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Grey skin tones

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Old 12-29-2003, 10:32 PM
Debbie Debbie is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1
Question Grey skin tones

I am relatively new to Photo Elements and restoration in general. I've been successful in restoring a lot of old black and white photos, but find myself struggling with correcting the skin tone in these color photos of my daughter Susie. Many of these digital photos taken by my in-laws show Susie with a very grey skin tone. I've tried the automatic color correction modes and also bought the Power of Hidden Elements book, but can't seem to get it right.

Susie passed away unexpectedly this past year and I'm anxious to salvage every last picture I have of her.

Any thoughts or ideas on how to make these adjustements would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-30-2003, 12:03 AM
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Duv Duv is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Nanaimo, British Columbia
Posts: 1,213
Hi Debbie!

First of all, let me say I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. She is a beautiful young girl.

I use PS CS not Elements but on my screen Susie looks great. The photo appears to be very neutral, that is, without color cast. The R, B and G values are all close to equal. Plus, when I look at the CMYK values it has close to equal values of Magenta and Yellow which again is what you normally want for a Caucasian child. The only thing I could suggest is to reduce the light falloff by moving the Mid Tone slider in Levels to the left in R, B and G.
There are certainly ways to change Susie's sking tone but to me she looks terrific.

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Old 12-30-2003, 03:51 AM
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Paulie Paulie is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Sittingbourne Kent, England
Posts: 40
Hi Debbie

Sorry about your loss, she's a real cutie. Try this to alleviate the grey tone on her skin. Add a new empty layer & set the blending mode to colour. Then choose a light pinky peach colour to paint over the skin. Then adjust the saturation on this layer until you are happy with the tone you are looking for. I tried this on your picture & it seemed to work ok, but it would look better on a higher resolution image than the one you posted.
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Old 12-30-2003, 11:38 AM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Near Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 6,300

Welcome to RetouchPRO. I wish the circumstances that inspired your post didn't pull at my heart like they do.

Before I forget, this site is packed with PSE tips if you haven't found it yet:

As time goes along you'll discover there are sometimes numerous ways to solve a given problem. This is a classic example.

I used a method similar to what Paulie advised. First I added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (click the add adjustment layer icon [1/2-filled in circle] at the bottom of the Layers Palette). Drag the Saturation slider to the right a bit. This will mess up everything else color-wise, temporarily. Don't worry about that for the time being.

Now, CTRL + I (to invert) the H/S layer, undoing the H/S effect.

Set your foreground color to white and choose the brush tool. Turn on the airbrush setting (see

Opacity ~ 50% and flow ~ 50%, start airbrushing on her skin areas, which will selectively reveal the effects of the H/S adjustment layer. Adjust brush opacity/flow if needed. Switch to black and airbrush any areas where you "over did it."

Because some of the areas are nearly 50% gray (neutral), the H/S adjustments won't affect them. So then I added a layer per Paulie's suggestion (blend mode = color) and airbrushed a little skin color in areas I thought needed it.

One way to get decent skin color (and your brush tool has to be the active tool) is while holding down the ALT key (your brush will temporarily turn into the Eyedropper color sampler tool) click on an area of skin that has some color. Doesn't have to be Susie's skin... could be anyone in the image. This will populate the foreground color, which I used to airbrush in

My prayers are with you and your family. Hope this gets you moving.

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Last edited by DannyRaphael; 12-30-2003 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 02-06-2004, 04:33 AM
IAG IAG is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 5

Hello Debbie,

Sorry to hear of your loss.

I don't currently have elements on my system so my apologies if you don't have the same tools.

Here's what I did:

Lassoed her head and arms (left her legs as a comparison)
created a new adjustment layer (color balance)
adjusted the sliders until I got the tones basically where I wanted them to be. (sorry, I'm really beat and already forgot the settings )

If you're still having problems getting the tone right you can e-mail me a full size file, I'll correct it and send it back to you unflattened so you can see what I've done.

All the best,
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Old 02-06-2004, 04:35 AM
IAG IAG is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 5

whoops, I see I left I had my printer calibration on and not my web settings. oh well. she's a touch red. I'm sure you get the idea.

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