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Question about flattening layers and combining effects with portrait retouch

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  #1  
Old 09-04-2004, 10:14 PM
tom ingrassia tom ingrassia is offline
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Unhappy Question about flattening layers and combining effects with portrait retouch

I am having trouble retouching portraits like I see in the many books I have read. They state to make copies of the background layer and name them (example: eyes, hair, skin etc....).

Then they state that after each of the individual layer retouching is complete, I am to flatten the layers to combine all of the separate retouching layers.

Of course if each layer is at 100% fill, the only retouching seen is from the top layer because it covers all of the other changes in the lower layers.

Why do these books state this? What am I missing?

I just want to keep certain retouching separate as mentioned above and then combine all of it. If I decrease the opacity/fill % of each layer, some changes come through after flattening but not what I wanted and saw when I made the specific adjustments.

Why do portrait photographer retouching books talk about retouching with separate background layers when the effects can't me merged because each layer is opaque?
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  #2  
Old 09-05-2004, 12:39 AM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Offhand, I don't know why you would take this approach. I can see making "new layers" to isolate changes to various portions of the image, but not individual copies of the Background.

If could post the specific book(s) and page(s), perhaps others could reference their own copy and try to untangle the areas that are unclear to you.
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  #3  
Old 09-05-2004, 01:34 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Hi Tom,

Welcome to RP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom ingrassia
I am having trouble retouching portraits like I see in the many books I have read. They state to make copies of the background layer and name them (example: eyes, hair, skin etc....).
It can be very frustrating getting familiar with Layers ....
I don't know about other books since I have only Katrin Eismann's .... there, she advises to name your 'correction' Layers : eyes, skin, hair etc. instead of the default: Layer 1, 2, 3 .... as to know exactly what was done where ... but that doesn't mean they are all copies of your background Layer ......

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom ingrassia
Then they state that after each of the individual layer retouching is complete, I am to flatten the layers to combine all of the separate retouching layers.

Of course if each layer is at 100% fill, the only retouching seen is from the top layer because it covers all of the other changes in the lower layers.

Why do these books state this? What am I missing?

I just want to keep certain retouching separate as mentioned above and then combine all of it. If I decrease the opacity/fill % of each layer, some changes come through after flattening but not what I wanted and saw when I made the specific adjustments.

Why do portrait photographer retouching books talk about retouching with separate background layers when the effects can't me merged because each layer is opaque?
I usually don't do it, but, after each correction you could 'merge down' (the top Layer will merge with the underlying one) and continue your retouching from there ....

What I usually do is: if after having accumulated a lot of Layers with different Opacities and Blendings, my next retouching step requires merging all the corrections on one Layer .... that's when I go for 'merge visible'... here is a tip on how to do it without losing any of your previous steps ... and here you can find a nice tutorial about using Layers ....

Hope this helps ....


Last edited by Flora; 09-05-2004 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 09-05-2004, 04:19 AM
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Leah Leah is offline
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I'm not sure which particular books you are referencing, but the two ways of approaching this are:

1. Make multiple copies right at the start and name them as you have suggested, but mask them so only the appropriate feature is revealed

2. (the way I work) make duplicate layers as you go, so you can see the effects. So, for example, I'd take the background, duplicate for a "skin tecture layer" (actually, probably in practice several layers to contribute to skin texture), then merge visible layers into a new layer while keeping the individual layers intact (you can do that in PS), probably rename that as a "working" layer, duplicate that as an "eyes" layer to work on the eyes, etc. I think this general style of working (how many layers, how much duplication, etc., being a matter of personal preference and system resources) is generally what the books recommend in preference to creating all those duplicate layers right at the start.
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Old 09-05-2004, 07:51 AM
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byRo byRo is offline
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Layers 101

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom ingrassia
Of course if each layer is at 100% fill, the only retouching seen is from the top layer because it covers all of the other changes in the lower layers.

Why do these books state this? What am I missing?
Hi Tom,
I think maybe you're missing some basic information about layers.

I like to understand layers as sheets of paper....so let´s take it that way and see if it helps:

Duplicating the original (sheet of paper) is like taking a perfect photocopy, on plain paper and putting on top of the original. As you said, if you do a stack of these you're only going to see what you did with the uppermost sheet.

Make a new (transparent) layer is like stacking a sheet of perfectly clear transparency (as in overhead projectors). Now what you draw here will be superimposed on the original.

Make an adjustment layer. Just about all of the important adjustment layers start off completely 'transparent'. The easiest to visualize is 'Solid Color' which would be a colored film stacked on top.

Cut-Out. When you want to do something on just one part (hair, nose...) you take your photocopy, cut out the bit you want and stick it on top. Now the rest of the underneath layers comes through, except here. (you could do this really cutting out the original - the preferred way is to use a mask)

....OK, almost there.....

Merging. Take a copy of everything you've got so far. Throw away everything you had and start with the new copy. Don't want to throw away? See the links on Flora's post.

OK, Layers 101 finished. Now for the test...

Have fun,

Roland
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2004, 03:05 PM
tom ingrassia tom ingrassia is offline
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Where I got confused with layers for portrair retouching

Per request, the book by Al Audleman titled:

Photographer's guide to the digital portrait start to finish with adobe photoshop
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  #7  
Old 09-06-2004, 08:43 AM
tom ingrassia tom ingrassia is offline
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Talking It has clicked!

Thanks everyone...I finally realized the difference between copying a background and adding a blank layer.

I also found that I can copy selections from the background and use paste into in a new blank layer.

I'm getting there.
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  #8  
Old 09-06-2004, 06:01 PM
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FrannyMae FrannyMae is offline
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Tom, thought I would chime in with a great shortcut for copying a selection onto a new layer: Once you have made your selection, just use CTRL J to create a new layer with just the selected info! This way there is no cutting/pasting involved!
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  #9  
Old 09-10-2004, 07:22 PM
tom ingrassia tom ingrassia is offline
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Thanks Franny!
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