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Where am I going wrong with skin textures?

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  • Where am I going wrong with skin textures?

    http://i.imgur.com/Ri7mZNf.jpg

    Here's a photo I retouched. I'm not very proud of it. I feel there's a lot of stuff I missed, but I'm not necessarily sure how to fix it without ruining the texture. I use a mixture of the clone stamp tool set to low flow, and then the healing brush, as well as dodge and burn to fix up uneven areas of skin.

    I'm sure I oversharpened, but I'm not sure how to make skin texture stand out more obviously from a distance without sharpening.

    I'm not sure where I'm going wrong; I'd like texture more along the lines of this:

    https://joeyl.com/uploads/portfolio/...rtrait_003.jpg

  • #2
    Re: Where am I going wrong with skin textures?

    You have over-sharpened, and you haven't cleaned up the image prior to sharpening it(especially the mouth area). Sharpen at the end, not the beginning of a retouch.

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    • #3
      Re: Where am I going wrong with skin textures?

      Process image without adding more than default levels of contrast and sharpening. It will look flatter, but this is okay.

      Address all large blemishes such as acne using a small clone stamp or healing brush.

      Check your work.

      Address other stuff via burn/dodge methods

      Check your work as you go. Avoiding texture loss is easy, but it's harder to avoid messing up the shape of the cheeks, forehead, etc while smoothing things out. Use history snapshots and the history brush as necessary. If you screw part up, don't be afraid to go back and redo it.

      Added In reference to a couple of the tactics mentioned (I mainly looked at your request and the image prior to this).
      Clone stamp set to low flow is dumb for the most part. It makes texture into mush. You don't need it. If you can't use it around 100%, it's the wrong tool in most cases. Exceptions might be fixing splotchy color. You only think you need it, because you over-sharpened the image. Both clone and healing brush should be for small details. Even 10px is a rather large brush. I tend to use small ones and either dot or make deliberate strokes. Avoid scribbling behavior.

      Skin texture stands out when it's captured in the original shot. While sharpening can increase that, you're really overdoing it. Contrast is overdone too as I mentioned, which makes it even worse. You need to back off on basically everything. Start over. Don't overdo shit, even if that goes against your instincts. Make something reasonable. If skin texture needs to be more pronounced, try to emphasize it a bit more at the end.

      Even if you really want that sharpened look which I suggested against, everything else is still wrong. You could probably learn the rest, then retry.
      End Added .....

      That's basically it. You miss some important details. Don't rely on contrast sliders and sharpening to make the image stand out. You can accomplish this by selective emphasizing certain shapes and regions, darkening or lightening only those. Your current approach to this doesn't work at all. It leaves you with no shadow detail and a rough appearance to the skin, both of which are bad.

      You can get a sense for the burn/dodge portion by referring to anatomical references. It doesn't seem difficult to lighten or darken things to make them appear smoother, but you need to actually consider the underlying shapes. It can be artist reference or just googling facial anatomy. It doesn't matter that much. This is more of a sanity check than anything.

      I wouldn't zoom in past 100% the vast majority of the time. It makes you lose perspective, and it will take forever to do anything. If you're having trouble with accuracy at 100%, there are a few basic drawing exercises that can help.
      Last edited by klev; 11-05-2016, 07:49 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Where am I going wrong with skin textures?

        Originally posted by klev View Post
        Process image without adding more than default levels of contrast and sharpening. It will look flatter, but this is okay.

        Address all large blemishes such as acne using a small clone stamp or healing brush.

        Check your work.

        Address other stuff via burn/dodge methods

        Check your work as you go. Avoiding texture loss is easy, but it's harder to avoid messing up the shape of the cheeks, forehead, etc while smoothing things out. Use history snapshots and the history brush as necessary. If you screw part up, don't be afraid to go back and redo it.

        Added In reference to a couple of the tactics mentioned (I mainly looked at your request and the image prior to this).
        Clone stamp set to low flow is dumb for the most part. It makes texture into mush. You don't need it. If you can't use it around 100%, it's the wrong tool in most cases. Exceptions might be fixing splotchy color. You only think you need it, because you over-sharpened the image. Both clone and healing brush should be for small details. Even 10px is a rather large brush. I tend to use small ones and either dot or make deliberate strokes. Avoid scribbling behavior.

        Skin texture stands out when it's captured in the original shot. While sharpening can increase that, you're really overdoing it. Contrast is overdone too as I mentioned, which makes it even worse. You need to back off on basically everything. Start over. Don't overdo shit, even if that goes against your instincts. Make something reasonable. If skin texture needs to be more pronounced, try to emphasize it a bit more at the end.

        Even if you really want that sharpened look which I suggested against, everything else is still wrong. You could probably learn the rest, then retry.
        End Added .....

        That's basically it. You miss some important details. Don't rely on contrast sliders and sharpening to make the image stand out. You can accomplish this by selective emphasizing certain shapes and regions, darkening or lightening only those. Your current approach to this doesn't work at all. It leaves you with no shadow detail and a rough appearance to the skin, both of which are bad.

        You can get a sense for the burn/dodge portion by referring to anatomical references. It doesn't seem difficult to lighten or darken things to make them appear smoother, but you need to actually consider the underlying shapes. It can be artist reference or just googling facial anatomy. It doesn't matter that much. This is more of a sanity check than anything.

        I wouldn't zoom in past 100% the vast majority of the time. It makes you lose perspective, and it will take forever to do anything. If you're having trouble with accuracy at 100%, there are a few basic drawing exercises that can help.
        Great advice. I'll probably scrap the image and start over; you're right, I throw on a shit ton of contrast to my images and notice that I often rely on that to make my images pop.

        As for those drawing exercises, is there anything you can suggest?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Where am I going wrong with skin textures?

          I usually start with basic exposure adjustments using a smart filter and camera raw. Then I use a blank layer for spotting to remove all the blemishes, stray hairs etc. If I want skin smoothing then I do that next along with some frequency separation to fix any hot spots or really spotty skin. I move to the eyes after that, and this can take five or six layers depending on what I want. When that is done I do some dodging/burning, some final adjustments and viola!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Where am I going wrong with skin textures?

            Originally posted by quadwing View Post
            Great advice. I'll probably scrap the image and start over; you're right, I throw on a shit ton of contrast to my images and notice that I often rely on that to make my images pop.

            As for those drawing exercises, is there anything you can suggest?
            Basic ones come down to control, and that might be enough. I would start with a multitude of shapes using the brush and whatever tool you use to navigate photoshop (graphics tablet, mouse, etc). See if you draw a good circle. Try drawing straight lines. Try drawing smooth arcs.

            If I haven't drawn anything in some time, I do a few hundred of these once a day for a few days. It helps me get the muscle memory going. It can also help indicate if your tool settings are not ideal. If you're using mouse acceleration or your tablet is mapped to a much bigger display or one with different proportions, these tend to be more difficult. Bad positioning or ergonomics are other sources of problems.

            What matters is that you can do them well. They are a good predictor of the accuracy you will have when you go over fine details in an image. Accuracy can cut your time per image way down and improve the work. It gives you more time to think about the image rather than worry about basic cleanup.

            I stick to the basic ones, but you can probably find others. I can tell you that those alone are very helpful if you do a sufficient number of them.

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