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  • Black Skin Correction

    Good Morning Folks-

    I'm clued in on the remaining edits for this image: the background and clothing will remain white, the detail on the clothing will be added back in, the lipstick shade working on, tats sharpened, and the clients do not want too much blemish removal / texture smoothing. They are a yoga for everyone & anyone type of company - no perfect supreme guru gods / goddesses here.

    So my question here is how do I fix the lighting balance on her forehead area. I have a whole batch of these to do. Highlight adjustment? Dodge & Burn? I tried these, but maybe just the wrong math. I am working on a skin template (what would the pro word be color profile?, LUT?), and I know the issue is going to come up again. The subject is a dark African American, the original has too much yellow and is really just nothing close to her shade. I think I nailed her complexion, but of course open to criticism. I have seen a lot of retouched black / African skin, and so many people just get it wrong, esp. when they are not a super trained professional (which I am not but cranking on it and reading Lee Varis {anyone else to add to the book list?}).

    Before

    After

    Also, does the shadow from her hair on the right side of her face need to be removed? It doesn't add any interesting contrast, it's just there, I didn't notice it until now. How is that normally addressed, that is hair shadows on faces?

    Thanks / Cheers,
    -ar

  • #2
    Re: Black Skin Correction

    New solid color layer set to darken or multiply, and then just brush it in to reduce highlights is a good start. Obviously combined with cloning underneath and additional DNB. Making additional conversions wouldn't hurt, either.

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    • #3
      Re: Black Skin Correction

      What do you mean by "conversion"?

      -ar

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      • #4
        Re: Black Skin Correction

        Hi!

        I worked on your image briefly. I found the 'white' of the background not to be truly white, it is more bluish. I went to selective color and boosted the white. I then used the shadows/highlight to correct the shadows followed by the spot healing brush on a layer at 60% opacity to fix her forehead. Ending with an all over Unsharp mask.
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          Re: Black Skin Correction

          RAW conversion.

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          • #6
            Re: Black Skin Correction

            Thanks for the tips. Actually, the clients want the background to be that weird dirty white, they liked it from some "looks" ideas I showed them. Hopefully, they will change their minds to white or something less muddy; or maybe the addition of a super-super fine mono grain applied to the whole image will help.

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            • #7
              Re: Black Skin Correction

              Did the client request that lip color? I think it looks ghastly in both before and after. It is way too saturated. Forehead lighting wasn't bad in the before image. The photoshop work made it worse. If you're on CS6 or newer, I would try a brightness/contrast layer. I use a channel mixer layer and a brush to clean up that sort of thing so that as it darkens, it approaches the actual color palette of the surrounding area. There's a little trial and error, but lowering brightness is easier. It just scales all channels. Paint that in carefully. The highlight should still have a brightest point. It should just not ramp up as fast or go as bright as it does here. Take a look at something like this while you work. It'll give you some idea of the shapes in the forehead.

              You do need better judgement. It sounds like you're comfortable with this level of work, but you could improve quite a lot in virtually every aspect of the post work. I can't even figure out why you brightened the top. You should maintain that detail.

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              • #8
                Re: Black Skin Correction

                The lipstick color in the original was a mistake, the client admits that. In the after, I did mention in my post that I am working on the lips. I know that they are too saturated and have totally lowered the level. I also mentioned in my post that I am clued in on what additional work that I need to do, sorry that I did not mention every aspect. The only pat on the back that I gave myself was on the skin color. So I am aware of my faults, and that is a maker of good judgement.

                I know that I need improvement and that's why I ask for advice & pointers. Constructive criticism rocks my world and honesty too. Thank you! Thank you so much for that; and I am not being sarcastic by any means. I take notes from this site, well, I cut & paste into my "retouching 101" notebook. But rather than assume and pull out the knives, it's better to question why a choice was made; at least, I think it's a more helpful approach to providing criticism.

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                • #9
                  Re: Black Skin Correction

                  Originally posted by alreese83 View Post
                  But rather than assume and pull out the knives, it's better to question why a choice was made; at least, I think it's a more helpful approach to providing criticism.
                  I don't really care for the way I wrote that. Here's an apology from me. Try to keep the moves a bit more subtle. I did this an old notebook display using only a laptop trackpad rather than my intuos + larger display that I would normally use for retouching, painting or anything similar.

                  I would keep the moves as small as possible to avoid making things look weird. Note this would require a bit more color correction by region and the highlight isn't quite the right color. I don't think it looks weird though. I thought the one marked after looked weird and not like anything I would want to present to a client.

                  The process isn't complicated. Get the skintone halfway there via hue/saturation and selective color. Move in and apply additional color correction by region to get better uniformity. Make a final skintone adjustment using channel mixer (usually with a mask but I didn't take the time to paint it). Fix lips with channel mixer and a mask. Use channel mixer to blend the highlight in a way that it matches the darker skintones around it.

                  I think you'll generate better results if you use smaller steps like that.

                  My example does not look perfect. I want to give you an idea of what direction I would take it. The face is still quite far off, so I'm not sure if you can entirely see it. The chin is too blue. The nose is too orange. As you tackle this stuff, it comes together slowly.

                  I would gradually smooth out that bright forehead and color correct the chin, parts of the forehead and chest, etc. to be a little more harmonious. They shouldn't appear to be the same exact color. That looks weird. They should just be close enough that they don't look confusing.

                  Here's an anatomical illustration. The forehead isn't really a flat structure, and you don't want to make it appear as if it is one. Refer to something like this or reference images while you work. It will help give you a reality check. You can also try the free samples on something like 3d.sk for a bunch of reference material. Here's a link.


                  I updated the image because I didn't think it showed exactly what I would do. This one is closer, so hopefully you get the idea. It's just a bunch of little steps. There isn't any massive color correction anywhere and retouching is limited to what I can do with a trackpad. I saved the comp in case you want to see it.

                  Does that help?
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by klev; 09-16-2015, 04:33 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Black Skin Correction

                    Well, you did go above & beyond in your response . . .and you're a senior member . . . so, virtual hugs. Thanks again and much appreciated.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Black Skin Correction

                      You're welcome. Senior member is just by post count. I hope it actually helps though. I know what I would show a client on something like this, but it's not easy to fully communicate that with a few adjustments. Even the forehead thing isn't that difficult if you're careful. Start from the edges when you do the burn/dodge work. Deepen it slowly and make sure to match the color balance to surrounding skin. Make sure the brightest points in the before are still the brightest points in the after version. That way you should retain the same curvature while losing some of that feeling of extreme shininess.

                      This doesn't have to be super time consuming. I know it doesn't seem like it, but you can do something respectable within an hour per image if you can see it.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Black Skin Correction

                        bored, so i gave it a go, just sorting out lips and skin tone, hardly any D&B, no clean up
                        Attached Files

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                        • #13
                          Re: Black Skin Correction

                          I went ahead and did some good old fashion cloning to workout the forehead.

                          Used gradient map to replace the lipstick color. The rest was playing around with color/saturation
                          Attached Files

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                          • #14
                            Re: Black Skin Correction

                            Besides a color correction some D&B would help.
                            Attached Files

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