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Inserting myself: HOW not to look fake?

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  • Inserting myself: HOW not to look fake?

    Hello All,

    I'm new in this restoration, retouching and manipulation thing and i'm struggling with some techniques ...
    I would like to put myself in a situation (picture) that i'm not originally in. Attached is my best shot and it's not good enough ...
    Any suggestions to make myself more "into" the picture? I look like i've been put there (true!)...

    Thanks ..
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Welcome to RetouchPro quarte!

    One thing I notice right away is that your shadow does not match those of the other two people in the photo. The woman appears to have a slight shadow on the left side. Your shadow appears much larger and all the way around you. So, try to match the shadow.

    On a similar note, you don't look quite as contrasty as the rest of the photo, so try upping the contrast on your image a bit to match the rest of the photo.



    • #3
      Hey man. I don't think it looks too bad. The shadow is slightly off but not so you would notice it if you did not know. I think the problem is that the pose is a bit wooden for a candid shot which is what this looks like.

      A subtle adjustment of exposure with levels or curves would do wonders. If the image of you is a different layer - check the levels of the background layer, and adjust the other layer to match.

      Good luck


      • #4
        I agree with Jeanie - it is that shadow that gives it away. You have done an outstanding job on matching the colour balance and lighting conditions, and a very good job on cutting yourself out, but no one in the real world has that kind of a shadow all around them. I would suggest looking at the shadow that the girl casts in the original - direction, size, fuzziness, rate of fall-off - and using that as a model. If you post a slice of the original that includes the original shadow some people here can possibly give you some specific suggestions on how to do that.

        As a subsidiary point, the style of the elements doesn't mesh brilliantly - the other people in the shot are caught off guard in a casual moment while you're looking straight at the camera and giving a moody expression. I don't know if you shot the photo of yourself specifically to go into this, but if you did it might be worth experimenting with reshooting yourself so that you are looking at the girl to establish more realistic eye contact.

        Also (this didn't strike me until I started analysing it) based on the shape of the room, where you are standing you would almost certainly be touching the cupboard or wall, even if only with your elbow, which you clearly aren't. Again, if reshooting were a possibility you could maybe add extra conviction to your pose by having some object there for you to half-lean on.

        In summary, it is that shadow which provides the first cue that something is not quite right, and then once the brain is looking for further evidence of what is wrong it finds it in the small inconsistencies of pose. I think if you got the shadow right you'd get away with the posing points as they are very minor, though.


        • #5
          I have to tell you, from someone who says they are only beginning with this, you did a great job here. The most remarkable thing, and this may have been a fluke, is the jpeg artifact matches. That's one of the biggest mistakes people make when they do this type of thing. If you cropped out the guy on the left, I would bet that if you showed this to anyone - and I mean anyone - they would not know it was a fake unless they were looking for it.
          I still say it's fine as it is, and the shadow issue is minor, but if you wanted to improve on it, you just need to imagine how the shadows would fall. Here's the trick here - the farther your arm is away from the wall, the more different and spread out the shape of the shadow will be.
          Also, look at your face, then look at her face. There is a very minor difference in the lighting. This difference is so minor it's almost not worth mentioning, but in the future keep a look out for this.
          Your body language doesn't match the mood of the room. You're too tense. In the sample below I shrunk your head, and lowered and broadened your shoulders, messed with the shadows and the faces.
          Take it or leave it, cuz you did a very, very good job. Keep it up.

          Attached Files


          • #6

            Thanks to all who replied. I'm very pleased with your replies and suggestions ...
            Here, some explanations:
            - I wasn't really trying to fit myself in that picture, the aim was just to practice some techniques.
            - My picture was taken at 3am when i was very mood and tired before a meeting on the next day. And it was the only picture available for trying those techniques.

            I'll use all the techniques and tips sent to try and do a better manipulation next time.



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