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  • Input on this process/look

    Hello everyone
    I have been trying for i a while to get the look/feel of " Billy&Hells" in this picture. I know their process involve film/darkroom. But i am trying to get the look,only digital.
    I have attached my results (picture nr. 2) so far and i would appreciate if you have some input on my process so far, and maybe some advice to get closer.
    I have also attached a couple of reference images. I know they reference images differ some in hue/saturation, but I'm after "Billy&Hells" characteristic feel.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Rust; 01-26-2015, 12:43 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Input on this process/look

    First thing I notice is that there is too much highlight/shadow contrast in your image compared with the other two. Also not enough separation from background. If you look carefully the first image has fill light as well as key, third image has the main light placed closer to centre than yours. First thing is to get it right in camera, then you have less to do in post.

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    • #3
      Re: Input on this process/look

      The third image looks colourised to me.

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      • #4
        Re: Input on this process/look

        I kinda like the look, except where it pushes the image to look more like a painted image (cartoonish) as in the first example here. ...and I really love that third image. So, having this thread introduce me to the B&H style, I think I kinda like it! It certainly is different! I don't think I'd want to process an entire job this way, but if one special images stands out (in so far as the look and pose), I think it could be something!

        I agree that your image is too dark, and doesn't quite match the style of the "Billy & Hells" images. I think you're headed in the right direction, however.

        I hope you will post more of your efforts, I'd love to know how you're doing them...

        Thanks for the introduction to "B&H"!!

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        • #5
          Re: Input on this process/look

          Actually, the more I look at B&H images, the more I like them.

          I did see several of their images in this style that were dark and "contrasty", I don't think you're so far off base! Can't wait to see more!!

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          • #6
            Re: Input on this process/look

            Originally posted by AKMac View Post
            The third image looks colourised to me.
            You think so? I would've masked it out and used channel mixer for an initial color pass, then added detail to that as necessary. The problems I see with his are very typical. Skintone kind of converges to that sort of monochromatic feel that you get with some approaches (the whole reason I like channel mixer for some things). Her face is really over-retouched in spots, so it loses bits of important detail. They may not have been flattering under the initial lighting, but I don't see this as a solution. The dress is shiny and pulls you away from her face toward the bottom, which doesn't help. The backgrounds are also quite different. In the one the OP likes the background is still on the brighter side, but they use a totally different color to contrast the skin. The shadows preceding the background help it hold a feeling of depth.

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            • #7
              Re: Input on this process/look

              In looking at the "Billy&Heels" images on the web, the shadows are not consistent, which leads me to believe that they are being digitally compiled from multiple images. Also it appears to me that the focus, colors, and textures are being manipulated to different degrees in the different photos. Some are various obvious, other are no so much.

              I like the effect that is being achieved.

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              • #8
                Re: Input on this process/look

                Thanks everyone for the replies, i appreciate it!

                Franko60: You have valid points about shadow/highlights, and of course the separation from the background to create depth. I didn`t have enough lamps for to lit the background, and it clearly suffers from that.
                However i`m not sure that you have to lit your subject with more fill light (less contrasty) to achieve the general B&H feel. This new attachment file has al lot of contrast in the light setup. Maybe i didn`t explain it in a good way , but i`m looking for a general approach to creating this look, not necessarily a direct copy of the two first images attached.

                I`m after the desaturated skintones, and the deep,dark saturated tones.My problem is that the skin looks grey after desaturating. They also got this crunchy look without looking overcooked.

                MDWine: I´m glad you liked B&H. They certainly stands out. And you are right they have several images that are, even darker lit. So i think you can pull this look off with different lighting setups.
                Your asking for the process and this is pretty much it,starting with bottom layer,then:
                a)curves adjustment layer, lighten the image a bit, this depends on starting point.
                b)Hue/saturation adj.layer -14 master channel
                c)black&white adjustment layer set to soft light, opacity 48% adjust reds and yellows slider to brighten skintones.
                d)merge visible and named the merged layer "color back" set blending mode to color.
                e) channel mixer adj. layer place it under "color back layer" and tick off "monochrome" push the reds slider to the left and blue to the right. Watch the highlights, it`s easy to overdo.
                f) If the images get to saturated either lower the opacity on the "color back" layer or clip a hue/saturation adj.layer to the "color back" layer and desaturate, mostly the reds.
                g) Gradient map-color blend mode. Shadow color(left side) #39404a and it goes to pure white in the highlight.
                h) Then merge again and use Shadow/highlights to ad micro contrast, but i use it as carefully as i can.
                i) Add grain, i use scanned Tri x-400 grain. A picture of a neutral grey background shot with Tri-x. I then put this file on top and set the blend mode to soft light, then i only have the grain.

                Klev: Thanks, as you mentioned i use the channel mixer in one step, if you have other approaches i would love to hear it. I also did a test with the K channel from CMYK, pasted in an empty layer set to soft light. That gave the kind of desaturated ,monochromatic feel. But there`s something in B&H skintones i found hard to put into words that i don`t get. It`s desaturated, in a different way. It`s also something going on in the midtones that i can figure out.
                And also these deep dark saturated tones...
                I agree that some details was lost, in fact i was not heavy handed on the retouching(at least i didn`t felt so) but it also can be due to pushing the channel mixer too much.
                I also agree as mentioned about background, and thanks for the input on the dress.

                Ruzzez: I haven`t seen shadow inconsistency yet, do you have some links as examples, it would be great.
                Here´s a link that explain their initial process:
                http://www.all-about-photo.com/photographer.php?name=Billy%20&%20Hells&id=309"]http://www.all-about-photo.com/photographer.php?name=Billy%20&%20Hells&id=309"]http://www.all-about-photo.com/photographer.php?name=Billy%20&%20Hells&id=309
                Attached Files

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                • #9
                  Re: Input on this process/look

                  Overall It's good, its never about the copy/paste, more about the general feel and you matched it pretty well.Your hair masking looks odd, particularly so on the left side of the image and the neck stands out in both color and tone, so try to work on those aspects. Shirt is the main point of interest right now, but if you desaturate it and make it less contrasty, the focus will go to the face.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Input on this process/look

                    Originally posted by Rust View Post

                    Klev: Thanks, as you mentioned i use the channel mixer in one step, if you have other approaches i would love to hear it. I also did a test with the K channel from CMYK, pasted in an empty layer set to soft light. That gave the kind of desaturated ,monochromatic feel. But there`s something in B&H skintones i found hard to put into words that i don`t get. It`s desaturated, in a different way. It`s also something going on in the midtones that i can figure out.
                    And also these deep dark saturated tones...
                    I agree that some details was lost, in fact i was not heavy handed on the retouching(at least i didn`t felt so) but it also can be due to pushing the channel mixer too much.
                    I also agree as mentioned about background, and thanks for the input on the dress.

                    Edit: Okay I don't really like the way I wrote that. The more recent link is probably the right direction, and for whatever reason it didn't load earlier. It needs to be better detailed though. The face and the garment look like they belong to different images or processes. What I meant by the other stuff is that a lot of these things have been passed around are difficult to control and won't always work. Being able to study differences bit by bit to match details will serve you better in the long run.

                    The thing about facial structure still stands. The work created some strange shapes that make little sense, but I think you'll be able to improve upon that.

                    Anyway I deleted the old post. I didn't like it, and this sums up most of the important stuff anyway.
                    Last edited by klev; 01-30-2015, 01:52 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Input on this process/look

                      Klev: No worriesafter i studying my result further, i think i get what you mean by facial structure. Looking at the image especially right side, forehead area stands out..
                      And the backgrounds bothers me too, i should have paid more attention to hair masking as well, it melts into the background. I am trying to find another picture, where it is better separation between hair, and background. I will try to make new version of this.
                      I am aware of the effect using contrasting colors to create depth, and i see B&H uses it a lot.
                      You say it would be easier if i study differences bit by bit. One of my main concerns is the desaturated skin tone in B&H pictures.
                      What would be your approach to getting this type of desaturated/monochromatic skin without grey spots? tweaking channel mixer set to monochromatic, with lowered opacity?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Input on this process/look

                        Originally posted by Rust View Post
                        Klev: No worriesafter i studying my result further, i think i get what you mean by facial structure. Looking at the image especially right side, forehead area stands out..
                        And the backgrounds bothers me too, i should have paid more attention to hair masking as well, it melts into the background. I am trying to find another picture, where it is better separation between hair, and background. I will try to make new version of this.
                        I am aware of the effect using contrasting colors to create depth, and i see B&H uses it a lot.
                        You say it would be easier if i study differences bit by bit. One of my main concerns is the desaturated skin tone in B&H pictures.
                        What would be your approach to getting this type of desaturated/monochromatic skin without grey spots? tweaking channel mixer set to monochromatic, with lowered opacity?
                        That's a reasonable question. I don't actually set channel mixer to monochromatic. I mentioned it because it can be helpful for color correction where you have the kind of trouble where everything starts to look like the same color. Sometimes the color balance tool does a decent job too, but its finicky. It's important to do a rough mask of the skin with some of this stuff. It can be a little soft, but pleasing skintones often need to be rendered independently of other surrounding elements. With many of the examples, they're a bit desaturated. It doesn't take much. The other aspect of it is that it's surrounded by elements of greater saturation. The color of the backgrounds, lips, garments, and other details are saturated or make use of a contrasting color, which makes the skin feel less saturated.

                        Let's say you managed to do something similar with the background. If you have a layer in place with masking that will work, you can adjust the background a bit. You may find that the skin doesn't require such a dramatic shift. I'll suggest on facial structure what I've suggested to everyone else (because it helped me), look up artist reference and anatomical illustrations. You'll eventually develop a greater understanding of it.

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