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Why is skin/face so difficult?

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  • Why is skin/face so difficult?

    Here is a picture that was shot in a hotel room using only available light, probably a sick mixture of various temperatures.

    Here's what I did.
    - De-noised
    - Using Doug's Colour cast quick fix ( I picked the yellowish tone from above the woman's head, inverted it (deep blue) and applied it in a layer, Mode Color with approx 45% Opacity. The picture turned neutral, sort of.
    - Created a Curves adjustment layer, Mode Screen. Masked everything but the woman. Lifted midtones a little.
    - Various Adjustment layers, Curves.

    Her hair has started to turn grey, so it should not be dark. It looks more or less right. But her skin looks doughy and grey. I'm unable to give the skin a fresh glow, looking natural.

    Why is this so difficult, sigh?

    Is it because I'm not doing it right, or is it due to camera limitations? The Blue channel looks absolutely horrendous in the original to the left. Try, and shudder!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    I think, using "fill-flash"(or reflecter) can get more desired result.
    # Her head looks quite under-exposed.
    # the wall is much more bright than her.
    (I think in this case...just lifting ISO values make a washed out BG)


    • #3
      Well yes of course
      But then I wouldn't have had to retouch it!


      • #4
        Sorry, I hope you don't get me wrong. I didn't meant for hurt your feeling.
        In my case, before color-correction, I do exposure adjustment.

        To reduce contrast between a figure and background.
        I often use a layer mask like below.

        1. Ctrl+Alt+~ 2. Enter Quick Mask mode 3. Invert and Gaussian Blur
        4. Exit Quick Mask mode...then make an adjustment layer.

        Reference tutorial : No shadow(AKA 'Fill-Flash effect)


        • #5
          I think it's that blue channel that is really messing up your attempt - it is in a very bad way, isn't it?

          I did a partial replace on the blue channel - blurred the head area of the blue channel to reduce the banding and then combined with around 25% opacity of the red channel to create a new blue channel. That didn't make the image look that different at that point, but it did make it easier to apply a colour correction afterwards.

          As far as the colour correction goes, I just used Variations (Midtones, slider somewhere around the middle, 1 x More Blue and 1 x Lighter). It's very very far from perfect, but I think it's better.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            I made a highlight curves adjustment in RGB to neutral 237. Converted to CMYK and sampled light portion of neck. Changed values to 24% 43% 52% 2%. This should give you a good "base" for Caucasian skin. With the lower magenta and yellow values to Leah's, you also get a bluer white stucco background.

            Attached Files


            • #7
              I replaced the ugly Blue channel with the Lightness channel from a duped image changed to LAB mode. Then I did a "version of flash-fill" - I just duped a layer of the newly corrected image -> Gaussian blurred pretty strongly and inverted and set it on Soft Light layer blend. I merged those layers and then ran a Levels adjustment to lighten the image and bring up the yellow tone a bit. I copied the Red channel from the corrected image and added it as a separate layer set to Luminosity layer blend (read that at, I think) to give her complexion a bit of a glow.
              Attached Files


              • #8
                Thanks, folks!

                My wife says I tend to stick too long to established thought patterns
                That is why it's so incredibly useful with all these impulses. Gets me going on a new tangent.

                For a long time I have thought that such a technique might be possible, but haven't managed to create it. You had the tutorial link! Vici!

                As much as I love my Olympus, the noise it produces under low light conditions is ... sad. Now if only Minolta could get their act together on the A2 (heat sink!!!). I have thought many times about reproducing the offending channel (sometimes it is Red), but the task is too daunting. Ok, it can be done. Thanks!

                Reference point for Caucasian skin. Of course! I KNEW that, and had forgotten! I also have several flash photos of her, even from he same chair, so a reference was readily available. Duh! Beginner's fumblings.

                Another way to reproduce the worthless Blue channel and lots of ideas! I particularly liked the "glow" treatment.

                There are so many impulses here that I'll be stuck for days just digesting. I need to look into the nature of skin too. And ...
                1) My Katrin Eismann book arrived from yesterday. Yessssss!
                2) The piano tuner will be here in an hour
                3) I've promised to play Vivaldi with the orchestra tonight and I haven't yet taped the notes! (Let alone practised...)
                4) Doug just informed me that the Tutorial System should be up and running again. I have a tutorial to publish, believe it or not!


                • #9
                  Hi all,

                  Lots of good responses, I have been busy but popped in for a minute and could not resist putting in my two cents (I have missed you guys) ...

                  -Used Apply Image to past 70% of the RBG combined image into the Blue channel in screen mode.
                  -Curves adjustment in screen mode to lighten

                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by roger_ele
                    -Used Apply Image to past 70% of the RBG combined image into the Blue channel in screen mode.Roger
                    Oooooh, that was devious!!!

                    And I forgot to add in my last post:
                    This was a veeeeeeeeery easy image. I have some real disasters that I simply have to repair. Shot at 1/60 when the correct should have been 1/10, fluorescent lighting, same camera. So I need all the help I can get. I think the reconstruction of channels is probably the only way to go, as I've tried "everything else". Fortunately, the first shots in the series were correct, so I have a colour reference.


                    • #11
                      Congratulations to myself!

                      I've been promoted from Junior Member to Member!
                      Didn't notice when that happened.


                      • #12
                        Like the others, I replaced the blue channel. Mine was 30% from the red channel and 40% from green. I then used a histogram adjustment, contrast adjustment, a very low opacity contrast mask. From these layers I built a new image, added CJ's red channel/luminosity blend layer, and finally ran Noise Ninja to get this image.
                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by roger_ele
                          -Used Apply Image to past 70% of the RBG combined image into the Blue channel in screen mode.
                          -Curves adjustment in screen mode to lighten

                          Hi Roger, I just found this:


                          • #14
                            ... ok ... but don't tell anyone ...
                            ...sshhhhhh...(raised finger to lips)

                            that was from my younger days when I had more time to play
                            (I have had one birthday since then)
                            maybe soon
                            I keep feeling like I am catching up
                            but I felt that way 2 weeks ago...


                            • #15
                              I thought I'd have one more go at this. I made the assumption that the background is not yellow, not cream, but white. I changed to LAB and lightened the B/W channel by 45% to reduce facial shadows. Copied, changed back to RGB and pasted into blue channel. Usually I define Highlights, shadows then mids but this time I neutralized the mids then adjusted the highlights and shadows. This gave me neutral values throughout but grey skin tones. Used Magic Wand on Background, inverted, changed to CMYK and changed skin tone values to 12/25/33/0.

                              Attached Files


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