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photo 2 air-brushed! help!

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  • photo 2 air-brushed! help!

    how do u make pic look airbrushed?
    in this pic,
    specifically, the lower cd cover, how did the artist make it look so much like an airbrushed peace? look at the color scheme and everything. its sooo nice. please share your knowledge with a newbie.
    thanks ya'll!

  • #2
    Hi NeX,
    Welcome to Retouch Pro. On the example you showed, I believe those are airbrushed. The thing I notice with airbrushing, is the skin is usually alot smoother and there aren't so many little blemishes or pours that are present in a photo. Also the colors are greatly saturated and well as an exageration in the highlight to shadow. Since I've never tried that to a photo, I can't really help you any more than that. Hopefully someone else will have better information than I do on the subject.


    • #3
      ok thanks.
      i know for a fact that that was a real photo.


      • #4
        Hi NeX,

        DJ didn't mean that it had been airbrushed from scratch...

        Using the airbrush tool in Photoshop on a digital photo file (or in the analogue world, using a real airbrush on a real photo) you can build up a series of layers so that while you've started from the original photo what you've ended up with is almost all airbrushed.

        The key to doing that is
        (1) having a very good idea of the effect you're after (especially lighting etc.),
        (2) using a LOT of layers (potentially one for each individual colour you airbrush on),
        (3) selecting a lot of different colours to airbrush on,
        (4) having almost infinite patience and
        (5) a big load of artistic talent.

        It's not the technique that's difficult as such, it's having the talent to do it, which is why it's difficult to offer concrete guidelines. You keep airbrushing until it looks right...

        I've attached a sort-of-example of the results of fifteen minutes or so airbrushing and blending on layers over a sample photo - I don't have a big load of artistic talent and DEFINITELY don't have infinite patience, but I hope you can see how someone who did (you, with luck...) could build up the effect to the sort of thing you're after.

        A handy hint with the colours, though, is to add a Color Balance adjustment layer and do opposite things to the highlights and shadows - for example if you give the highlights more yellow and green, give the shadows more blue and magenta.
        Sorry I can't be of more help...
        Attached Files


        • #5
          I think the trick to achieving an airbrushed look, is not so much a soft blur, but actual airbrushing techniques. Most of the airbrush work I've seen does not look blurred of softened, but rather, smooth. Not ever having done it myself, I imagine that a lot of masking is being done.
          I would suggest visiting some traditional airbrushing technique sites, to see how airbrushing is actually done, and then apply those techniuques using the tools supplied by Photoshop.
          The other thing I think is characteristic of these is that the colors are more limited that in an actual photo, in the sense that a face may only have so many variations of color, whereas a photo could have millions.


          • #6
            DJ , Leah and Vikki, you all answered correctly, airbrushing is an art form, that takes talent to do properly. A steady hand and eye are essential. I had the opertunity to see someone do it and tried to duplicate what she did and all I did was scratch my head after. It is used in two instances, that I know of. One is to touch up and color 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 transperancies and photographs. The second is for graphic arts, in which the imagination goes wild and all your creative talents come out. Anything goes. What nex showed is for advertising purposes and numerous layers are used to lay one color over another to make a third or an effect. KInd of like useing acetates sheets and breaking down a subject in thirds and putting a color in each one and then a last one which lets the other come thru but adds a glow or irredecent effect.The thing that interested me the most is the airbrush is a small bottle of ink with a pen like top, which operates with air and they can draw a straight line with no jaggies. A good air brusher can spell your name free hand and have each letter look the same size as the last one. In photoshop it shoud be easier to do as we can use masks and selection tools to isolate areas. Right now it is easier to use the fill tech rather then airbrush to get a smoother skin color. BUt with digiital the real thing is a past art form, and I do not think to many are practiceing it that much.


            • #7
              thanks u all. i think ya'll broke it down pretty good. i'ma go try it myself.
              Leah - i think u almost got it. good job!


              • #8
                Hi NeX, nice to see some 'real' artistic airbrushing for a change instead of the usual requests on this technique for pinup style airbrushing.

                Some random thoughts:




       (PC app only) There are ways to do this for Mac users who are feeling left out - using native tools in Photoshop, but it's nice to have a filter for the task for the PC users.

                Some visual aids to 'layering' on the paint...the links page will open up other artists sites, this was just a bookmark that I had in relation to painting in hair (one of the better tutorials out there on faking hair).

                I would recomment exploring some Photoshop tools such as smudge tool, smart blur filter, posterize, history brush and art history brush in addition to other methods. You can layer down many different filterings and treatments as well as painting in the various layers, opacities and blends etc. Smoothing out low frequency areas and adding shading while keeping the crispness of sharper lines is an obvious thing to keep in mind. Blending modes would be a key thing too with the painting and layering etc.

                A tablet and pressure sensitive pen are very handy for all this...

                I agree with the general thoughts - although the computer can help a lot with this stuff, it will probably come down to more hand work.

                A very talented 'old school' airbrush artist once rented space in a studio that I worked for a while back - watching him work was sheer magic...then he discovered digital. Not nearly as fun to watch from my point of view.


                Stephen Marsh.


                • #9
                  Hi Stephen, thanks for the tutorials. I had already had clen skin and find it works only on really good images. Usually you do not need the double. Some times it put artifacts into the picture but so does a soft focus effect. I would love to learn how to air brush in Photoshop.


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