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jjc30d Mar 7, 2007 4:27 PM

I took this family photo for some friends of mine. There daughter is in El Salvador working at an Orphanage. They wanted me to "drop" a photo of her in this one, so she would be in it. This was beyond my expertise, so here it is for ya'll.

She is supposed to go between/behind the mom (with glasses) and the "other" daughter (in the blue dress). Note: she is a liittle bit shorter than the girl in the blue dress.

I'll include the pic of the daughter in another post, as they wouldnt let me include both here.


jc :G

jjc30d Mar 7, 2007 4:43 PM

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Okay, had some probs. Heres the family pic.


jc :G

jjc30d Mar 7, 2007 4:46 PM

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Heres the pic of the daughter.


jc :G

Corpsy Mar 8, 2007 1:16 AM

Would it be possible to provide higher resolution images with less compression? These images are pretty damaged and even if the final edit looks ok, it probably won't even be suitable for a 4x6 print.

If the file size limit is a problem, try using Just make sure you fit your file into their own size limit or it'll automatically resize it and that isn't good.

Or, you could try sending the original file through a site which can store it for you, like this one:

I haven't tried that one myself though, so don't ask me for help on that.

Corpsy Mar 8, 2007 2:21 AM

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Normally I wouldn't take on a project like this for someone so new to the forum, but I haven't had anything challenging to do in Photoshop for a while.

There were two major problems to deal with, both having to do with the fact that the second photo was shot in entirely different conditions. The lighting wasn't even close and the skin tones were very dark and flat. There is also green and red noise in the skin, though I'm not sure if that's from the cheaper camera or the excessive compression artifacts.

Trying to make an object look like it was in the same lighting conditions as a different scene is a difficult thing to do, but especially so with a person. I used 7 layers of adjustments to modify the skin tones as well as the highlights and shadows. I think it came out OK, but could have been a lot better with a higher quality original.

The second problem was that the second shot was taken where she was in a seated position rather than standing, leaning somewhat over a desk. This meant that when the sister was put into the scene, her shoulders were much too high and she appeared to be hunched over. I fixed this by erasing some of her shoulders into a more natural looking pose.

Let me know if it looks OK.

creeduk Mar 8, 2007 10:11 AM

To both:

A good start, but things to look at are
  • Teeth too white compared with the others [/*]
  • Eyes, too sharp and white [/*]
  • Neck position wrong (part of your original diagnosis with the shoulders) [/*]
  • Cleaner separation [/*]
  • Hair color not matching the light conditions.[/*]
I am sure you know all or most of the issues

jjc30d:the hardest thing with a piece like this is you KNOW where they have been added. A true test is take your finished work (if you try it) and show it to somebody who did not know they were missing if they don't comment or notice anything is wrong then you pulled it off.

VTphotog Mar 8, 2007 11:43 AM

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I took a stab at it as well, noting the same difficulties with lighting and pose. Part of the difficulty with getting the skin tones to match is that two different cameras were used, and the tonal curves, particularly in the skin tones are quite different.

With that disclaimer, here is my attempt:

jachol Mar 8, 2007 1:02 PM

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Thanks for posting this one JC, I enjoyed having a go just as an exercise, same problems as the other guys ... one difference might be that I used he liquify tool in an effort to correct the stance. ... Jack

jjc30d Mar 8, 2007 1:12 PM

Thanks so much everyone! I REALLY appreciate it! "Corpsy"(and everyone else) if you would like an uncompressed 8 mp copy of the photo to work on (about 4.5 mb) lemme know and I'll email it to you.


jc :G

jjc30d Mar 8, 2007 1:17 PM

Oh, any advice on how I could try to do this myself? I have CS2 and CS3 beta.


jc :G

Corpsy Mar 8, 2007 2:51 PM

I'd like to try getting a higher quality fix made for ya, but as a rule I never give out my email address to people I don't know personally.

I thought I'd give a try. I posted my CS2 PSD file there, so you can try downloading it and see what I did.

(edit: changed the link. hope nobody clicked on the last one, it would have deleted the file)

At the bottom of the page there a picture of a number in different colors. Just type it in the box and hit submit to start the download.

To upload a file, go to the site, hit "Browse" to choose a file, check the "Agree to Terms" box and submit it. You don't need any kind of login information.

If you're wary about posting a link to your higher resolution photos in a public forum, just PM the address to me and anyone else you might want to have working on it.

Creeduk, thanks for the crits. I spent about an hour on the thing last night, posted it and went to bed. I haven't had the chance to look at it again with fresh eyes which is what you often need to start noticing certain details.

The teeth and eyes shouldn't be too much trouble, though I wonder if the teeth on the rest of the family should be whitened a bit.

Adjusting the shoulders helped with the neck, but obviously it's still bent somewhat. I didn't want to go and try fixing this before getting a higher resolution image because that is something I'd have to do over from scratch. I guess it would require separating the head from the neck, and the neck from the body and reposition them all in relation to each other, then blending them together afterwards. Would you suggest any easier or more effective techniques?

I'm not sure what you mean by a cleaner separation. I made the edges about as sharp as the rest of the people, with a slight blur around the hair. Please describe what you are seeing.

The hair color thing I'm just not sure about. JC, is her hair supposed to be the same color as her sister's, or is it darker? You'll need to clue me in on how accurate it is.

creeduk Mar 8, 2007 4:45 PM

Teeth, yeah you can go either way I would probably meet in the middle.

Separation, I looked again in more detail and yes it is good it just looked too sharp along the mother shoulder but looking there is only a minor wrinkle that was missed, I would maybe even consider introducing one or 2 for a more real feel. Sometime we have to fake reality to make it look real.The light dress does not help as it draws the eye too much so maybe reducing the exposure might help.

Head and shoulders, separation is one way and move around, I would be tempted to copy her sisters posture I would even test using her body and just altering the dress shade or color as you may get a better fit. I would use her neck as well at least to see if it worked.

Hair, I think if you get it closer to her sisters, looking at the image I felt she had a very similar shade but the original lighting altered the look.

I did not mean to be over critical hope you did not take it that way, as overall you have done a very credible job with a limited resolution. I would probably take a crack myself but I am so snowed under at work.

jjc30d Mar 8, 2007 4:59 PM

Hey, I totally understand the email thing. Wise course of action. Here are the two original files:

Oh, her hair is the same color in real life, it wouldn't hurt to be a bit darker. Also her head seems too big (a little too wide).

Lemme know if you have more questions.


jc :G

Corpsy Mar 8, 2007 9:22 PM

The family photo looks much better now. The sister photo, however, looks like it was only a crop. I don't know if there's much of a quality difference, and in high resolution it might actually appear even worse.

I'll take a crack at it probably some time tomorrow. I'm off to catch the midnight show of 300 and will have to be there early to get a seat.

Corpsy Mar 9, 2007 3:02 AM

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Well, here's the final.

It could be better, but I think I've spent enough time on this one. It's too bad the shot of the sister wasn't taken from much closer. She isn't nearly as sharp in that image as the rest of the family members are.

Corpsy Mar 9, 2007 3:05 AM

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Here's a before/after image to illustrate the amount of cleaning up I did. The image on the left was after all the adjustments and repairs I did on the first edit as well as the new edits to correct the posture. I used a combination of smudging and duplicate layers with masked areas of unsharp mask to both clear away noise and blemishes, but to also try and add some sharpness and detail.

creeduk Mar 9, 2007 9:13 AM

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Very good job on the clean up of the sister corpsy.

I threw one together using the methods I mentioned and although not totally happy I think it works. Corpsy is right about the quality of the sisters picture if only it had been a close up of upper body the job would be a lot easier.

A great tip for shooting these situations is to have a stand in, you get someone to stand in the location to be filled it helps with spacing and shadows fro the original shot. If for instance her sister had taken a shot in place then moved to occupy a spot that is to be reserved for her missing sister and the photo shot again between these 2 shots and the missing person shot you can get some good results.

jjc30d Mar 9, 2007 1:24 PM

Man! You guys have done some awesome work! I really appreciate it (so does the Shetler family, they aren't used to such "amazing wizardry"). A special thanks to "Corpsy for his totally impressive work!


jc :G

Corpsy Mar 9, 2007 2:05 PM

JC, thanks, I'm glad you and the Shetler family like it.

Creeduk, that's an interesting approach. I never thought to try using a mirrored copy of the first sister's head as a base. It does resolve the noise and lighting issues to a good extent. After getting all the features in place, it probably wouldn't be terribly difficult to liquify it to more closely match the shape of her face. I'll keep that one in mind next time I see a project like this, thanks.

jjc30d Mar 9, 2007 3:12 PM

Yeah Creeduk, that raised some eyebrows here. Steve (the dad) couldn't get over it.... Delore's hair on Juanita's face, imagine that! :grin:

Thanks again,

jc :G




I just had to post that AK-47 dealie.....pretty cool.

creeduk Mar 9, 2007 5:51 PM

A method I have employed several times before works well with family members. the chin of course would need a small rework but that is about it once you take I like I did the eyes nose and mouth. Often mothers, daughters or sisteror fathers and sons or brothersshare enough attributes to help repair or blend photographs.

jjc30d Mar 10, 2007 8:57 PM

Thanks sooo much everyone! The work was AWESOME!!!!


jc :G

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