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Can you help me reverse engineer this image?

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Old 09-19-2011, 09:13 AM
YoungRetoucher YoungRetoucher is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 85
Question Can you help me reverse engineer this image?

Okay, maybe not reverse engineer because that sounds like a really bad thing but here's an image which I absolutely love, it was the cover of L'Officiel a while back and while the scanned version which I have linked is nothing like the printed version I must say that it is the most stunning image I have ever seen, I just love it. Why? No idea but I'd appreciate ideas on how to achieve a similar effect. Please forgive my noobishness, it was probably a very simple process.

Obviously this is not my own work, the name of the photographer is Badulescu I think.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:17 AM
spinq spinq is offline
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Location: Poland, Katowice
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Re: Can you help me reverse engineer this image?

You were right. To achive similar effect it doesn't take much. Try using solid color layer at 15-20% opasity and multiply blending mode. Of course rest is mainly skin work and painting with light. So give it a try and show the results
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:25 AM
YoungRetoucher YoungRetoucher is offline
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Posts: 85
Re: Can you help me reverse engineer this image?

No I meant how the image isn't very sharp yet still sharp and kinda looks like a picture from the 90s.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:43 AM
Dropt Dropt is offline
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Re: Can you help me reverse engineer this image?

Using the unsharp mask with a high radius and a low gain, you can give more shape to an image, without emphasing too much the details (what happens with a high gain/low radius). Could be the case here, but in selective areas with a mask. As for the colours, I'd call a gradient map with vivid light or something along those lines.
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:19 PM
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ray12 ray12 is offline
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Re: Can you help me reverse engineer this image?

In this image there is some modifications of the colors and tones in the original image. The white highlights in the face are turned yellow...the face is made much more magenta... and the hair is magenta enhanced with a bit of extra darkness introduced. Each of these effects is painted on artistically. You will notice that the white highlights in the face are now yellow...but they were not turned yellow on the bikini create a visual effect.

To get the same kind of results...You could do something like this with layers and masking.

In the image there are parts of the image on the face where the expected white areas are actually yellow...a cross processed kind of effect. To do this you could use a curve and then take the blue channel on the curve and pull it down on the top (Highlight) side of the curve...not the middle. This will give only the highlights a yellowish color cast. Add a black mask to this same layer and paint on the mask with a low opacity 12% soft edged white color brush. This will take the highlights on the face and allow you to paint and turn them to yellow selectively. On this image the highlights are painted on the face but not on some parts of the clothing for a cool effect.

The same cross processing / layer effect was done in the face area by taking a green curve and pulling it down in the middle to give the face a more magenta cast. (paint on the face where you want the effect and how much you want the effect).

The same kind of layer was used in the hair...but this time the green curve was pulled right at the bottom of the curve...because there is a lot of magenta wanted in the dark hair color. You could also clip a levels adjustment layer to this hair layer and then further darken up the hair.

To get this funky coloring you can use curves as an adjustment layer...or use the color balance adjustment layer. Adjustment layers are found on the 1/2 moon icon at the bottom of the Layers Pallet. They are very effective for changing standard colors to something more artistic.

It takes some exterimentation to get the artistic effect you are after...but you can make these adjustments in real time and see them working on the image. You can get some great artistic effects with this methodology. And because they are adjustment layers...they are non-destructive...which means that they allow the base images detail and integrity to stay you great quality results.


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Old 10-19-2011, 11:42 PM
Siciliana Siciliana is offline
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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Re: Can you help me reverse engineer this image?

After skin retouch, you could make a global curves adjustment to enhance the tan skin and warm up the blue, this is done by pulling down the blue channel and pushing up red a touch. There is another S-curve to pump the contrast. After that, I think there is a gradient of the yellow/orange color coming from the upper right that has probably been copied and set to a couple of blend modes at varying opacities--I'm thinking a low opacity normal blend and a reduced opacity overlay blend--overlay color will probably have to be darkened a bit and pushed a bit more red. Then the jacket and part of the body has been selectively masked. This is a guess. There is definitely a gradient over the top, but the whole thing works well because of the colors of the original image before toning.

*and noise on top.
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:43 AM
Tom_Tom Tom_Tom is offline
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Re: Can you help me reverse engineer this image?

Ahh guys, It's great to reverse engineer this and thanks for the very technical methods. I'm sure they will wonderfully if applied to a digital image.

The thing is This really looks to me like it was shot with a regular film like Kodak gold 200 with a slight warming filter applied. Or else shot film with a slight yellow gel on the light.

Am I crazy ?

I do realize the OP want to reverse engineer and I'm assuming form a neutral digital file, but still.
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Old 10-20-2011, 11:16 AM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Can you help me reverse engineer this image?

Like Ray mentioned I'd suggest starting out matching up some of the color casts in the high and low values via curves adjusting each channel separately. Don't try to match for the brightest highlights or darkest shadows precisely. You just want to set it in the right direction. Keep that curve layer at the top of your stack. Add some shape to the lighting however you like to do it to get the transitions and gradation to a similar to point what you see in the photo. Then start adjusting and balancing out the color of individual elements.

Keep in mind I'd really stay away from the filters and stuff. I've used some of those unsharp masking techniques and things before. Painting it in always seems to produce a better end result than using filters.
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