Retouching Using Photoshop CS 2 or CS 3
Retouching is important technique, especially for portrait photography. Actually this tutorial is advanced step of my previous tutorial. Previously I don’t mention the step very clearly – also I don’t mention about masking, smoothing skin, sharpening in detail. I think you also need to read my previous tutorial as basic for smoothing skin and local contrast adjustment.
The photo (below) that I use in this tutorial is taken by clickjia, you also can see this photo in his flickr.
The steps how to retouch can be seen below:
1. Note – this is first step that sometimes people think it’s not important. Many people think this step just wasting time, but I think this step is speeding your editing work. Actually before you edit the picture you need to know what do you want to change or improve. If you don’t know what part do you need to edit, I don’t think you can achieve good result.
2. Clean up – clean up is basic work that you need to do before you do the other thing. You can clean some wrinkles in the skin. If the photo is taken in studio maybe you also need to clean the background. This step can be easily done by using spot healing brush tool, healing brush tool, patch tool, and clone stamp tool. Don’t forget to change brush size and brush hardness, I suggest you to use shortcut to change brush size and brush hardness.
3. Remove dark area near the eyes – you need to remove dark area near the eyes because the eyes are the focus part of the photo – so every people will see the eyes and the area near the eyes. If the area near the eyes is dark, it will change the photo become “bad photo” although the other part is good. You need to remove this dark area especially below the eyes. You can see the comparison below.
4. Remove hair and shadow area– sometimes you need to remove some parts of hair and shadow behind the hair. You can skip this step if you think this isn’t necessary. You can see comparison below.
5. Contouring – you need to contour some parts in the face such as lips, eye, eyebrows, etc because it will make the photo better. When we see portrait photo, most of people will see eyes and lips then see the other parts. Comparison can be seen below.
6. Skin smoothing – After you give contour to lips, eyes, eyebrows then you need to smooth skin (remember only the skin, don’t smooth lips, eyes, eyebrows). In order to smooth the skin you need to smooth the photo and masking some parts. For smoothing effect please refer to my previous tutorial – and don’t forget to add masking.
The result of step 6 can be seen below, you can compare with the original.
Actually up to step 6 the result is good enough, but I don’t want to stop here…. there are lot of things that we can do after step 6. After step 6, the process is very interesting because you can modify as you like. Feeling and imagination are important to edit the next steps but don’t worry you can get feeling with doing some editing practice. Actually when you edit different photos, it will increase your skills and also your feeling. So if the result still not good, try and try again. Before you read step 7 please see *Note in the end of my tutorial.
7. Editing eyes and lips – you can edit eyes and lips such as change eyes color and lips color or make it brighter – you can edit these 2 parts with many ways, try to combine some technique to edit these parts. The results of this step can be seen below (in this case I make eyes and area near eyes a little bit brighter and lips color almost the same as finger nail color).
8. Local Contrast Adjustment – when I see the photo, I think the photo is flat or dull – in order to make it better you need to adjust contrast, you can do this technique with many ways. The comparison before local contrast adjustment and after local contrast adjustment can be seen below.
9. Sharpening – sharpening is important for portrait photography, but do not try to sharpen overall image because it will make it too sharp. My suggestion is only sharpen eyes and lips part instead of overall image. Remember that skin need to be soft and the other part can be sharp if it’s interesting. Also remember not to over sharp the eyes and lips – adjust opacity to achieve best result.
10. Final adjustment and Tone adjustment – After step 9 is completed, I think we need to do final adjustment and tone adjustment. You can do final adjustment by using curve, level, or other technique. Tone adjustment also required because skin tone is important for portrait photography – you can adjust tone by using hue/saturation, color balance, photo filter, and many other techniques.
The final result can be seen below.
After that I make a wallpaper for my notebook :))
Finally we finish on retouching this photo, I hope you can learn some useful techniques to retouch the photo. Anyway if you have question, suggestion, and comment, please don’t hesitate to write it in my blog. I will reply it as soon as possible.
*Note: Some people may think that the result is somewhat unrealistic – like a doll because it loose texture. For anyone that love realistic – I am sorry that I don’t mention what kind of retouching in this tutorial. My idea of retouching is come from game and CG-artist (Soa Lee) so the result is like ‘that’. Anyway you can give skin texture after step 6 – “it’s an option for people that loves realistic” – you can reduce smoothing effect (step 6) then give skin texture to make it more realistic – then you ready to enter step 7.
Update: November 11th,2008
I also try to make a realistic version with adding skin texture after reduced softening effect then I change final adjustment and color tone in order to make it more realistic. Hope it still can be enjoyed – Thanks.
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