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Making good Skin tones

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  • Making good Skin tones

    I've had mixed results trying to use different techniques to make a good skin tone. Do you have a favorite technique for colorizing a face? Or what about color correcting skin tones?


  • #2
    Color correction is probably my weakest area. And skintones are probably the most critical area for this, since everyone has a mental buzzer that goes off if skintones have anything off about them.

    As for colorizing, I'll find a color that I need (from anywhere, but the color charts are very handy. Then I'll either make selections and fill in color mode or paint in color mode (depending on degree and detail). I like using lots of layers so I can go back and balance later.

    Final touch is making a new layer, color blend mode, picking a bright crimson (for caucasian faces), and going over all the highest points (tip of nose, cheeks, forehead, chin, around ears, etc.) with a very soft brush. It looks really ridiculous until you turn down the opacity, then it kind of 'snaps' into realism.
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    • #3
      here's my favorite way of colorizing skin:

      1. convert B&W image to RGB.

      2. using curves, (or sepia tone filter if you have one) I get a sepia tone over the entire image. (see attached image for what I do in curves)

      3. from there, I just make selections of the areas I want to colorize, then fiddle around in curves until I get the color I want.

      Doug's tip about using lots of layers is very true, I put all my major changes on a new layer so I can go back if i need to.

      I did some screenshots so you can see what I'm talking about. (top: original image, then after I've applied sepia tone, then the final image after I've finished colorizing it. Bottom: the RGB channels in curves showing what I used to get the sepia tone in top middle.)

      - David


      • #4
        Good tips. I also found the color chart to be pretty good. Thanks.

        Hey Doug. If you're around, here's what I got when I tried to open the attachment: vBulletin Message
        Invalid attachment specified. If you followed a valid link, please notify the webmaster



        • #5
          You can use the number approach(using the info pallet. 3x3 or 5x5). Cyan is 1/3-1/5 that of the magenta. Magenta and yellow the same. Sometimes the yellow is higher. No black in the skin tones unless the person is tanned or of color(black person). When there is black(k) in the skin tones. Count it as cyan. You can relate these cmyk numbers into rgb. Let's say my readings in cmyk are c 15, m45, y 56, k 1 when I convert to rgb(adobe) they would be r 201, g 160, b 120. Or in lab, L 71, a 17, b 31...... in Hsb, h 30, s 40, b 79. The web colors would be r C9, g AO, b 78. Or you can calibrate your monitor with a calibrating device(high end) and do it by screen for the skin tones,if you dont like dealing with numbers. I like(sometimes) dealing with numbers,not the monitor. This way I get that nights' Lotto/Lottery numbers.


          • #6
            oops I messed up on the attachment, sorry. I'll try again:
            Attached Files


            • #7

              My initial approach for colouring skin is similar to David's:

              change to RGB

              Exclude eyes form selection

              Hue&Saturation with the colorizing box checked

              Move the Hue slider until I find an acceptable tone (usually a warm, slightly reddish sepia)

              Then I adjust the colouring to my taste using either the Curves (RGB Channels)...

              ...or the Selective Colors which let you increase or decrease several colours in the CMYK channels

              Trial and error until satisfied...


              • #8
                For color correction I use a similar approach as John. I go by the numbers ...always. I do not trust my eyes or the monitor when it comes to skin tones. I always sample 3 or 4 places on the skin, make a selection and correct from there. I also find it easier to correct by using CMYK and like John, I pay very close attention to the levels of black and cyan. I usually correct highlights first, by removing most of the cyan and balancing the yellow and magenta. This tends to also correct most of the cast in the midtones and shadows. I doubt my ability is up to professional standards, but I have had very good results with friend's and family’s wedding pictures and snapshots.

                For coloring black and white images, I used to just make a selection and fill a new layer with color and change the blending mode to color. The only problem is that this always gave very "flat" results and never looks very realistic. I have changed my approach with my "Glamour Puss" entry and now paint with the airbrush on separate layers. For skin I mix a different color for the highlights, mid-tones and shadows. Once I get everything colored, I flatten the image and color correct it like a color photo.


                • #9

                  I use a method similar to Greg's, with layers. I am including a couple of charts I use for skin. There are several examples of colorizing in my gallery......a few things.

                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Only 1 went thru

                    Can U only post 1 pic?
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      colorizing b&w, a non tut/tut

                      I don't do tuts, maybe this will help someone. I know it's difficult enough to understand a person in the same room, so.........

                      I start by trying to reduce the blacks in the photo as they can kill ya'. use histogram, or gamma, or .........

                      First layer is for skin1, on this I put a solid coating of color in a light pink/cream (typical movie star) This layer avoids eyes and mouth, oh and nose holes.

                      Next, skin2 shadows, eye makeup, under lower lip, chin, jaw. The eyebrows can be done on this layer or later.

                      You can make a 3rd skin layer for highlited or reflected skin. Tip- The eraser can be used for highlighting too.

                      Lips get their own layer, no teeth yet. I also color gums and toung. This allows you to change lipstick intensity and color ..................

                      Eyes get their own, now it gets tricky. in PSP you have the power to make many colors of eyes, but it won't work on a empty layer. So, you either have to do it on the b&w photo or copy/paste eyes to their own layer. I was painting iris's long before PSP7 so no matter how I make an eye, I put specks and sparkles in it.
                      I also keep an image bank and save big beautiful eye pics for later.

                      The face can be but usually isn't as simple as conveyed above. I paint, do rouge, creases, texture, smooth, soften, smudge, and sweat over faces. I have done 1 in 2 hrs, and I have spent 20. just depends on how much it means to you.

                      Hair deserves it's own chapter.
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        I use actual skin samples.

                        I use them either blurred (if I want a soft effect or non blurred if I want to retain the skin texture)

                        I start with a BW image and convert it to rgb. I find another image that has the skin tones I am looking for. I open the host image and set it side by side with the Bw(rgb) image.
                        With the BW selected I make a new layer and set blen options to color. I then select the color image and use the clone tool with a soft edge brush. I uncheck the box so that the selection stays in the same area. I select the BW image and start cloning by clicking(not dragging) to color the image. If I am working the shadows I then reselect on the host color image to get the darker tones.

                        One the skin is done. I then select the BW image and sepia tone it.



                        • #13

                          Being a little bit obsessed with beautiful, I have been using the sample from another color pic method for a while and even go a step further. I sample from a color pic of the same person, and also copy the color from their eyes i.e. Liv Tyler. I have done several of hers this way. I don't need the charts much any more, as I can choose skin tones right out of the picker. I made a chart one time of Grace Kelly's hair tones and made a chart from it. I have never use the sepia thing and as of yet don't understand it's seeming popularity, but maybe I'll find out. I have tried using a skin texture in PSP but for smoothe human skin, didn't give results. For my tiger pics, I made a texture from fur and used it in PSP to paint. It's a real trip using 3 programs for painting because one forgets the rules from one to another. In PSP, you can sample color with the Ctrl key, but in Painter and PS it's Alt. Enough rambling, not even awake yet.


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