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makeover hell

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  • makeover hell

    Well I’m embarrassed to say that I took this picture. It was on location at my aunt’s house and I had a flash that fell and broke on me so I didn't have to good fill light. Then on top of they where all drinking and since it was 102 degrees outside they where all sweaty. Nothing like shooting sweaty drunk ppl with a broken light lol.

    Any heres what I got and my attempt to retouch this bad boy. retouch hell

    The makeup that she had on didn’t match her tan so that was fun to deal with. I used clone brush, neat Image and the technique here to help smooth out the skin textures and modeling I was getting.

    Do you think I went too far? Does it look to plastic like? Actually it doesn’t look bad buy itself, just when you compare it next to the original it looks over done. Maybe if I add makeup? Well let me know what you guys think.

    btw Does anybody know a place or book on applying makeup digitally?

  • #2
    It's really not bad. Maybe you just went overboard a little. Removing every single line, especially in older faces, gives it that plastic look. You might try layering the two and using a blend mode to achieve something in-between.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning


    • #3
      I agree with Doug.
      It does look a little over done. One of the things that stands out the most to me is the lack of shine on her skin. I think it should have some. It looks healthy and balances out the shadows.
      I'm sure if you layer this over the original and adjust the opacity, it will look great.


      • #4
        The lack of highlights and the fact that "most" of the character lines (wrinkles, moles) no longer exist does give a rather flat appearance. Both of these things can easily be fixed with little effort, seeing you did such a fine job on everthing else.
        The background is a definite improvement. I would have to agree with the other comments concerning the facial features.
        Katrin Eismann has a section in her book where she touchs on glamour and fashion retouching.
        Last edited by LQQKER; 11-06-2003, 09:42 PM.


        • #5
          I'm personally not too bothered by the lack of shine but I agree that the problem is you've gone too far in getting rid of the lines. Katrin Eismann suggests reducing the length of the wrinkle and softening what remains, rather than removing it altogether, since wrinkles get longer and deeper with time - if you keep the wrinkles in but make them shorter and shallower then you are keeping the person the same but taking several years off.

          For example, try copying your "after" image as a new layer on top of your "before" image at around 70% opacity. I think you will find that that gives a more "natural" appearance.

          We've had the question about resources for digital makeup in another thread and so far as I remember no one could come up with a good resource. I personally would say that once you've fixed the "fake" look here you don't need any additional makeup - you're working with a nice muted color palette that works very well with the image and more makeup would be "too much".


          • #6
            I agree with you all. When I started out on this project I wanted to see if I can remove all the age lines and now I found out that it just doesnt look natural.

            On my second try I added some highlights to the face adding a duplicate layer and changing the blend to screen and masking all out. Ithen painted the highlights back in. Looked better put still not right.

            On my final I did what Leah said to do. I started with the original and put my first try on top of that and dropped the opacity to 80%. Looked Great but then I duplicated that image and did what I said on my second try to add somemore highlights and ended up with my final that I am very happy with.

            Thanks Leah for the advice. You saved me hours of work here. Actually thank you all for your input.

            all four images


            • #7
              Originally posted by Leah
              We've had the question about resources for digital makeup in another thread and so far as I remember no one could come up with a good resource.
              I found a tutorial on digital makeup at

              I don't know if you can translate it to other image editing programs, but it's the best tutorial for Photoshop digital makeup that I've found.


              • #8
                Thanks for the link charityk.


                • #9

                  Doesn't anyone like airbrushing besides me?


                  • #10
                    Excellent results!

                    Pierre, I don't think anyone uses an "airbrush" technique, as it doesn't produce realistic results.


                    • #11

                      I read "excellent results," but I also read that airbrushing doesn't produce realistic results. Can you elaborate on that please?

                      Also, pre-digital techinque used airbrushing an awful lot. It's my impression that it's an integral technique with photographs. Why am I feeling confused here?



                      • #12
                        Well, I never knew anybody who airbrushed anybody's face. Airbrushing was for smoothing out wrinkles in a brides dress, or for making walls, etc. Faces, just dye and a paintbrush, maybe dry dyes. Even when they retouched traditionally for Playboy covers, it was with dye and a brush on transparencies. Really overdone, but still just dye and brush. Airbrush was for making things flat.


                        • #13
                          Well, all I can say is that I am quite familiar with traditional photography using airbrushing on faces, especially portraiture. When I find something new I investigate it for myself before I decide on using it or not, I base my thinking on fact. I let my work speak for itself and I measure my results by the clients responses and the money that they pay me. Quite frankly, using Gaussian blur on faces makes for a very strange result in my opinion.


                          • #14

                            I would be interested in finding out more about your airbrushing technique. I find that the technique that I linked to earlier in this thread works really well for me but as you say:

                            Originally posted by pierresplace
                            When I find something new I investigate it for myself before I decide on using it or not, I base my thinking on fact.
                            I think we should all be big enough to try things out before rushing judgement calls. Do you have a tutorial you could point me in the direction of? Or some helpful tips to get me started?

                            Thanks Alot.


                            • #15
                              Pierre, if you would like to elaborate on your airbrushing technique in a tutorial or example image (maybe one of the retouching challenges?) then we would all be interested to see the details of how you do it and the results you get. All of the images you have in your gallery, while they are very impressive, are too low-res to get a clear idea of what the skin texture looks like. The photos on your website are slightly higher res and I do find the skin texture a little too strangely flat for my personal taste, but since they are only low-res I wouldn't like to prejudge what the full-size images look like - I know from experience that a lot of subtle effects can be lost in resizing an image.

                              Most of us have investigated airbrushing for ourselves before deciding not to use it. For example, I personally find I get much better results using a technique recommended by Lee Varis ( and documented in the second edition of Photoshop Restoration and Retouching that involves use of the median, gaussian blur, noise and emboss filters in different combinations on different layers.

                              At the moment the facts I have available on which to base my thinking are (1) the fact of my own experience with what I can produce with the different techniques, and (2) the fact that you like airbrushing. Without any more to go on than that I'm afraid fact (1) is going to win out...

                              This is a genuine request - as I said above, it's clear from the photos in your gallery that you have an eye for an effective image, and I would be interested to see your retouching technique at high resolution, and to compare it with the results from other techniques.


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