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Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photoshop

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  #1  
Old 07-29-2011, 01:22 PM
santoro80 santoro80 is offline
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Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photoshop

What are the best ways for color correcting skin tones and setting white balance in Photoshop. I don't mean by the eye.
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Old 07-29-2011, 02:31 PM
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Re: Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photosho

Curves, levels, selective color, channel mixer, ...... and the list goes on. The most efficient method depends on what the source lookslike and the amount of correction required. It is helpful to establish some reference points using numerical values because even if you eyes are tricked and your display is out of calibration, the numbers never lie.
I use LAB color for many of my reference points. That does not mean you need to convert the image to LAB mode. Just set one of the alternate eyedropper views in the Navigation panel to LAB for viewing only.
Reagrds, Murray
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Old 07-29-2011, 02:50 PM
santoro80 santoro80 is offline
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Re: Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photosho

What are the numerical values?
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:46 PM
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Re: Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photosho

There is no one set of numbers suitable for everyone. It partly depends on your working color space and to what type of printer your output is intended for. For example the darkest black that can be acceptably printed for you might be 10/10/10 (in RGB) for me it might be 15/15/15. Similarly for white it might be 245/245/245. You need to create your own reference points. One thing that may be helpful to you would be to download some color and B&W printer calibration / test images of which the are many around. Regards, Murray
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:16 PM
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Re: Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photosho

A nice and easy way to correct skin tones... http://www.smugmug.com/help/skin-tone
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Old 07-30-2011, 12:39 AM
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Re: Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photosho

Unless your using a graycard or have something you know is suppose to be neutral in the image then regardless of the tool you use (curves, color balance, levels) the adjustment has to be by eye. As other have pointed out you can do it "By The Numbers" but it's no guarantee. It can be a really good method but it will often still require additional adjustment, which is often the case with any automated or formulaic method in Photoshop.

I've attached a jpg version of the "By The Numbers" approach for you.

So learn the "by the numbers" approach and then learn how to fine tune with cures or color balance. But nothing will replace knowing how to do it by hand with appropriate tools like curves, it's knowledge that applies to all areas of color correcting and editing images.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg skintone-guide.jpg (97.7 KB, 339 views)
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:31 PM
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Re: Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photosho

Lots of good pointers on adjusting skin tone. Here is another link to a recent thread on the same topic. One of the included links shows how to adjust skin tone with a single curves adjustment layer within RGB mode. They use the "Targeted Adjustment Tool" (the finger) available within the Curves Adjustment Layer dialog for accurate adjustments. I have used that approach and have been quite pleased with the results. In all cases to do this by the numbers you need to know the targeted CMYK or RGB numbers referenced in previous posts.

http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/pho...ect-photo.html
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:02 AM
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andrewrodney andrewrodney is offline
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Re: Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photosho

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boneappetit View Post
A nice and easy way to correct skin tones... http://www.smugmug.com/help/skin-tone
No where in the piece do they tell the reader what CMYK recipe is being used for the values which is pretty inexcusable considering every CMYK process is different (and the same process with differing UCR/GCR will greatly affect the values). Use Lab! Its totally non ambiguous in terms of the values, everywhere. You only need to really deal two values (aStar and bStar). This old “use CMYK values” is an old and not especially useful technique considering the CMYK color model and the fact that Lab is device independent.

Generally speaking, when a and bStar values are positive and close in value, you’re in good shape. Using the Roman 16 reference files, there are a number of differing kinds of skin tone provided. Values are aprox 15-25 overall values plus or minus only 4-6 values for both aStar and bStar in either channel. Just find good reference images (or images you have that you know output correctly) set the eyedropper sampling appropriately (not point) and get a feeling for where the aStar and bStar values fall.

That said, in an RGB working space, the values are pretty consistent too (but you have three values to watch, 2 values in a device independent color module is just easier).

In terms of RGB percentages in an Adobe raw processor like Lightroom, its easy because this color space doesn’t change (its LR’s internal processing space). Examples of ratio’s:http://digitaldog.net/files/LR_Skintone_Ratio.jpg

I’d rather do as much adjusting here (in the raw processor as possible), then if you need to tweak selectively in Photoshop, go by Lab values.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:47 AM
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Re: Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photosho

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewrodney View Post
No where in the piece do they tell the reader what CMYK recipe is being used for the values which is pretty inexcusable considering every CMYK process is different
Example:
http://digitaldog.net/files/CMYKSkin.jpg
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:58 PM
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Re: Color correcting skin tones and WB in Photosho

Each person has their own preferred skin tone colors. Magazines prefer the yellow/orange/ playboy look and Asians have different NUMBERS than do African Americans. So you have to tell me what nationality you want numbers for, and then what is your preference (lighter skinned, darker skin look, slightly yellow, slightly red, tanned, baby skin color ranges, white glamour model skin, ruddy old man colors etc).

Your quest for the NUMBERS is OK and good...but skin is so subjective and tied into the eye of the beholder...that you could end up making big mistakes in retouching JUST to the numbers. What I m saying is often there is a balance of numbers, likes, preferences, whats appropriate, what will print well, what kind of look does the customer want, is the project meant to have white skin, some moody kind of skin look etc.

In the past, I have created a chart of 20 white models and I have done the homework of number mapping all of their skin tone numbers... and then placed that color swatch on the chart... with the numbers listed. So If I need numbers or want to match a color swatch...I have a reference card.

You can do the same yourself with the color sampler tool and about 30 minutes from images of models that you love their skin tones on, or that show the range of differences between nationalities, or of outlying skin colors that are accepted but not common for example. Spending time doing this study yourself will give you personal knowledge of skin colors and what the numbers are likely to be. Maybe you want to redden some existing skin, or yellow it up, or make it more tan...by doing the methodological study you will have something objective to go by.

I feel your pressure to get numbers...but once you get some numbers... you will then join the ranks with us that have numbers... and now know that they are NOT The Whole Story.

A scientist ( A numbers Geek ) usually ends up creating Laboratory Beauty by the numbers...BUT...the artists and photographers amongst us...we just shoot images ...and we end up liking the numbers "that look good to us"

It seems like many of us have a personal bias as to what flesh tones look attractive to us.

Cheers,

Ray12

Last edited by ray12; 08-14-2011 at 06:25 PM.
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