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Better D&B using curves (need advice)

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  #1  
Old 06-23-2011, 09:48 AM
drode drode is offline
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Better D&B using curves (need advice)

I currently D&B using a 50% gray layer set to soft light. It works but I have some issues that I'm not sure how to address and I could really use some advice.

First is the edges between lighter and darker areas. Be it small scale changes like darkening the light side and lightening the dark side of a blemish or wrinkle or something larger scale like toning/contouring, I really have trouble getting the edges to blend. Removing a shadow or highlight, for example, I can never seem to get a smooth soft transition edge.

Secondly (and maybe related), I'd like to be able to better target light, medium and dark areas. The idea is to restrict the dodging or burning to certain levels of luminance as well as a more global adjustment. I don't have any problem using multiple layers for this. Somewhat like the way the dodge and burn tool works.

Lastly (and again probably related), I've not had any success using curves adjustment layers for D&B. The result always seems to look awful. I could really use some tips on how to pull up or pull down the curve when making a D&B curves adj layer. What should I be looking for to confirm I'm brightening/darkening the right tones by the right amount?

I'm not really looking for an easier or faster way to do D&B. I'm trying to figure out how be better in general and use more flexible techniques.

Thanks in advance

-D
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:35 AM
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Pari Retouch Pari Retouch is offline
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Re: Better D&B using curves (need advice)

You can give this a try, I personally liked this technique very much and now I use it in all my retouches, in this post MP Retouch have explained this technique of d&b very nicely.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?th...1#post15519853


Hope this helps
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:42 AM
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Boneappetit Boneappetit is offline
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Re: Better D&B using curves (need advice)

Hi drode:

Both techniques work fine, depending on the image. Using curves gives you more flexibility, it is a longer process thou...-(Here you can use an action). Using 50% gray layer set to soft light is a faster way to do it. Perhaps what you need to do is the "spatial frequency separation" process (clean the skin) before you get into the D&B, it will help you to apply D&B later, because you will not need large amount of dodging and burning while keeping the texture intact.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:32 AM
drode drode is offline
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Re: Better D&B using curves (need advice)

I followed the link and that particular thread appears to be about frequency separation. I use FS on all my retouches but I also use D&B.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pari Retouch View Post
You can give this a try, I personally liked this technique very much and now I use it in all my retouches, in this post MP Retouch have explained this technique of d&b very nicely.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?th...1#post15519853


Hope this helps
UPDATE: I've read that thread a couple of times now. Despite the fact that it's not specifically about D&B, there is a lot of good information there. Every time I use or read about FS, I pick up some new way of using it. It's not so much a technique as a tool with multiple uses

Last edited by drode; 06-23-2011 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:35 AM
drode drode is offline
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Re: Better D&B using curves (need advice)

Thanks. This is what I do currently. I almost always work on cleaning up the skin first and then move on to D&B. The D&B works but, as I mentioned, I have some issues with the transitions and I think curves (done properly) would give me more control and flexibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boneappetit View Post
Hi drode:
Perhaps what you need to do is the "spatial frequency separation" process (clean the skin) before you get into the D&B, it will help you to apply D&B later, because you will not need large amount of dodging and burning while keeping the texture intact.
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Old 06-23-2011, 12:09 PM
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Re: Better D&B using curves (need advice)

Quote:
Originally Posted by drode View Post
Thanks. This is what I do currently. I almost always work on cleaning up the skin first and then move on to D&B. The D&B works but, as I mentioned, I have some issues with the transitions and I think curves (done properly) would give me more control and flexibility.

Yes, I currently use the 50% gray layer in soft light mode, but maybe you are having the same problem that I have.. I don't know about Highlights and Shadows or drawings since I'm not a graphic artist... I guess I'm doing a little bit better now, after a year or so and lots and lots of practice... Before going into the D & B thing, I just study the image and try to figure where does it need D or B in a very natural way. Creating 2 eye help layers, also helps a lot... One dark curve layer, and a white solid color layer in color mode... These 2 layers are only for help purpose, when I'm done with the D&B i delete them. Then I re-do the spatial freq. separation, and clip a Brightness and Contrast to the HF layer in order to get a nice sharp effect.

Last edited by Boneappetit; 06-27-2011 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 06-23-2011, 01:09 PM
madclark madclark is offline
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Re: Better D&B using curves (need advice)

1. For soft edges I have a couple of suggestions. First make sure you're using a soft brush. Second, make sure you flow is set very low, like 1-3%. Third, if you're not using a tablet, get one. Even the cheapest is better than trying to use a mouse.

2. I think you'll give yourself more headache from trying to target levels like you suggest. You would have to set up a very complicated work flow and I don't think you'd really be that happy. You're better off getting an automated system like Portrait Professional.

3. I still think you're looking for something a little more automated than D&B retouching is intended. You should set the levels and then blend in the retouch. It's going to be very difficult to target certain levels. You should set the levels to below where you'll need to blend down to. You may be able to use a color selection to help find this point, but the work is still in the D&B, not a magical levels setting.

Wish I could help more but D&B retouching is more an art than a science and truly requires the necessary time to develop the technique and apply it well.
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:34 PM
eraanexact eraanexact is offline
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Re: Better D&B using curves (need advice)

This might come across as sacrilege, but I do my dodging and burning with the actual dodge and burn tools right on the layer.

I know, that's considered destructive retouching. Here's how to get around that:

My files always have the base layer that is completely unretouched. I copy that up and do any liquifying/shaping. Then I copy up the liquified/shaped layer, and this is the layer that gets all the cloning and dodge and burn. So if I ever go too far, I have the layer beneath it to fall back on. All my color curves go on top of these three layers as adjustment layers. Very simple.

For me personally, I have the dodge tool set to midtones, the brush is pressure sensitive, and the exposure is set to 7%. Same with the burn tool, except that my exposure there is set to 3%.

Doing d&b right on the layer gives me more flexibility with how light or dark I need to go without having to add extra d&b curves. And when I get weird color casts from dodging (usually goes kinda blueish grey), I put my clone stamp on "color" mode, reduce my brush opacity, and lightly clone the appropriate color back into the affected area.
I'm not the only professional doing it like this, either.
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Old 06-26-2011, 09:54 AM
onceinarow onceinarow is offline
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Re: Better D&B using curves (need advice)

eraanexact:
you can use the dodge/burn tools the same way on the usual grey filled layer with softlight blend mode and it becomes non destructive plus u can see what u have done a lot easier.
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Old 06-26-2011, 02:15 PM
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amica999 amica999 is offline
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Re: Better D&B using curves (need advice)

Have a look here: http://nataliataffarel.tumblr.com/po...rted-high-pass - just don't use it all over the face :-)

Oh and one more: have a look at Jonas' supporting layers. I use them all the time :-)

https://www.youtube.com/user/jonaswt.../6/voZOc_Spx64

There are 2 parts!!

Last edited by amica999; 06-26-2011 at 03:03 PM. Reason: added text
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