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Retouching Male Models?

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  #1  
Old 05-27-2012, 08:36 PM
YoungRetoucher YoungRetoucher is offline
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Retouching Male Models?

This may seem like an odd and very general question but how do you retouch a male model beauty shot without making him look effeminate? Obviously you will probably not clean up their skin in the same way you would treat women's skin, right? So what's the key to a successful retouch when it comes to male models? I'm asking because I shooting some beauty photographs of a man this week and I'm not quite sure how to go about it. The thing is I never retouched a man before.
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:22 PM
RobertAsh RobertAsh is offline
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Re: Retouching Male Models?

Start with the posing. Choose masculine, assertive poses and any time his torso is tilted try to avoid turning his head to his upper shoulder, that often or typically looks feminine.

Next, the lighting. Make the lighting a bit harder than you would for a woman. Then in post-processing use more techniques like clarity and contrast to bring out skin texture.

Go online and search for images of men, especially guys like Denzel Washington, George Clooney and other masculine guys. Study the angles, looks, poses, expressions, settings, etc. and use those for a starting point.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:29 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Retouching Male Models?

I don't see a big difference. I hate things that look really done either way. Smoothing doesn't have to be excessive, and much of the time things like tired eyes/bags under the eyes can be toned down in a somewhat anatomically correct manner.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:34 AM
YoungRetoucher YoungRetoucher is offline
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Re: Retouching Male Models?

I'm scared of making the skin seem too smooth, not masculine enough, yet I have to do some skin work because my model has acne...
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:29 AM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Retouching Male Models?

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Originally Posted by YoungRetoucher View Post
I'm scared of making the skin seem too smooth, not masculine enough, yet I have to do some skin work because my model has acne...
Everyone thinks I'm a weirdo when I say this, but you can rebuild it rather than cloning or healing. I can often rebuild things, match up skin grain, darken or lighten slightly to match, and this is very helpful if it's a larger blemish. After I do most of these I'll check it on and off at various zoom ratios to make sure it lays in perfectly. With guys there's no telling how someone will want it to look. Men often have rougher skin. Some people will want that. Others will not like it. It sounds time consuming, but if it's taking too many tries with a clone stamp, healing brush, patch tool, whatever, it becomes extremely inefficient.
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:02 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Re: Retouching Male Models?

We have some male model retouches over in the RP LIVE rentals. Amy Dresser, Erik Hattrem come to mind.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:22 PM
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Phaeton Phaeton is offline
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Re: Retouching Male Models?

There's hardly any difference in terms of retouching between men and women. Same principles and techniques apply.
With a male beauty image, you want to accentuate texture as much as possible. Make sure the capture is as sharp as possible. Natural looking skin is the key with absolutely no blur whatsoever - the "feminine" feel comes from softening things up to the point of obliteration. Clone and heal with precision, have consistent skin transitions through D&B, color correct patchy areas little by little (specially with a close up). Tidy up loose hair (nose, brows, ears, beard), don't make it too uniform.
For reference see the link below; some samples from Gavin O'Neil - the last one in the series is one I quickly whipped up.

http://postimage.org/image/5ki1l30nf/full/

ed
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:46 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Retouching Male Models?

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Originally Posted by Phaeton View Post
There's hardly any difference in terms of retouching between men and women. Same principles and techniques apply.
With a male beauty image, you want to accentuate texture as much as possible. Make sure the capture is as sharp as possible. Natural looking skin is the key with absolutely no blur whatsoever
I really like the feel of those. They're different than I'd do them personally, but I genuinely like them. I just don't completely agree on the women. I was sitting at the doctor's office earlier flipping through magazines while waiting, and they were mostly chick magazines so they had a few makeup ads. Looking at one from Lancome up close, I could tell much of what they did. Some small facial hairs are removed or toned down, but they maintain a lot of texture. Much of the work appeared to be done like I've described before. The skin either wasn't sharpened or wasn't sharpened very much initially. It lacked many of the signs of capture sharpening. Things like lashes and eyes often sharpen up a bit just through actual retouching when you're perfecting the lighting on them. Little things were toned down, but much of the work seemed to rely more on trying not to accentuate the wrong things than it did on obliterating them. I think I kind of agree with you on women, but at the same time I think others reading this may go too extreme with their interpretation of your words here. Also I'm glad someone else cares about being precise .
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:59 PM
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Phaeton Phaeton is offline
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Re: Retouching Male Models?

Oh yes, precision is paramount. Otherwise things can turn nasty very easily and quickly...
The secret really is to accentuate what's good and take away attention from the not so good, rather than trying to obliterate certain elements of an image.
You're right about the sharpness differences between a female and male beauty shot - the former would generally be less sharp on the skin to diminish harshness and attain a level of "physical softness" on the skin.
ed
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:31 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Retouching Male Models?

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Originally Posted by Phaeton View Post
Oh yes, precision is paramount. Otherwise things can turn nasty very easily and quickly...
The secret really is to accentuate what's good and take away attention from the not so good, rather than trying to obliterate certain elements of an image.
You're right about the sharpness differences between a female and male beauty shot - the former would generally be less sharp on the skin to diminish harshness and attain a level of "physical softness" on the skin.
ed
Yar.. you do some nice work dude. Is Melbourne a big market? I would've thought Sydney would be bigger over there in terms of photography and advertising. I tend to be careful with the guys too. The problem is if I sharpen it too much (especially with capture sharpening as I can't really recover that), they'll kick it back saying the skin looks too dry. Then if I retouch it down from there, it starts to look too sandblasted. There's somewhat of a balance, but as long as excessive sharpening isn't baked to the original, it's probably okay. I prefer to leave guys looking much rougher than many clients would like. Most of the time I think it looks good with primarily color and lighting adjustments and little smoothing on guys, but others don't necessarily agree. Much of the hardness of lighting you mentioned can be maintained by keeping the shape of bones. The forehead can really help in that regard. You really got a pretty good balance on this.

I'm just a big fan of being able to fine tune things bit by bit, as I think it's ultimately faster simply because you don't create your own problems. There are just so many areas where people can get stuck, and accuracy can be a huge problem. If I'm not used to the setup (tablet size, computer, location, etc) I draw a few doodles with the tablet before proceeding to real work. It just lets me see if everything feels natural. Working on a photo painting issues don't always become apparent right away.

With the OP, I think he may need to work on precision a little, as he mentioned having trouble removing acne without going too smooth. I mentioned rebuilding it because past a few pixels in diameter, I've personally found that more predictable than cloning/healing, and it's not that time consuming because I can usually nail it on the first try (and it's not like anyone has hundreds of pimples).
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