and looks a little blurred.
Search for the dodge & burn technique or at least degrunge (that'll make the blur less obvious as it protects pores) and try to keep it as natural, as ever possible.
Remember, you're doing a character retouching, not a beauty one!
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:29 AM
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Re: Madame Tussauds?

Actually is was supposed to be a beauty retouch, but I definitely understand what you mean. Will have another go at it. A larger version of the image is in the Members Gallery.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:52 AM
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Re: Madame Tussauds?

Although I had probably done a lot more for a beauty image, I think I can see, what she meant with the puppet face.
You see, the problem is, that her face lost a lot of its original definition, making it look quite flat.
What you could do is either use dodge & burn to sculpt the face or have a look at the "Highpass sucks" thread over at ModelMayhem and use a large separation radius to blend in the overall shape of the original image (easier: take the original image, use "Filter"-"Other"-"Highpass" with a radius that gives you nice facial detail, e.g. 21, use the "Filter"-"Blur"-"Gaussian Blur" with a third of the highpass' radius, copy this layer over your retouch and set its mode to "Overlay" or "Soft Light").

That should give you some more definition and hopefully look better to her.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:11 AM
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Re: Madame Tussauds?

OMG - I am thinking maybe I should stick to making cupcakes or something, but no... that would be just being a chicken. I will succeed! I will strive for perfection! I will shut up now. )
Thanks - lots to think about and techniques to try. TGIF
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:25 PM
voodooscuba voodooscuba is offline
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Re: Madame Tussauds?

TriniK,

You know what else? I think there is a huge difference in trying to do a retouch where you have been given an image with adequate lighting, multiple poses, professional make-up and everything else and a snapshot in the kitchen, you know?

So I say, for practice with a non-professional camera, setting or lighting scheme you did great!

I think you'll also find that you can be more subtle, yet also more thorough, in your touchups when the source image is more detailed.
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:04 PM
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Re: Madame Tussauds?

You are now my best friend forever! Yes it was just a picture taken by her mom who thinks that resolution is something you make on Ole Year's night aka New Year's Eve (Well...yes it is..but)
Still - a challenge, but I will get better and the critiques are all useful. I did try that degrunge tutorial on the website though by "byRo" but it did not work for me. I am like a pitbull with these things however, and won't let go until I get it.
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:00 AM
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Re: Madame Tussauds?

TriniK, Welcome to RetouchPRO Hope you have enjoyed your stay here and made lots of friends. Keep poking around, asking questions, and have fun!

I don't think you did a bad job at all... All I can see from the small thumbnail is... you smoothed the skin a little and brightened the teeth and eyes some. She is a very pretty girl and I agree with you... she is a good candidate for a beauty retouch.. would like to see a higher resolution so we could give it a go and maybe offer a better critique and more constructive suggestions.

Maybe your sister isn't used to seeing smooth skin and/or might have been offended that you thought her lil baby needed "Fixing". I have done pictures of my Grandchildren that I was very proud of and invariably they will pick them to death "that ain't real" "what happened to my hair" "my lips look weird" and on and on.. they now just look for anything that I might have changed whether I did or not.. I have learned to only retouch pictures when asked to do so.. I now get my practice pictures here at RetouchPRO.

When making any kind of corrections, start out with a very light hand... you can build the repairs/corrections gradually until it looks nice to you then proceed to work on it until you can say "wow, that's looking GREAT!" but always keep in mind that satisfying your taste isn't really what matters. You are dealing with people.... and there are certain people in the world who can never be satisfied with anything, no matter how good a job you do, especially if it is unsolicited and they have not sought you out. Getting an image to look like what other people would envision as being better without their directions and/or thoughts is an immense challenge and you may not get it right the first time or sometimes, maybe never get it.

Keep up the good work and remember we are her to help.

Larger posted pictures and links to higher resolution photos will certainly help us evaluate your work and techniques.

If you use Photoshop you can post fairly large pictures which are under 100k using the 'save for web' function in Photoshop as described here: Size, Quality and/or Format your Attached Images.. (Click here)

If you want to post a larger resolution that is over 100K then you can host your image elsewhere and attach a link in the thread, but also always please attach an under 100K version (so the thread remains useful in the future, regardless of external links).

Other Hosts if you do not have your own site: ImageVenue.com (3Meg max, free) pixentral.com (2Meg max, free) photobucket.com (1 Meg max free, 5 Meg PRO) mediafire.com (100 Meg per file, free) post a link in the thread to the site that is hosting the larger image.

Practice Cubed

We are looking forward to more of your work
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:36 AM
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Re: Madame Tussauds?

Thank you, and you are so correct in that as anything art related it is always a matter of perception. I have actually been using Photoshop for the past thirteen years on a daily basis, and primarily what I do is conceptual art for event designers. You know - they send me a basic hand drawn sketch (or not...) and I prepare an image for the client based on their thoughts. Clean up or convert images in Illustrator which they want to use and are unacceptable by the printer,and which is why I do not miss a Steve Caplin webinar. Aside from their being the most entertaining and riveting of all of course . Design posters, Powerpoint backgrounds, invitations, and on and on, but no retouching thus far.

Never had much call for facial retouching, but just thought it would be a nice new skill to add to my repertoire. Finding the time to post a lot is difficult as life is so busy. There is actually a larger image in the member gallery, along with "something else" which is really my first love and choice when just playing in Photoshop. Can't WAIT for Monday and the CS5 launch!! Christmas and all hols rolled into one!!

There are times I must confess when I look at even professionally retouched images though and wonder why they have removed the character and uniqueness from the person's face. It is like taking one of those Nat. Geo shots of a wizened old face in Mongolia, full of years of life and experience and giving it virtual Botox.

The problem with GiGi (the girl in the image) as well, was that as mentioned she had just spent a week in Barbados. My favourite island, but the sun is brutal, and her face was peeling and all shades of the sun burnt spectrum.

I enjoyed reading your reply, and I think you are a wonderful critic and I shall be looking out for more of the same from you when I do manage to give it another shot.
Beautiful weekend here where I am in Miami, and hope that yours is the same.
TTFN
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:28 AM
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Re: Madame Tussauds?

You cannot expect to achieve a glamor portrait from a grainy, noisy snapshot. The only thing saving the shot is your niece's beauty.

I think it's enough of a challenge to repair the problems in the photograph. The shot is underexposed. The saturation is a little overcooked. The snap is taken with a wide-angle lens from the next passenger seat, making her face too wide and cheeky. Lastly, there are distracting elements in the background.

Because of the noise in the photograph, any smoothing will not look natural. I tried to add noise to the cloned background, but the results are not very satisfactory.
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