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  • Skin blemish repair - where to start?

    I'm reading post after post here and model mayhem and some blogs that get linked and google searches to find more info on some of the terms and technique.

    I'm honestly overwhelmed and in a bit over my head. I'm not new to photoshop but I'm no expert retoucher. I want to learn some the most effective techniques to treat skin. I'm mainly interested in natural looking results (versus ultra smooth glamor skin). I want to be able to do other treatments as well but my current need is for more traditional portraits. You know, soften wrinkles, even skin color, remove blemishes, maybe add some makeup or make the list slightly richer. Lot's of light touches that add up to a nice, natural photo.

    I know it takes time and lots of practice. Where I'm stuck is where to start and what techniques I should be concentrating on. There so much information but I don't really have enough familiarity with the terms or the techniques to judge which are the best for my purpose.

    Anyone have a map I could borrow to get through this maze of information?

    EDIT: I guess I should be a little more specific. I'm talking about effective intermediate and advanced techniques. Not "use the healing brush and a 20% blur" kinda stuff.

  • #2
    Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

    Hi there,
    Blemishes, any kind of small imperfections etc., You may remove simply using patch tool, (create new layer first!).
    Then using very low opacity dodge and burn significant shadows (under eyes, nose, jaw - wherever necessary)
    Next, easy way to equalize overall - use patch tool again - lets say dodging made skin under eyes brighter, but slight different tone - this is where patch tool will help.
    Then remove wrinkles using d&b at VERY low opacity and small (a size of single wrinkle) brush. It is time consuming but works.
    Then You may create two extra layers on top of the stack. Lets call them 'very top' and 'top' - switch off visibility of 'very top' layer and blur (YES) the 'top' layer with gaussian up to the moment where You loose all details. Then bring back visibility of 'very top' layer, go to Image>Apply Image. In dialog choose layer 'top', channel RGB, but tick 'Invert', blending mode to 'Add', Scale 2, Offset 0 (this is for 16bit images, google for 8bit ) - You will see something like after using high pass filter, but far more precise - then in Your layers tab choose blending mode of 'very top' layer to linear light - Now You are ready to work - Use 'healing brush' (set it for the current layer only!) and ... pix by pix heal the skin...
    Later...
    Never ending story
    Hope it helps
    br
    Mac

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

      Originally posted by macsadowski View Post
      br
      Mac
      It's better when you link to the source. U know?


      What the poster above mentioned it's called Frequency separation and I'm sure you can find a lot of information on it.

      I wrote this, maybe you can find it useful

      When I'm back from Singapore/Sydney I'l post the handouts for the workshops and you can see my whole workflow there.

      Good luck

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

        Thanks Natalia. Yes, FS is chief among what I'm trying to understand. I love the writeup you linked. Understanding what to repair and why is more important that how. I'm trying to get to the next level in both respects.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

          Originally posted by Godmother View Post
          It's better when you link to the source.
          What the poster above mentioned it's called Frequency separation
          I would if I know any, btw, good to know the name of that process.
          I have learnt it in 'pre-yt' times, and never looked for it again, so no sources.
          Apologize for trying to help!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

            Since there's still no link on this around ;-): http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?th...=439098&page=1
            The mother of all frequency separation threads with lots of written tutorials and also some videos.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

              That's what I've been reading through. The process to make the low and high pass layers is pretty straight forward. Understanding exactly what to do with those layers and the intermediate "middle" layer(s) I run across has been tougher to grasp.

              I've been able to get improved results but I'm sure I'm still missing quite a bit.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

                Try these threads here as well: http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=636113 and http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=636374
                Maybe they'll give you some more ideas :-).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

                  Those are a huge help. Thank you!

                  Originally posted by Der_W View Post
                  Try these threads here as well: http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=636113 and http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=636374
                  Maybe they'll give you some more ideas :-).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

                    Drode,
                    I am thinking that some of the issues you mention could be rather easily resolved with basic retouching tools. Blemishes can usually be handled quite easily with clone stamping (pixel cloning). Try not to work in opacity percentages as you could easily produce soft or blurry areas. If these occur, you can usually add back some texture by loose lassoing the problems areas and add some noise (low levels) to try and match the existing unretouched areas. When you speak of even skin tones, I think you might be referring to the reddish blotches that often occur on the chin, nose and ears - sometimes around the eye rims too. I often loose lasso these areas - apply feathering (14-22 pixels on a higher res image - but it is relative to your image size), and do a selective color correction. You can usually pull these areas into a more natural zone by taking magenta out of the red. With preview on, you can watch live and decide how much to move your selection areas as they come into the range you're seeking. You may have to do this in several steps, and become more selective as the areas with blotches become smaller. Selective color works quicker in an absolute setting and more subtly in a relative mode.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

                      As a newbie, I also wondered the same thing so if I could recommend something to the 'me' from the past I would say the following:

                      Start with the tools you have at hand. Don't get bogged down with the spatial frequency separation and high pass this and that. The 3 tools I use some 90% of the time are:

                      Dodge and Burn
                      Healing Brush
                      Clone Stamp

                      Get proficient with those doing exactly what you want to do before you start venturing into the advanced stuff. The truth is you can do anything with skin using just those tools. Once you get a good grasp of what changes you want to effect, you'll naturally start looking for new tools (and scripts).

                      Cheers

                      _____________________________________
                      Charles Lucima
                      www.lucima.com
                      Fashion | Editorial | Beauty
                      Fashion B&W Workshop February 26th, 2011!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

                        Thanks Charles! I'm reasonably proficient with the basics. I would rate myself somewhere in the advanced beginner or intermediate skill level. The reason frequency splitting drew my interest was a particular shoot where the subject had bad acne, fairly extreme patches of darkened, discolored skin and significant swings in color and tone.

                        I was able to clean up those issues but lost so much skin detail, I began looking for a better way to do this and a way to take my retouching skills to the next level.
                        Last edited by drode; 02-06-2011, 10:27 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Skin blemish repair - where to start?

                          In that case you're ready for frequency separation. It at least halved my time with skin treatment. An alternative is something like Portraiture (by Imagenomics) but seeing that we're talking about this in RetouchPRO I would suggest doing it "right"

                          I'm sure you've stumbled across the "High Pass Sucks" thread over at MM. It has the actions you need to do this properly. I use Sean Baker's (SRB) action and my problem becomes getting rid of the excess detail otherwise the skin can look rather "poresy"

                          Poresy like this:
                          http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4074/...2a45eb15_z.jpg

                          _____________________________________
                          Charles Lucima
                          www.lucima.com
                          Fashion | Editorial | Beauty
                          Fashion B&W Workshop February 26th, 2011!

                          Comment

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