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Friday, March 29, 2019

Tutorial: How to retouch photos ... From Snapshot to Glamour/Silver-Screen Shot

Some really bad, supposedly professional, photos come to me for retouching. It's craziness. I've seen better pictures taken with a camera phone and some sensible prep, like decent lighting and making sure you're wearing contrasting colors and standing against a nice background (nice doesn't necessarily mean 'pretty', I like textured surfaces, like the brick in today's example), even if plain.

However, ever notice how the new digital cameras and phones seem to expose and enhance those little flaws we all have, rather than hide them, like wrinkles, blemishes, uneven skin tones, etc.? But who can afford a professional photo these days with retouching starting at $45/hr?

For you do-it-yourselfers, here is a brief tutorial of how a little time in Photoshop can take your snapshot (on the left) to the glamour/silver-screen shot photos on the right. {Thanks to Vivian Zabel for letting me use the bio-pic I refined for her latest book, Burnt Offering for this tutorial.}

The first thing I did was crop in closer on Vivian's face. Her position in the photo is a bit too low, creating the illusion that the viewer is looking down on her rather than at her. 

The second step was to bump the brightness/contrast settings (found under the Image tab to 0 brightness - 100 contrast. Doing so did emphasize the shadows and wrinkles a little, but remember, we're going to smooth those out.

I use a few different Photoshop filter programs, but for this project, I used PhotoDonut. Once exporting the cropped, higher-contrast image into PhotoDonut, I chose a filter called Nice Skin. After saving it, I placed it over the pre-filtered image and set the transparency to 70%. This dampened the glowy-dreamy-soft effect a little and allowed some of the defining lines to still show through, as in, the edges of her eyes, lips, cheekbones, and chin. 

I created a 'composite' layer above it all with keycode ctrl-shift-alt-e. On that layer, I added a mask so I could erase the softened eyes without messing with the layer itself since the eyes in the unfiltered version are much sharper. Remember, we only want to soften the skin.

After making a new composite layer, I made a copy of it, then used the patch tool (looks like a knee patch, found under the healing tool, which looks like a bandage) to grab and clone out harsher areas and blend with favored areas. In this case, shadows under the chin and around the neck.

Once everything is the way I like it, I create a final composite layer, make a b/w layer, and adjust the brightness/contrast of the b/w layer to 25/30. 

Feel free to comment or contact me with any questions. But before I close, I'd like to thank Vivian for letting me use her photo for this tutorial. And be sure to check out her book, Burnt Offering.

Vivian Zabel:
Available in hardcover & paperback
through 4RV Publishing & most
physical & online retailers.
Throughout history, almost every people/nation worshiped idols at one time or another. During the 8th Century BCE, King Ahaz of Judah followed pagan worship by offering burnt offerings of children, his and others, to Moleck. Pressure on the king’s subjects provided many offerings and over-zealous action to find more sacrifices on the part of his advisors and nobles.

After viewing the brutal offering of the king’s infant son, Hadara could never forget the baby’s screams, the sight of the tiny body turning crisp, the smell of burning flesh. She sent her son and his family to Egypt so they would be safe. But, the question remained: Should she endanger herself and the rest her household to help other mothers and their children escape from Moleck’s fire?

Like my work? Buy the Book that inspired it at #WillowRavenOnAmazon

Onto wrapping up the next book :-D
Until next time ...
Aidana WillowRaven

What's my most-valued social media tool? CircleBoom!

*Blurbs and quotes provided are not edited by WillowRaven but posted as provided by author/publisher.

*All art and designs in this post were created by myself unless otherwise noted even if some images have been replaced with newer ones to keep post current with my portfolio.

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