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Skin tone color correction

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  • Skin tone color correction

    Im trying to adjust the skin tone color for this picture. First all, I adjust levels (blacks, white and middle tones) . Then Im trying to adjust the color skin tone, but I dont know if the result is the correct. Anyone know one rule or method to adjust skin tone?
    Thanks folks!
    Last edited by superfrasky; 09-27-2005, 12:14 PM.

  • #2
    Just my practice. the last one I increased sat a little bit

    Attached Files
    Last edited by realaqu; 08-30-2005, 01:58 PM.


    • #3
      hi realaqu thks for you reply. In last work of you, i see too much yellow.
      thks realaqu


      • #4

        It was close to begin with. I keyed on the eye liner. Curves in LAB, USM 20, 10, 0...skip
        Attached Files


        • #5
          hi skipc, which is the process?


          • #6
            Usual cautions apply - monitor calibration, personal preference, etc.

            Blood is red. The skin is just over the blood vessels. Ergo skin has lots of red.

            The most common error I see in skintone color is lack of red. This results in what is called cadaver skin, the person looks half dead, blood drained away.

            Levels can take you only so far. When you get the levels correct and a good black and clean white, look at the midtones. They are off here. The tool I use most frequently is Selective Color. In this case I don't want to touch the blacks or whites as they are fine. Click on the neutrals (won't effect blacks or whites) option fron the drop down at the top of the dialog. Adjust the red slider till the skin starts to pop, then maybe back off a little as one has a tendency to overcompensate. Turn the Preview on/off to check your color. Move to the green and see if any adjusments there help. Then yellow.

            Your picture lacks quite a bit of red and notice that it also has a slight green cast. I added -8 to red (more red) and + 1 or 2 to green (more magenta). A little magenta seems to go a long way while red needs bigger doses. I have the options at the bottom set to Absolute in case you try my numbers.

            Oh, and do this on an adjustment layer so you can take a break and come back latter ane recheck the color and see if you still like it. Our eyes tire and sometime in such a condition what seems to be good color is not. With the adjustment layer it is easy to change our mind.

            Attached Files


            • #7
              Just a couple of thoughts. You have a sampler on the window. The sampler should be on the brightest grey part of the picture that is meaningful. I would take that to be the curtain near the bow. Also, I "think" the walls and trim are a white, if so, perhaps a midtone grey can be found on the trim. Your dark point could be raised a bit..see thru lingerie should be see thru.
              On skin tone, I personally think you have too much Cyan and maybe just a little too much yellow. I usually try to find a light area of skin devoid of cosmetics. My preference is a very slight higher amount of yellow and cyan values of about 1/4 to 1/3 (assuming caucasian). Skin tones, I can only do in CMYK..not a clue in RGB. Hope this helps.

              Attached Files


              • #8
                Duv, be careful when picking a white sampler. What you percieve as white often has a cast to it. For example, the window curtain is probably an "off" white, slightly warm. This will throw the rest of the balance off if you make it truely white.

                However, your suggestion is a good one for a starting point. Do what you did and then take a look at the skin tones. Correct from there for the skin tones. People will accept a slightly off color background, but not bad skin tones. Your version still seems to lack enough red.

                I have found that using Selective color, first on the whites, then neutrals, then blacks to work well. Often after you do the whites followed by the neutrals, some of the lighter grays get a cast to them. If you go back and readjust the whites, you can get rid of the cast with no noticeable effect on the neutrals. Don't know why this works, but it often does and I like it.



                • #9
                  Hi Larry

                  When comparing our images, I might in fact prefer yours. The oddity is that your image has more yellow than mine, therefore "less" magenta. Secondly, windows..curtains. The point is, why would the windows be 242, 242, 242? The curtains may be white, the poster, you might have a better idea but from our stand point it's guesswork. Do you blow out that which isn't important such as the windows? Just a thought.

                  Mmm..also, maybe a high key would work.

                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by Duv; 08-30-2005, 11:13 PM.


                  • #10
                    Hi friends, and thanks all by the replies. Very interesting leuallen method and so your Duv. I was searching and found this interesting link. This is the link. I hope that can help us all.


                    • #11
                      I don't follow what you mean by blow out the windows. In this case the windows are blown out, nothing you can do about it.

                      I would prefer if I were shooting the picture in the studio and had control of the lights, to place the window exposure so that it would print at about 248. I dislike white backgrounds that are printed at 255. It is too stark. There should be a touch of tonality there. Maybe it is my background. I used to work with an internally known wedding portrait photographer, know for his hi key full length brides. He used 4x5, tungsten light, daylight film with balancing filter, and about 12 lights. His backgrounds had tonality, a creamy look, that was absolutely beautiful.

                      Try printing a white background hi key with large white borders. At 255 you cannot tell where the image stops and border begins. At 245-48, there is a slight demarcation. It looks much better.

                      The windows in this image fall into this category.

                      Now back to color balancing. In this case, it is unimportant the exact shade of the curtains and their shadows, as long as the color is not too far off. My color balance as a magenta bias in the curtains. If it were important to have accurate background colors, I would first balance for the skin tones. Then place an adjustment layer above the image and balance for the background. This would throw the skintones off, right. So use the adjustment layer mask, and a soft, large, black brush, and paint in the skintone areas. The black will hide the background color adjustment and let the original skintone balance show through. This is really fairly simple as the mask does not have to be very accurate.

                      I recently did a similar technique, but with saturation. A family group outdoors in shade with full sun behind. These were farm people, so the mens complextion was very red, the women much less so, and the children lily white. Some of the women has on bright red outfits. My camera tends to oversaturate reds, so a color balanced image had too much saturation in the mens faces and red outfits, while the childred looked good. I reduce saturation by about 6% using the channel mixer method. Then applied a mask and painted in the childrens skin tones and any other areas that needed more saturation. Took maybe 5 min. and the picture was much improved. There was much more balance between the men and children.

                      Point is that you have to sometimes consider saturation as well as color balance.



                      • #12
                        I have gotten away from reliance on the droppers unless I "know" I have a "pure white" or "pure black". Neutral grays are also often scarce in photos outside of concrete and tires.

                        The main subject of this image is the skin tone and hair. If that looks "right" then the picture is "good". Don't force an off color cast by assuming curtains are neutral (unless you know them to be) or by picking some other object that will adversely influence an accurate color balance.

                        Fleshtones vary, of course, but a dark skin will be somewhere around 15C/50M/65Y. Lighter skin Caucasians around 6C/30M/35Y. Hispanic or Asian skin runs around the same as Caucasian with maybe a touch more yellow. African-American skin varies all over the place, with lighter skin comparable to Hispanics and yellow higher than magenta. As the skin darkens, magenta and yellow come closer together with no limit for cyan and black.

                        One of the neatest tools for working with skintones is a Photoshp plug in called Curvemeister that I've found to be quick and easy. The new version 2 has "pins" of varying skintone colors that can be used like the black/white/neutral droppers in PS to adjust skintones as you would neutralize concrete to gray. By having accurate pins for several common objects (skin, blue sky, etc.) you can avoid hunting in vain for that true neutral gray that never seems to be there when you need it.


                        • #13
                          Re: Skin tone color correction

                          I just signed up here hoping someone can help me. Every time I get a pic of my husband his skin is too red. He has very red skin, and even the tan looks red. How would I go about giving him "normal" skin colour? Also, how do you get rid of tan lines? I'm attaching a pic that I have been working on.
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            Re: Skin tone color correction


                            What you have to do is correct each part separately by masking. Once you get the color right, you can deal with the un-even tan with dodge and burn. I used a new layer filled with 50% grey set to softlight blending mode. Then painted with a 8% opacity brush, white to lighten and black to darken. You should be able to do a better job with the larger picture.

                            The number 1 is to create a mask if its not already there.
                            Number 2 is to make adjustments (like the hue/sat) in a new layer.

                            In the mask, Black for hide, white to show. Just click on it to activate the mask then paint. If a spot needs only a little correction, then paint with a low opacity brush.

                            Good luck,
                            Attached Files
                            Last edited by igot2pman; 01-22-2009, 09:52 AM.


                            • #15
                              Re: Skin tone color correction

                              Originally posted by lynnns View Post
                              I just signed up here hoping someone can help me. Every time I get a pic of my husband his skin is too red. He has very red skin, and even the tan looks red. How would I go about giving him "normal" skin colour? Also, how do you get rid of tan lines? I'm attaching a pic that I have been working on.
                              Lynnns, welcome to RetouchPro. Have a look around and enjoy. Nice to have you onboard.

                              You might want to start your own "New Thread" in the Image Help area located HERE.

                              Posting a larger image would be helpful along with what type of retouching software you have available to use, will help focus the tips to the programs you have available to work with.

                              Just to whet your appetite... a very quick sample, using PS7, of what you can do...
                              Attached Files


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