With this image from the free stock website http://www.sxc.hu I applied some sharpening and toning effects to give him a more weathered lived-in grungy look…
This image is from a photographer called Chaf on Model Mayhem (#1895650). Along with a lot of skin retouching and blemish removal, this image I felt could be enhanced by some digital make-up. In this instance I created an empty layer above the background and sampled a colour from the lips (I had adjusted the hue of the lips earlier) and painted on the layer with a pressure sensitive wacom tablet, I then changed the blending mode to colour and reduced the opacity of the layer to taste. By first painting on a normal layer gives you a better idea where exactly to add in the eye liner and blusher before changing the blending mode to colour. By sampling the colour from the lips you help balance the colour palette of the face, if you wanted to change the colour of the added make-up you could just add a clipped Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to your layer stack – this way you would be just affecting the colour of the layer immediately below it, not the entire face.
Below is another example of an image posted in the challenges forum of the Model Mayhem website. This time the photographer is Alhen, after my initial edit that I posted on the forum, Alhen loved the overall edit but suggested perhaps a bit more symmetry was needed, in particular the models left ear and shoulder could do with being more like her right side. I duly obliged – constructive criticism is always welcome apart from when I decide its not either constructive nor welcome…
When someone asks me to retouch them in Photoshop I usually am slow to respond – its wise to assess the situation to ascertain what exactly they want from you – it’s a sensitivity minefield. “Do you want me to remove your double chin?”, “Oh sorry, you didn’t think you had one”…. “Do you want me to take 20 years off?”, “Apoogies, I didn’t realize you were 27″….. “Your moustache?”, ” My bad, that must be a shadow from somewhere”….. “I could reduce the size of your nose?”, “Again sorry, that angle makes it look bigger than it is in reality”…… “Just make you look like a Model?, “Yeah the retouching on that will take me forever!, I charge by the hour so it will cost you a fortune”…..
Sometimes I get the impression the person is fishing for a compliment – “Sure you don’t need any airbrushing – you’re practically flawless!” in which case you do nothing to the image, maybe adjust some levels and hand the file back! The reality is – your aim is to make the person look their best – the image may have factors mitigating against this – unflattering light, no make-up, too much make-up badly applied, maybe the person has some spots that weren’t there yesterday etc….. The vast majority of women and a surprising amount of men use make-up every day to make themselves look at their best – to hide unflattering aspects of their appearance, whether permanent or temporary, (imagined or real – best not go there) and to accentuate their good side. Photoshop is there to do the same – apply virtual make up. As in the real wold equivalent it is easy to slap on the virtual make-up. Finding a happy medium is not always easy as how people view themselves is by its nature entirely subjective – you may consider that the wrinkles show character, they on the other may think it makes them look haggard and weary.
So my usual response is non-committal and non specific, along the lines of – “I don’t think there is much to be done, but I will have a look”… This I feel needs to be refined …. while you may know you have a lot of work to do to make them look at their best, in order to flatter your client you want them to believe you think you don’t , – an intentional collusion of self delusion if you will – how exactly do you get paid for that? Maybe the brutal truth is the way to go after all……
The image above is courtesy of Retouch Pro, below is my retouched version….
Another image submitted on the retouching website RetocuchPRO in the restoration challenges section. This one with a seasonal slant seeing as it has the big fella from the North Pole in it. I think there is a similar photo somewhere featuring myself at a slightly younger age – it’s probably in a Jacob’s biscuit tin in my parents attic. The Jacob’s tin truly is the pandora’s box of retouching – beware.
This image was submitted on the retouching website RetocuchPRO in the restoration challenges section. The original poster had left one of his favourite images on a countertop and somebody spilled some juice over it (at a guess I’d say cranberry) leaving it in the horrible mess you see below. Not one to shirk a challenge I obliged by taking the juice stained kid into Photoshop. I used several hue/saturation layers with selective masks along with targeted curves adjustment layers with masks to get rid of the stain. I also used a blank layer set to color mode and painted sampled colors on it. I used the healing brush and a dodge and burn layer to get rid of the transitions between the stained and non-stained part of the image.
The present giving season is fast approaching, if you are at a loss and are responsible for sloshing a burgundy over somebody’s wedding album – you are on your own, anything short of that I maybe able to help.