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Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

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  #1  
Old 10-17-2011, 01:09 PM
damianhevia damianhevia is offline
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Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

Hello all,
I am brand new here. I appreciate the opportunity to be a contributor of the forum.

But I come here needing help, any help with this retouching job.

I have to retouch the skin of a model who has intricate tattoos. The rest of skin faults are your run of the mill retouch issues.

The trouble came from the hair and make-up folks that I hired to work on the shoot. The shot is set in 1910 and so I asked if the tattoos could be covered up successfully. The model also had some colored hair areas that needed to be made dark like the rest of her hair.

The hair and make-up work took about three and a half hours. She has tattoos all up and down her arms, legs, neck and even next to her eye.

During the process, the hair was sprayed with something that apparently flaked and went all over her skin (forehead). The tattoos were covered nut not completely. So they had to try and cover up their mess and this is what I was left with.

I was so glad to see her get on the set, I thought she looked pretty good and I could take care of what would show in post.

Well, I have been working on this series of shoots for a week and find myself more lost each day.

I have looked at You Tube videos and scoured the internet. I have studied blend modes, blend if, color replacement, cloning, hue and saturation, color balance and on and on. But can't seem to find something that doesn't leave me with an unnatural look (porcelain) and I have different shades on the face, the neck/chest and the arm.

At the same time I'm trying maintain the shadows from the real lighting.

The best I've come up with for the tattoos is to use the replace color brush to get rid of the blueish grey colors on the skin leaving me with skin that darker but in the same color range. From there it seemed easier to even out the skin. But the shadows on the arm that look like horizontal bands are from the tattoo cover up not from the lighting. So you end up with patches.

I think the forehead/face issues are really something I've not come across as it seems there isn't much area of natural color to borrow from to cover up that grey color.

I hope you guys consider this a good challenge as it is driving me nuts.

Why did I use this model if she had all this going on? She's part of an ongoing series where the tattoos will be part of the shots. Besides, I was told it would be no problem to cover them up.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Damian
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File Type: jpg nightmare1tiny.jpg (75.9 KB, 156 views)
File Type: jpg nightmare2tiny.jpg (63.8 KB, 149 views)
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2011, 02:32 PM
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crimper crimper is offline
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Re: Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

Maybe a bit of gentle dodging & burning can even out the darker skin tones allong with a layer with some judicious use of noise to give the skin some texture & reduce the plastic look.
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:48 PM
damianhevia damianhevia is offline
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Re: Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

Thanks Crimper for your suggestion. I've tried the burn/dodge here and there. There's so much that it's difficult to get a nice gradient where required.
There are 3 different problems as I see this. The face, the neck/chest and the arm. I think your suggestion would work best on the arm and areas of the neck/chest but the face is a tonal issue.
I have used the sponge tool to desat after replace color put a tint in the shadows though.
I'm closing everything and rebooting to see if I can get afresh start at this.
Thanks again. I'm eager to see all suggestions.
Damian
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:58 PM
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crimper crimper is offline
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Re: Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

Quote:
Originally Posted by damianhevia View Post
Thanks Crimper for your suggestion. I've tried the burn/dodge here and there. There's so much that it's difficult to get a nice gradient where required.
There are 3 different problems as I see this. The face, the neck/chest and the arm. I think your suggestion would work best on the arm and areas of the neck/chest but the face is a tonal issue.
I have used the sponge tool to desat after replace color put a tint in the shadows though.
I'm closing everything and rebooting to see if I can get afresh start at this.
Thanks again. I'm eager to see all suggestions.
Damian
THe only problem with the sponge tool is that it tends to 'smear' the texture and leave an ugly surface look. This is where adding a bit of noise can help restore some texture to the skin, if the noise is too obvious you can blur it slightly with a gaussian blur layer
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:09 PM
damianhevia damianhevia is offline
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Re: Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

I see. I thought the sponge tools just soaked up saturation. I've only played with it a few times. Believe it or not. I am still trying to get back into PS. there were so many updates backed up, I've gotten stuck getting that out of the way.
Thanks again,
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:33 PM
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SEP Studios SEP Studios is offline
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Re: Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

I think Crimper might be thinking of the Smudge tool, which will smear the pixels. The Sponge tool just saturates & destaurates.

The area of the face is small enough to fix in PS fairly easily. The arm, however, is a problem. If it were me, I'd forget the idea of removing the tats and use the skin from another arm (is her right arm tattooed as well? If not, pull a clean one from the shoot, flip it and make it work. Or shoot a pic of your girlfriend's arm, or pull one from the net somewhere). Of course it won't match perfectly, but that's where your PS skills come in. Is her hand tattooed? If not, keep it.

I've done this kind of thing on many projects. Cheating? Maybe, but who cares as long as it looks right and doesn't kill you.

Hope that helps,
Scott

SEP Studios Retouching
http://www.retoucher.net
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  #7  
Old 10-17-2011, 06:20 PM
edgework edgework is offline
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Re: Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

Any chance of seeing the originals?
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:29 PM
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Re: Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

Borrowing the skin from the other arm seems to be a good option.

Have you tried the patch tool as this should also bring the skin texture in?

Tried on the easy one with the patch tool to select an area on the forehead then new layer set to colour selected good skin tone and painted over the grey with reduced opacity. While the arm would take a lot more work I think it is possible.
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Old 10-17-2011, 11:11 PM
damianhevia damianhevia is offline
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Re: Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

Hey! This is great. I appreciate your responses. Let's see:
SEP:
Her right arm is in shadow and yes, does have tattoos "covered up" on it as well. I'll look around to see if I have a spare arm to borrow from. I think if I used my girlfriend's arm, my wife might get upset (I kid).
The face is really bothering me. What is so easy about it? She has the "rouge" color along the edge of her face and then her forehead goes grey. The place where the rouge should be (her cheeks) is splotchy at best and the only natural tones on her face are along a highlight along her nose or very tiny.

It is true I am looking to follow the "work smarter, not harder" rule. I could get in there and go pixel by pixel but there seems there exists a better and quicker way to deal with these issues and get better results.

How do you see the face as an easier task?

Edgework:
Please let me know how best to show the originals. I do want to add these images are being considered by a client and I believe I should keep them under wraps until I know the client's intentions. But, I can tell you the only trouble spots are what I've described. I suppose I can upload those parts at full rez for you guys to see the issues at actual size.

Tony:
The patch tool can't borrow from the other arm as her right arm is in shadow. I tried the patch tool at first but there is such a weirdness in the skin tone (greyish) that you really can't let the patch tool sample that as the result is muddy. I'm with you on the blending color from the second area on a separate layer. I'll try that. Honestly the problem is in the lack of consistency of the skin tone.

I do find it interesting you guys find the arm more of a challenge than the forehead/face. I've been thinking the opposite. That's encouraging.

Again, I appreciate your suggestions and help.
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  #10  
Old 10-18-2011, 01:49 PM
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SEP Studios SEP Studios is offline
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Re: Nightmare skin retouch intricate tattoos plus

Damian,

The preview I'm seeing is pretty small, so you're probably seeing more of a problem than I can. An isolated area of the face should be easier to fix than something like an entire arm. But again, hard to tell.

Scott

SEP Studios Retouching
http://www.retoucher.net
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