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Thread: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

  1. #1
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    I'm too cheap to purchase photoshop, so I have started to dabble with GIMP. Below is a before and after of a portrait I did recently. This isn't my best work to date, I just wanted to try some things in Post Processing! I was amazed at what could be done with a portrait with a little time in PP????? All of the techniques I used were brand new to me. The color on her left cheek is goofy - I know I could get rid of that, but I felt done with this picture, lol. I spent about 2 hours on this, though I'm sure if I were to do it all again it would take closer to 20 minutes, and the one after that would probably take 5 minutes. What do you think?

    C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Hi Brian,

    I'm no portrait retoucher expert - I have done very little, but this is a definite improvement.

    It still looks just a little soft in the eyes though (even in the Lytebox at 1024 wide).

    You've done a pretty good, natural looking job there - has the model seen it?
    Just show the PP'd one.

    Cheers,

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    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Thanks Dave. I agree that the eyes are a little off. The model has seen both versions and sort of approves of the retouch
    I'll try again another time with a better portrait to start with.

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    I agree with Dave.

    Just wanted to add one point and I am sure you know this : I would use all the retouch techniques for things that can not be improved before the shoot. Putting make up on the face of a woman through PP can be done as you have done beautifully but usually is first of all not necessary and takes a lot of time (it takes a few minutes for the subject to do that herself) and usually only looks good on monitor and at a small size. On print, specially at large size, it usually looks unnatural and shows unless it is very subtle.

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Makeup? What makeup??

    Ali, I agree with your point entirely! Thanks for commenting.

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Hi Brian,

    I've given the left image a few subtle adjustments for you to compare against ...

    - Some gentle sharpening
    - blemish removal
    - skin softening
    - levels adjustment
    - crop
    - vignette
    - skin soften
    - photoshop eye liner & brow tint
    - photoshop lipstick

    C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Probably the two things that I noticed about your retouch was that the sharpening seemed a little too little, and the eye shadow seemed a bit over-done.

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    WOW.. Thats awesome processing, Colin. I am gonna try doing the same, for practicing. I hope it is ok with you & Brian?

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Colin, thank for your reply. My IT department blocks tinypic.com, so I can't see what you have done to the photo during my lunch break I will check it when I get home. Can you offer any advice on skin softening? I used the smudge tool only in GIMP. While it was effective at smoothing, it didn't leave much texture left at all, which is fine for some types of photos, but certainly not all. I could certainly reduce the opacity of the smudged layer, but I didn't really mess with that this time around. As for sharpening, I didn't do any localize sharpening at all. I have not tried that yet. This is definitely a learning experience and I appreciate any input or advice!

    Sahil, happy processing!
    Last edited by speedneeder; 8th March 2011 at 07:44 PM. Reason: Looks good Colin!

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    Colin, thank for your reply. My IT department blocks tinypic.com, so I can't see what you have done to the photo during my lunch break I will check it when I get home.
    That's helpful of them!

    Can you offer any advice on skin softening? I used the smudge tool only in GIMP. While it was effective at smoothing, it didn't leave much texture left at all, which is fine for some types of photos, but certainly not all. I could certainly reduce the opacity of the smudged layer, but I didn't really mess with that this time around.
    Pretty easy. In Photoshop I duplicate the layer - add a gaussean blur to the top layer (1 pixel radius for every MP in the shot, eg radius = 21 pixels for my 21 MP camera) - reduce layer opacity to 50% (so I can see what I'm doing) - add a layer mask - paint the layer mask so that the blur applies only to the skin - adjust opacity of layer to suit (on a "sarcastic day" I might suggest 1% of opacity for each year of age of the subject!).

    As for sharpening, I didn't do any localize sharpening at all. I have not tried that yet. This is definitely a learning experience and I appreciate any input or advice!
    Bottom line is that global and localised sharpening are things that have to be done. End of Story. The problem with teaching it though is that it varies a bit from image to image (assuming portraits) and varies greatly depending on the resolution of the image (what I'm meaning there is that it's pointless me telling you what I did to the low-res image you put up when you'd be using completely different settings when sharpening a full res version, which is when capture and content/creative sharpening needs to be done; only output sharpening is done after down-sampling for display).

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Interesting point about Gaussian settings for different file sizes!
    I need to learn more about masking.
    I found the post processing forum today, so I'll poke around there and see what I can learn.

    Thanks again for you input.

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Amazing...simply amazing.

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    This might be better placed in another forum... but after looking at what Colin did with the first photo I posted in this thread, I thought I would try his less dramatic skin smoothing on another subject. The blur definitely has some potential! I like the way most skin texture can be kept this way. Smudging works better for wrinkles, but the second subject didn't have any of those

    C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Hmmm, not sure this tiny picture on the web really shows the difference well?

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    Smudging works better for wrinkles, but the second subject didn't have any of those
    Hi Brian,

    The way to handle those in Photoshop is to duplicate the layer - fix the wrinkle with the healing brush or patch tool - and then decrease the layer opacity to reveal as much wrinkle as you want. With older folks, removing too much wrinkle looks un-natural, so reducing the opacity takes the harshness out of it.

    Lighting at the time you capture the frame makes a big difference; the flatter the angle of the light to the skin surface (or the harder the light) the more the texture and wrinkles will show up. Unfortunately one often has to do it this way for heavier subjects ... so it sometimes becomes a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" kinda thing.

    PS: With the above examples Brian; they look fine, but just need some output sharpening. Try applying an USM with a radius of 0.3 and an amount of 50 to 75%.

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Colin, that sounds like a much better strategy for wrinkle... control!
    I used a USM on GIMP with a rad of 5, an amount of 0.5 (on scale of 0-10), and threshold of 0. I have no idea how that compares to photoshop.
    I don't know how well the difference will show up after flickr compresses them, but I can definitely see it on my monitor! Thanks for the help Colin!
    I really hope this helpful to others too.

    C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Hi Brian,

    Looks good to me

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Thank you Colin!
    It is very interesting to me that my perception of portraits has changed so much in the last couple of months. My perception used to be very broad, basically like or not like, but now my perception is much more specific. Things like the pose, skin texture, contrast, sharpness, background, etc each leave their own impression on me.
    My wife was dragging me through the grocery store the other day, and I picked up a people magazine and started flipping through the pages. My wife looked at me like what the heck are you doing!@?!?!? (if you knew me you would have the same reaction, this is NOT normal behavior for me!) And I was quite simply looking at the pictures of people. This had nothing to do with wanting to see the latest photo of Lindsey Lohan before a court appearance! It had everything to do with looking at how the images were made - where were the lights? makeup? what was PP? I think I'm becoming addicted to this

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    Re: C&C Portrait Please - I Need Help!~

    Ya know, post processing is a nice touch... but its not the answer. Why??

    Shoot the look you want to begin with - then your done!!!

    aka: SHOOT CLEAN...

    save a TON of work
    paul

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