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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

Yet another skin question

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  #21  
Old 05-02-2014, 05:37 PM
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AKMac AKMac is offline
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Re: Yet another skin question

I've heard the 'Art is Subjective' response used so often by people trying to justify the unjustifiable. It's a fairly meaningless and feeble response, but not quite as feeble as the assertion that popularity defines quality.
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  #22  
Old 05-02-2014, 08:23 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Yet another skin question

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Originally Posted by SixHouse View Post
Clear to YOU, maybe. Art is subjective, or have you forgotten that? Sure we can all learn frequency separation then spend a few hours with pixel level dodging and burning and end up with the same exact look that you see "all over the internet." Then pat yourself on the back with what a great job you did, and you'll still sleep on your futon, just ask oneredpanther. But here's a guy that has become wealthy and highly sought after for doing exactly what people on this thread make fun of! lol can you say bitter? To me THAT is creativity. Anyone can learn to "retouch skin." How come nobody on this thread has books, covers, and thousands of fans and people begging to work with them? Think about that for a while
Pixel level anything just means you don't understand basic technique in any kind of art. It's absolutely unnecessary to deal with near microscopic detail by hand, because it's eventually implied to the eye. I'll quote back from your first post.

Quote:
He produces a smoothness that certainly doesn't look "real" but at the same time it works for him in a way that I've never seen it work before.
What about it is unique to you? You commented on the smoothness, yet you can find that in any magazine. I think you just need to learn more about the subjects. When you look at how things are captured in camera under certain lighting conditions and poses, you should be able to identify the representation of certain muscles and bones or fabrics. From that you can learn to extrapolate what is bolder or more toned down here compared to what you are used to seeing. That relates specifically to style. Beyond that point you started to convolute your own words by trying to tie his style to his business model. If you aren't simply trolling I would suggest that you examine what I just wrote. Even if you can't quantify it, many of the adjustments are obvious to me. It is possible to color correct lips to be a certain red. Tattoos appear to be explicitly emphasized. Eyes are definitely retouched. The smooth look you see in the skin can be obtained by matching his lighting and then smoothing it. From that distance dslrs don't typically capture anything too extreme in terms of skin detail, so with the right lighting it takes less than you might think. You certainly don't have to go pixel by pixel. Just get used to working around 100% and you'll be fine.


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Originally Posted by Eedmonam View Post
Has anyone an idea how this guy does his retouchings? http://www.cristiangirotto.com
They vary quite a bit, but I'll try to nail down some key concepts that seem to be fairly consistent in browsing through the images. One of the things I think relatively inexperienced people miss is that while not everything is masked, things are masked when necessary. This can make it more difficult for someone to digest the work when they expect everything was adjusted more or less in a similar fashion. In some of the cheek areas of the subject, there's a lot of heavy shading around either the cheekbone or back even further. I can see the brush falloff, and really it is quite difficult to do that flawlessly (I've messed it up enough times to know). When you're going that heavy on it, it's very difficult to make it not feel a bit painted. I do see a bit of a pattern. The clothing or major accoutrements appear to be masked off in many of these, especially beauty shots. I don't know of any other way to really get some of those colors without messing up other parts. Skin may have been selected in any number of ways, but in most of these the saturation is definitely toned down. There are a few ways to approach it. Do keep in mind that highlights will typically have a somewhat different cast than the shadows. If that is lacking, they'll often have a painted over look. For the eyes, they are heavily retouched. Catchlights may have been moved. Irises are darkened a bit around the edges to make the person appear more focused. Lashes are retouched. That is a topic in itself.

Just being able to analyze these won't make it so that you can actually reproduce similar work, but to get somewhere for a start, you have to learn to pick up on details.

Last edited by klev; 05-02-2014 at 08:34 PM.
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  #23  
Old 05-03-2014, 04:30 PM
zackahern zackahern is offline
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Re: Yet another skin question

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Originally Posted by Eedmonam View Post
Has anyone an idea how this guy does his retouchings? http://www.cristiangirotto.com
The photographer I was just retouching for actually e-mailed him specifically about the retouching on some of his recent projects and what he found is that a lot of them are a hybrid blend of retouching and CG. The photos are shot with retouching in mind and then the final select images are then modeled in CG and blended together to make his imagery. Needless to say, you're talking hours upon hours of work just on the CG side of things, much less the time it takes to blend it all together into something cohesive.
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  #24  
Old 05-03-2014, 05:12 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Yet another skin question

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Originally Posted by zackahern View Post
The photos are shot with retouching in mind and then the final select images are then modeled in CG and blended together to make his imagery.
They only credit CG on a few of them, but it is specifically credited. I suspect it's used predominantly for set and model building, but there's no reason to use it on the people or animals with any of those. Even building a simple mannequin would be too costly compared to doing it in photoshop, and there's nothing done to them that would really justify that cost. Textures would also be a lot easier on some of the background elements.
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  #25  
Old 05-03-2014, 05:22 PM
zackahern zackahern is offline
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Re: Yet another skin question

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Originally Posted by klev View Post
They only credit CG on a few of them, but it is specifically credited. I suspect it's used predominantly for set and model building, but there's no reason to use it on the people or animals with any of those. Even building a simple mannequin would be too costly compared to doing it in photoshop, and there's nothing done to them that would really justify that cost. Textures would also be a lot easier on some of the background elements.
Oh, sorry, didn't mean to imply that CG was used in all of his work. Just implying that some of the pieces that look too good to be true are probably CG. Past that. I would say it's predominantly tons of dodge and burn at a pixel level. If I remember correctly his "plastic" series were "hand painted" in post for all of the highlights. I don't know this for sure, but I'd take a wild stab at saying he probably has some kind of formal art training and/or a painting background. Plus, most of the pieces in his portfolio are for huge advertising clients so the amount of time put into each image could be weeks.
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  #26  
Old 05-03-2014, 10:03 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Yet another skin question

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Originally Posted by zackahern View Post
Oh, sorry, didn't mean to imply that CG was used in all of his work. Just implying that some of the pieces that look too good to be true are probably CG. Past that. I would say it's predominantly tons of dodge and burn at a pixel level. If I remember correctly his "plastic" series were "hand painted" in post for all of the highlights. I don't know this for sure, but I'd take a wild stab at saying he probably has some kind of formal art training and/or a painting background. Plus, most of the pieces in his portfolio are for huge advertising clients so the amount of time put into each image could be weeks.
I actually think you're spot on with everything aside from pixel level burning and dodging. It makes you lose focus too much. The work is often much smoother with a steady hand starting off from the broader stuff and working your way down. By the time you're down to a couple pixels on fine details, assuming it's not something like cloning out a tiny hair or blemish, you shouldn't have to spend too much time at that level. I mean consider when you look at stuff on the web. You can appreciate much of the work even in the thumbnails, yet you can't see a lot of what could be at the finest levels of detail. I think a lot of it is set through the broader work. I definitely think the fake highlights are painted, but probably not all painted. They may have been oiled and photographed with much of that repainted to get perfect shapes. They could have studied a lot of reference material along the way. I've linked CG case studies and things here before, but no one pays much attention to them. So much stuff when it comes to creating images is being able to start from a somewhat abstract point that leads you to those things while still being capable of eventually polishing the fine details.

My earlier comments were more related to the more conservative images there. If someone is stuck on how to clean up skin without losing the sense of texture and volume, they're really quite far from even attempting stuff like what was linked.
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  #27  
Old 05-04-2014, 12:35 PM
zackahern zackahern is offline
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Re: Yet another skin question

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Originally Posted by klev View Post
I actually think you're spot on with everything aside from pixel level burning and dodging. It makes you lose focus too much. The work is often much smoother with a steady hand starting off from the broader stuff and working your way down. By the time you're down to a couple pixels on fine details, assuming it's not something like cloning out a tiny hair or blemish, you shouldn't have to spend too much time at that level. I mean consider when you look at stuff on the web. You can appreciate much of the work even in the thumbnails, yet you can't see a lot of what could be at the finest levels of detail. I think a lot of it is set through the broader work. I definitely think the fake highlights are painted, but probably not all painted. They may have been oiled and photographed with much of that repainted to get perfect shapes. They could have studied a lot of reference material along the way. I've linked CG case studies and things here before, but no one pays much attention to them. So much stuff when it comes to creating images is being able to start from a somewhat abstract point that leads you to those things while still being capable of eventually polishing the fine details.

My earlier comments were more related to the more conservative images there. If someone is stuck on how to clean up skin without losing the sense of texture and volume, they're really quite far from even attempting stuff like what was linked.
Good points. I would say however, that he's definitely pushing the line of "blurry" because of too much detail removed on some of his beauty images. In fact, his beauty images might be sharper than his far away campaign images with women in them. The girl on the bike, the girl's on the beach with the binoculars etc. There skin is so smooth that they look rendered to me. I'm not criticizing because it's definitely an aesthetic that is working well for him and highly desired by a lot of commercial clients, but to me it starts to feel very CG when it's taken that far.

I do think you're spot on in terms of masking and/or pathing everything out to start with. I work in commercial retouching and that's usually the very first step before starting any retouching (unless there is compositing involved, which is then the first step). I usually path out everything: skin, clothes, jewelry, hair (masking if necessary), bits of the environment, etc. It just gives you such precise control and to me is really what sets good retouchers apart from great retouchers. It's really why in his fashion images his skin looks so perfect and the clothing is so poppy because they've each been handled separately with a lot of care and attention to detail.
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  #28  
Old 05-04-2014, 02:45 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Yet another skin question

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Originally Posted by zackahern View Post
Good points. I would say however, that he's definitely pushing the line of "blurry" because of too much detail removed on some of his beauty images. In fact, his beauty images might be sharper than his far away campaign images with women in them. The girl on the bike, the girl's on the beach with the binoculars etc. There skin is so smooth that they look rendered to me. I'm not criticizing because it's definitely an aesthetic that is working well for him and highly desired by a lot of commercial clients, but to me it starts to feel very CG when it's taken that far.
There are a couple things to note. One is that these women are fairly young and caucasian, so their pores tend to have a small appearance. Above the nose you always see less of a small dimpled structure. It's heavier than I would personally go, but it appears to be paired with sharpening. Sharpening sometimes makes small things such as tiny hairs stand out, so if you go that route, you kind of have to go a bit heavy. Although I can see a couple areas where he appears to have run into trouble deciding what to do, the details are there. There are some things that are extremely annoying to fix such as eyebrows. Some of the whites are a little milky for my taste, and there are a couple where I wouldn't have left the corner of the eye that red. It's a matter of judgement though. If it isn't what you want, you figure out what is the best possible choice for that situation.

Anyway I think he really gets the message across with these, and I tend to regard that as more important than my personal taste in textures. I'm also somewhat jealous of that portfolio. He has worked on some very cool projects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zackahern View Post
I do think you're spot on in terms of masking and/or pathing everything out to start with. I work in commercial retouching and that's usually the very first step before starting any retouching (unless there is compositing involved, which is then the first step). I usually path out everything: skin, clothes, jewelry, hair (masking if necessary), bits of the environment, etc. It just gives you such precise control and to me is really what sets good retouchers apart from great retouchers. It's really why in his fashion images his skin looks so perfect and the clothing is so poppy because they've each been handled separately with a lot of care and attention to detail.
I'm not really an advocate of handling each element separately in its entirety unless their adjustments are drastically different (warm skin, cold background). It's more like a desire to move to an increasingly smaller focus. I mention this frequently when questions come up, as lack of experience often leads people to either try to parse the image in its entirety when determining adjustments or go to the polar opposite of moving along the thing line by line like a printer. Just adhering to a strong methodology and building up some hand steadiness helps so much in the beginning where the tendency to worry about either pixel level stuff or the perfect curve layer doesn't really teach anything.
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  #29  
Old 05-14-2014, 03:45 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Yet another skin question

That is some horrible horrible photography.
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