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Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

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  #1  
Old 08-26-2011, 10:49 PM
JVEyck309 JVEyck309 is offline
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Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

Hello All.

I'd really like to start a discussion on fixing blown out highlights but I think more importantly - could someone recommend a good (and free/easy) file hosting site so I could share my before/after with you (thusfar in the workflow) so that people could get a better grasp of my problem??


So I'll give a quick overview for now..

I got this job doing somewhere between 25-35 headshots for a corporate finance team.. (or something corporate.. guys in suits.. ya know..)

The photographer is an older gentleman (I'm 25.. he's like more than double that) and I basically told him how to light it, how to meter, how to set his white balance, etc etc.. Which he did a decent job at. He does a lot of videography for a studio I work at and does great work except he's not technically proficient.. hence how I got this job and hence why he isn't the most knowledgeable photographer.


So ALLLL of these photos have harsh blown out cheeks on the side of the main light...
So far my methods have been a mix of --- blending the blue channel into the red channel on a duplicate layer with a blending mode of luminosity and then layer masked and brushed in on the highlights.. --- merging visible and tweaking shadow/highlights adjustments -- I even switched to LAB color and tried doing that Dan Margulis thing (BTW what are people's thoughts on Margulis and LAB color.. I got his book but it has too many words in it for me to give a shit.. also watched his videos too.. also think he's a douche).. uhm.. basically just blank layer set to color mode and painting skin color which I sampled into the blown out areas (looked horrible.. ) ..


Uhm.. I realize this is difficult without seeing an image.. and this forum has a 100 k limit to attaching files?? What's the best way to share my problem images with you fine folks?? and how do you deal with blown out highlights?

OHHH ALSO- I considered splitting my image into low and high frequency using that fancy high pass method (using apply image command..uhmm .. yeah ) in order to bring texture back to the blown out areas.. but this doesnt solve my color issues with the blown out areas..

everything just comes out looking OK.. but muddy and ehh.. Idk.. it's not professional..


ALSO... the guys I work for are not high end.. no matter what I give back to them I get praised for it.. They mainly do weddings so.. .It's not like this is a serious thing.. But for my own knowledge.. I'd like to know how to tackle problems like these...

OK thanks.
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:55 PM
JVEyck309 JVEyck309 is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

oh and also.. I forget cause I got kinda drunk last night.. but I think I also tried applying a false profile to one to no avail.. from what I remember..

Basically creating a profile where the gamma is changed and applying that to image.. if I remember correctly.. also didn't help me much..

The problem is.. I get the tones and detail back.. but everything just looks soooo muddy and.. hmm.. vomit! ya know?
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2011, 12:10 AM
JVEyck309 JVEyck309 is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

Oh hey.. Also.. this brings up a new interest I have.


How do you process your images for the web.. I mean.. I know sRGB is the most approved of color space for its' universality across the vast differences between monitors and whatnot... but besides converting to sRGB, are there preferable methods of sharpening for the web, general settings which optimize your image before you share on the web? Is the deconvolution sharpening methods made for web? Anyone want a beer? ok. just me... bye!

Do you pray twice and sacrifice a lamb on an altar like I do? What's that workflow like?

At the studio I'm at we use lightroom to batch to low res with slight sharpening and mask it to 30-50 to just
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:51 AM
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Tony W Tony W is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deit39 View Post
So ALLLL of these photos have harsh blown out cheeks on the side of the main light...
So far my methods have been a mix of --- blending the blue channel into the red channel on a duplicate layer with a blending mode of luminosity and then layer masked and brushed in on the highlights.. --- merging visible and tweaking shadow/highlights adjustments -- I even switched to LAB color and tried doing that Dan Margulis thing (BTW what are people's thoughts on Margulis and LAB color.. I got his book but it has too many words in it for me to give a shit.. also watched his videos too.. also think he's a douche).. uhm.. basically just blank layer set to color mode and painting skin color which I sampled into the blown out areas (looked horrible.. )

Uhm.. I realize this is difficult without seeing an image.. and this forum has a 100 k limit to attaching files?? What's the best way to share my problem images with you fine folks?? and how do you deal with blown out highlights?
It sounds like the problems you are experiencing are due to the highlights being properly blown i.e. there is just no information available in any channel. Therefore no amount of blending, merging or shadow and highlight will actually bring any detail back (it is just not there). The method quoted in Dan Margulis book does work as far as colour goes but will not bring back detail that is not there in the first place.

Best to post an image here at the 100k limit and also link to a larger file - try something like Flickr or Photobucket both I think free after sign up.

Quote:
BTW what are people's thoughts on Margulis and LAB color.. I got his book but it has too many words in it for me to give a shit.. also watched his videos too.. also think he's a douche
You should actually read the words and try to understand you may even come to the conclusion that he is wrong in some cases. But please try and have a little respect for people with far more experience than yourself and keep your comments to the detail rather than call names
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:34 PM
ME_wwwing ME_wwwing is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

try this
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...3&changemode=1
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  #6  
Old 08-28-2011, 06:15 AM
creativeretouch creativeretouch is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deit39 View Post
I'd really like to start a discussion on fixing blown out highlights
Best advice I can give you is to hire a photographer who knows how to avoid this problem ...
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:47 PM
JVEyck309 JVEyck309 is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

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Originally Posted by Tony W View Post
You should actually read the words and try to understand you may even come to the conclusion that he is wrong in some cases. But please try and have a little respect for people with far more experience than yourself and keep your comments to the detail rather than call names
Yeah, Totally fair. Sorry for being a brat. I'm just put off by the guy..

Oh and also - there is detail in the blue channel on most of them.. My problem is that when I blend the blue into the red and set to luminosity and then brush it in... it works.. but it just looks so muddy and.. not sure what the right word for it is..not clean.. maybe I should be more careful with how I brush it in, make a couple passes slowly building it up. I

Thanks to - ME _wwwing for the link.. I'm gonna try that out later for sure.

And I guess I'll have to sign up to one of these image sharing sites and post an example.

Thanks to you fine folk.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:53 AM
fraiseap fraiseap is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

If the blown highlights are small you could try painting a color (sampled from some nearby skin) on the LF layer.

If the blown highlights are large I think you need to reshoot.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:19 AM
creativeretouch creativeretouch is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deit39 View Post
Yeah, Totally fair. Sorry for being a brat. I'm just put off by the guy..

Oh and also - there is detail in the blue channel on most of them..
Try to change the Hue of highlights to the correct Hue in the LAB mode http://tinyurl.com/g3qm4
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Old 09-03-2011, 06:31 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

Do the highlights have any detail in the raws? If so I can think of a few things you could try to get it at least to a good starting point.
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  #11  
Old 09-04-2011, 03:16 PM
JVEyck309 JVEyck309 is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

Hello again.

So I got around to making a flickr account.

Here is the original photo I was given from the photographer. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobdoes...in/photostream

Then for the sake of example - and why I started this post - is the version I returned to the photographer (Also side note, I know its not great, but the photographer only wanted to pay $5 per image and only wanted a quick retouch... so thats what he got from me.) -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobdoes...in/photostream


And finally, after discussing it here with you fine people I decided to revisit it and see if I could fix the problem I have with the version I gave to my client. And that is that although I brought back texture and reduced the highlights.. it looked, muddy, and muted, and blahhh. What I didn't realize was that part of the problem with the highlights is that the color was different. So I made a few passes using Hue/Sat adj layer and Selective Color to correct the area and brushed it in. - so here is that one here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobdoes...in/photostream


And I figured I'd share my workflow for the last one in case it might help anyone..
Unfortunately I did not think of this prior to.. and I flattened the file. But from memory here is how I approached it.

Duplicate the layer,
Went to Red Channel - Apply Image - Applying the blue channel from original layer set to Normal 100%. - Then set that layer to luminosity, masked it and brushed in.
Then merge visible (cause I do that a lot..) did a pass over with healing and spot removal, stray hairs, etc.
Then merged up again, and with most of them I still wasn't happy with highlights so I merged visible and then tweaked the highlights in the Shadwos/Highlights adjustment. Setting the shadows to zero, because those were fine, and just slightly boosting the highlights set at a low tonal range so it only affected the highlights I wanted.

The crucial part that helped solve the problem I was having was then making a Hue/Sat adj layer, using the scrubby (not sure what the eyedropper/scrubber/selector tool is called) and picked a bunch of points in the highlights and adjusted hue to blend with the rest of the skin. Then did one or two light passes with Selective Color to get the skin as a whole to my liking. After that I just added a slight vignette using curves, had a problem with banding in background so I blurred that heavily (Still sort of there..oh well) Oh and finally used liquify to lower his shoulder on the right side a bit, and drew the chin in a bit..

Then did my standard sharpening actions and brushed them in where I wanted additional sharpening.

So yeah. That was my workflow. Hope it helps.. and/or also, if you think my process was not ideal or just plain dumb for any reason, let me know, always curious to see how others might approach.
I still don't think this looks that great but I definitely picked up a thing or two. Being that I was only getting $5 per image, I wasn't about to pull my hair out over it..
I think one thing that bothered me was where the photographer placed his background light.. the gradation starts below his shoulder when I think it would have been more ideal to illuminate from his face.. no?
Oh well. Have a good one folks.
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:28 PM
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Tony W Tony W is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

Looking at the image you posted seems to me that there is plenty of information in both the green and blue channels red as expected for fleshtones a lot lighter. This is of course just looking at jpeg what are the RAW files like? I suggest there is likely to be much more info available and probably could be edited in RAW with very little to do in PS.

Is it possible that you are making more work for yourself with a more complicated workflow than necessary?

I do not know if this of any help but took your original jpeg image and in PS duplicated layer and applied a healthy amount of highlight correction in Shadows and highlight. New blank layer set to Colour mode, sampled a couple of areas for fleshtone and painted over highlight area. A two minute fix so $2.5 dollars per minute
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Hothighlights.jpg (98.2 KB, 31 views)

Last edited by Tony W; 09-04-2011 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 09-04-2011, 05:38 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deit39 View Post
Hello again.

So I got around to making a flickr account.

Here is the original photo I was given from the photographer. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobdoes...in/photostream
*Grabs a wooden stake*
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  #14  
Old 09-04-2011, 06:39 PM
JVEyck309 JVEyck309 is offline
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Re: Hot highlights / burnt out / How do I fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony W View Post
what are the RAW files like?

He shot them JPEG.. This guy.. not a great photographer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kav View Post
*Grabs a wooden stake*
That's mean. But yeah..
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