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How to achieve this beautiful softness? (NSFW)

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  #1  
Old 05-12-2012, 08:32 PM
smack bob smack bob is offline
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How to achieve this beautiful softness? (NSFW)

Hey guys,

I am trying to achieve this really smooth beautiful soft effect does anyone have any ideas?

Note the files linked here are NSFW

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/46312287/1.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/46312287/2.JPG
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:43 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: How to achieve this beautiful softness? (NSFW)

Brush at low opacity and paint away.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:16 PM
smack bob smack bob is offline
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Re: How to achieve this beautiful softness? (NSFW)

Any more detail on that?
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:20 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: How to achieve this beautiful softness? (NSFW)

Quote:
Originally Posted by skoobey View Post
Brush at low opacity and paint away.
I disagree entirely. The images don't have a huge amount of specularity. The highlights on the chin and those in the eyes suggest that the post work contributed heavily, but much of the perceived softness is from the light, saturated black levels. The post work is pretty heavy, and obvious in some areas. Like I can really see the retouch work on the lips. I think they darkened the corners of the image a little (looking at 1 right now). They did something with that necklace. On the rest of the lighting, I'm not sure how much it was adjusted. I do know that they messed with the shadows to get that look. It's not quite how I would have done it. Those leaves are definitely distracting. I'm not sure if they decided it would be too annoying to remove them. It's possible to do, but it would be time consuming. On the other it looks about the same to me. Corners darkened to artificially pull you toward the subject. Saturated moderately brightened black levels to keep kind of a more narrow color palette.

On whether it's painted up, I don't really care. I'm just taking a guess at what might be drawing the OP to these images. To really figure out all of the details, it's best if you can start with similar lighting and try to recreate the process bit by bit. When you do that you'll notice smaller things. You compare and you'll see oh he did this here. It's hard to dissect every detail just from viewing a couple images, but the points I've mentioned should be enough to develop a point of departure.

My own problem at times is maintaining efficiency when it comes to blocking out a look or dealing with certain details.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:38 AM
Michael Bonner Michael Bonner is offline
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Re: How to achieve this beautiful softness? (NSFW)

The softness of the skin and the model comes from great makeup, lighting, and retouching. All the shadow/highlight transitions across the face and body are incredibly smooth. This comes from the combination of a large light source and dodging and burning in post to smooth the transitions further.

The overall "soft" look of the photo, though, comes from compressing the dynamic range of the photo (range from darkest shadows to brightest highlights), along with color toning.

One of the best ways to figure out what kind of toning and adjustments you need is to reverse-engineer the final product. If you look at the shadows, you'll see that instead of going to black, they go to a dark blue with a magenta cast. Similarly, the highlights go to a pale yellow instead of white. If you can figure out how to "undo" these color casts, you can apply them by simply reversing the process.

I took the image into photoshop and added a curves adjustment layer, then went through the individual RGB channels, adjusting the endpoints as necessary along the axes, starting with Blue, as the Blue/Yellow color shift was most prominent -

Blue - dragged the bottom left point rightwards along the X-axis to draw the blue out of the shadows and deepen them, then dragged the top right point left along the top to draw the yellow out of the highlights and brighten them

Green - Dragged the bottom left point up along the Y-axis to bring the magentas out of the shadows

Red- Dragged the bottom left point to the right and the top right point down a smidge to bring the reds out of the shadows, highlights, and midtones

All these adjustments were made "until they felt right", which is to say that I stopped dragging the blue channel shadow point towards yellow when the shadows stopped looking blue, but before they started looking yellow (and so on)

Once the color casts were taken care of, the image still lacked a fair amount of contrast, so I added some by adjusting the endpoints of the RGB curve.

The end result looks natural, color-wise:

http://i.imgur.com/66EMO.jpg

Now all you have to do is duplicate the curve layer you created to neutralize the color casts/lack of contrast and reverse all the curves (see attached curves screenshots). The resultant curves layer can then be applied to any photo to add the color casts and contrast adjustments present in the example images.

Keep in mind, though, that the original image is superb, due to the great lighting, makeup, and skin retouching. Without those, you won't get the same results from a curves layer alone.

Hope this helps!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Curves.jpg (77.2 KB, 93 views)

Last edited by Michael Bonner; 05-21-2012 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:53 PM
smack bob smack bob is offline
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Re: How to achieve this beautiful softness? (NSFW)

Hey Michael,

Thanks for your reply, it's such a simple technique to reverse engineer an image I can't believe I hadn't thought of it before. Well Done!
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