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Improve portrait color

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  • Improve portrait color

    Am sending the original scan of a color portrait. It needs a few touchups and is in good shape but I dont' like the facial color look. Mother didn't wear much makeup and had lovely skin . This looks pasty to me . I guess I would like to hilite it.
    I am combining two portraits into one and will include my latest version. Maybe I am just being too picky because I never did like this photo of my mother.
    I still need to fill in some color to extend the dress and suit and make a new vignette. But first I want to finish the face.
    Thanks for any suggestions.

  • #2
    Don't see the attachments > Will try to upload them again.
    Is there any preference over PSD or JPG???

    OOPs file is a tad too large.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      I did a big cheat quick fix attempt that actually did seem to give a good result on this picture - I duplicated the background layer and used the Xero Radiance plugin (available free from with settings of Strangeness 195, Charm 117, Truth 16 and Beauty 222. Then set Opacity to 86% and added a Layer Mask that I painted out (more or less) over the hair, dress and background.

      I've taken to using this plugin on portrait shots that look a bit "flat" without my being able to work out why, and often get good results if I play around a bit and layer the result at less than 100% opacity (another good approach is often to duplicate the background layer, run the Radiance plugin on the duplicate, then set Blend Mode to Soft Light and Opacity to around 30%).
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Leah; 04-07-2004, 11:48 AM.


      • #4
        Hi Cinderella, I agree with Leah... the main issue for me is the flatness -- low contrast in the faces mainly. You can achieve the same effect the Leah did with basic Photoshop techniques... I used unsharp mask at large radius. In this case at 72dpi, I used 50 pixels at 50% -- you will need to adjust these numbers on your high resolution original. I duplicated the layer, USM, then masked off the hair, clothes and background so the USM applied only to the faces and skin areas. It's a subtle change, but...

        Attached Files


        • #5
          I achieved this brighter cheery look by first adjusting highlight of background to blown out 255 and the dark point of her hair as dark as possible while retaining detail. This gave me maximum overall contrast. Then use Render: Lighting Effects: Spotlight - with spotlight on lower left cheek, intensity 13, focus 100.

          Attached Files


          • #6
            Hi everybody,

            what I did was:
            • Selective Colors Adjustment Layer to correct the colours.
            • Filter>Distort>Diffuse Glow to get a 3D 'feeling'.
            • Merged visible, duplicated the Layer > Blending Soft Light, strongly blurred and reduced the Opacity a bit, to give a bit more strenght to the shadows.
            • A very soft USM for sharpening.

            Great link Leah .... thank you!
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Flora; 04-08-2004, 02:44 AM.


            • #7
              To me, the colors look dark (although a lot of earlier photos do). I wanted to try lightening the coloring and image in general. I think on the original version, the lip and cheek color may be throughing the coloring off.
              Attached Files


              • #8
                WOW A big thanks to everyone for providing so many techniques to improve the photo.
                Leah, I just love the names on the settings of the radiance filter. Thanks for the link. I need to read his directions more carefully to see if I missed a preview button.
                I am going to try each technique. Every one was an improvement. I think getting more contrast was a theme in each.
                Vikki, could you tell me how you lightened it up. ?I like your comment about the cheek and lip color. And the way the new color looks.
                I plan to go back to the beginning and work on each person separatly before I combine the photos.
                Lots of work ahead for me. Thanks again.


                • #9
                  Regarding lightening up the image:
                  I desaturated your original, lightened it using levels, and recolored it.
                  I think the method you are using for coloring might be causing the darkening. How are you coloring?


                  • #10
                    These are the original photos I scanned which were in color but now that I am looking carefully, I believe tinted by the photographer because on the back of the photos is a list of colors used. And when I tilt the photo I can see that it looks painted or tinted.
                    Does this change how I should work on them. Probably explains the overall even look.


                    • #11
                      There is a definite "dullness" to the image, which is probably due to the tinting.
                      It really shouldn't change your workflow.
                      There seems to be an overall muddy, magenta cast to the image.
                      Be carefull when trying to adjust the contrast. Try using levels or curves to brighten up the image.
                      Or, play around with the "Variations" adjustments. You may be able to improve the whole image right from there.
                      Also, to adjust specific areas and colors, try layering a transparent layer over the image, set to "color". Pick a warmer tint, and carefully color over the areas.


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