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How to get this skin tone?

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Old 10-10-2012, 10:56 AM
ch33sewiz ch33sewiz is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 23
Question How to get this skin tone?

Hi Guys,

How to get this skin tone? Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks guys!
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Last edited by ch33sewiz; 10-10-2012 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:34 PM
redcrown redcrown is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 87
Re: How to get this skin tone?

The cynical answer is find a great model, use high quality studio lighting, and set perfect white balance. Volia, you get this skin tone.

But let's assume you have a full featured editing tool like Photoshop, and you have an image you want to match to this target. The best way is to do it "by the numbers."

1. On the target image, measure and record the numeric values of a good patch of skin.
2. On the match image, find a patch of skin with the same tone/exposure as the patch from the target.
3. Use an adjustment layer to force the numbers of the match image to equal the numbers of the target.
4. Add a layer mask to the adjustment layer and mask off the non-skin areas.

To measure the values on the target, use the color sampler tool. Set the sample size to 5x5 or greater to get a good average. Fish around on the skin while looking at the RGB values in the Info Pallet. Look for a point that has a Green value between 150 and 200. Click to lay down a sample point. On this target image, I find a point on the shoulder with RGB values of 223/191/176.

Now go to the match image, fish around with the color sampler tool again looking for a green value close to the green value from the target sample point. Let's say you get a point with RGB values of 218/185/186. Click to add the sample point to the Info Pallet.

Add an adjustment layer. You can use Selective Color, Color Balance, Curves, Gradient Map. Curves is probably the best.

On a Curves adjustment layer, go to the Red channel first and add a point. Try to get close to the original sample point, but don't worry about being exact. In the Curves adjustment dialogue, type over the Input and Output values in the boxes below the graph. In this example, type 218 in the Input Box and type 223 in the output box. That will force the Red value of the match image to the value of the target image.

Next, go to the Green channel and repeat. Then repeat for the Blue channel. That should get you pretty close. However, when you make the change to the Green channel, the first change you made to the Red channel might move a little bit. Ditto for the change to the Blue channel. You may need to go back and forth a few times.

Finally, add and paint the mask on the Curves adjustment layer as needed to cover only the skin.

The success of this technique depends on how close the match image is to the target before you start. If there is a huge difference, it might not work very well. If the curves you make are very strong they might cause clipping. If the match image has a significantly different overall exposure (high key vs. low key), then matching skin color is much more difficult.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:52 PM
ch33sewiz ch33sewiz is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 23
Re: How to get this skin tone?

thanks you redcrown. i will try this out.

heres the whole series of that sample. she made that tone on all the girls.
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:59 PM
Abicus Abicus is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 9
Re: How to get this skin tone?

Thanks Redclown great post. I'm going to try this now myself!
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:41 AM
redcrown redcrown is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 87
Re: How to get this skin tone?

You can increase the accuracy of this Curves technique by adding more points to the curve, but it's a lot of work.

Instead of picking just one point to measure, pick 3. One for shadows, one for midtones, and one for highlights. Then on each channel, plot all three points. But that's 3 points on 3 channels, a total of 9 points. And 2 values for each point (input and output), for a grand total of 18 numbers you need to set.

In my first reply I said to look for a single point with a green value between 150 and 200. That's because the green value is a close approximation of luminosity. And a value between 150 and 200 is close to the skin midtone on a "normally" exposed portrait. Of course, a high-key portrait may have no values below this range, and a low-key portrait may have no values above 150.

So technique is dependent on the image, and success is dependent on how far off the original is.

Also, when masking, pay close attention to eyes, teeth, and lips. You may or may not want the adjustment to apply there.
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