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kenmck15 Nov 21, 2005 5:52 AM

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I am starting clr photos. i am finding it really hard to get the color balance etc correct. also sharpness and all the rest.

can i get some help with maybe someone doing a quick over haul of the image and just posting the processes involved so i can get started on my own images.

I found b&w hard enough and now color is a whole new can of worms.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

like maybe sharpness, color balance, levels, curves, air brushing. I know what these things are and i have basic knowledge but my skills arnt high enough to make this image look any good

Ohh yea the lighting i am using is manly tungsten based and no i cant afford to change it.

This is one of the worst images from the lot as i want to fix up the better ones so plsedont be to hard on me about the photo LOL :?

thanks heaps

Aucks, NZ

Stevekin Nov 21, 2005 6:48 AM

Hi again Ken.

I'll repost my edit here as it is more relevant.

Yes, I use PS, but one of the best things to use for a situation like this is a noise removal program/filter. It can help tremendously to remove slight blemishes as well as noise and as a consequence, it also softens the image. But that's not a problem, as we want the skin to be soft and can sharpen up the features afterwards.

So, first, 'Create New Layer' to work on, then I ran the image through Noise Ninja. If you don't have this, and I highly recommend it, you can download a trial version. Alternatively, Neat Image is also very good and that is available for free !! In the form of a never ending trial version for home use.There are limits to the full functionality, but I understand this is only for things like batch processing etc.

To get rid of the hotspots, on her forehead and nose I created a blank layer (just click on 'Create new Layer' icon in the layers palette instead of dragging the layer thumbnail onto it), now change the blend mode of the blank layer to Darken. We are going to paint over the hotspots with some sampled skin colour, and in darken mode this will only paint on pixels that are actually lighter than the sample.

Zoom in a bit closer and with the eyedropper tool, click on an area of skin that is 'clean' and close to the section to be repaired. Now, take the brush tool and reduce the opacity to between 10 and 20 pixels. We do this so the result can be built up slowly and more precisely. Paint over the shiny areas until you feel it matches the surrounding areas, using the history palette to cancel any strokes out if it looks too much. And sample frequently to avoid painting just one skin tone, as close to the dodgy area that you can.

Once you are happy with the 'hotspots' merge that layer with the one below, then drag it to the ctreate new layer icon. It is always best to do things on seperate layers each time so you keep track of what you are doing. Now use the healing brush to remove any remaining blemishes, (though there aren't many !!).

It can sometimes be tempting to over compensate and make things look false, so I brightened the whites of her eyes and her teeth ever so slightly. Select those areas and using Hue/Saturation, just increase the lightness slider a little bit, around +5. Sometimes it helps to reduce the yellows, but not necessary in this case.

Sharpenening can sometimes destroy any smoothing of the skin that has been achieved and with portraits, the main points are the eyes, nose and mouth, so you should selectively sharpen just these features. You can do this the conventional way by selecting the features, feathering by 5 pixels and use unsharp mask. As you will see, this will sharpen just the features and the feather blends the effect so it doesn't 'stand out' like a sore thumb.

But for this one I used the high pass filter. Drag the top layer to the create a new layer icon and go to Filter/Other/High Pass. What the high pass filter does is detect the contrast differences in an image and darkens the darks and lightens the lights, emphasising the contrast between the two. This has the effect of sharpening an image. As it does this to contrasting edges it is less likely to affect parts of the image with little or no contrast, depending on the value you input.whereas unsharp mask affects the whole image.

Choose a value between 3 and 5 and on the grey preview notice the edges become more prominent. Click ok and to see the result, change the blend mode of the grey layer to 'Overlay'.

Zoom in real close and check for any distortion to the smooth areas brought out by the high pass filter, (there will be a little).

Click on 'Add Layer Mask' at the bottom of the layers palette, make sure the foreground and background colour swatch in the tool palette is set to black and white, now take a soft edged brush and painting with black, paint over the areas of the face and torso that show signs of the high pass filter. Not the eyes, nostrils and mouth, just the rest, to bring back the softness.

When you are happy with the result, flatten the image and then I gave it just a little unsharp mask with values of, Amount : 29 Radius : 1.5

Hope you like it. I hasten to add, this is just one way to do this, there are many others and hopefully you will see alternative techniques you may like/prefer.

BTW, a very beautiful young lady and as I said earlier, takes longer to explain than to actually do. This is because there wasn't very much needed to be done and was mainly caused by the lighting, but they can help you with that in Critiques ;).

limeyg Nov 21, 2005 7:46 AM

Great to read your response to Ken as many of us are trying to master the makeover of our images at the moment and you guys are so good at it.

Your input gives us all a good practical base to try out.
Keep the info coming


Curmudgeon Nov 21, 2005 9:49 AM


That is amazing!

Can you make me have hair again... no not a picture for real!



Stevekin Nov 22, 2005 3:57 AM

Thanks guys 8)

Limeyg : It's nice to be able to pass on what I have learned, as it is how we all learn. By seeing techniques produced by others, following tutorials and above all, practice !! Glad to be of help.

Curmudgeon : Sorry, you'll have to have a word with Elton John's hair weaver :lol:. That's the trouble with photo editing, if anyone here met me, they'd realise I wasn't as young as I look :G.

And what is amazing is actually the software that enables us to do this.

kenmck15 : Just remembered seeing your recent exceptional b&w makeover. I'm certain you will have no problem with your colour versions :cool:.

kenmck15 Nov 22, 2005 4:05 AM

Stevekin you are a legend

i will study every word and try my best thank you so much for all the effort


Aucks, NZ

limeyg Nov 22, 2005 6:43 AM

Im still looking for the software settings that make me feel like 25 again as well as look.
Cheers Geoff

VTphotog Nov 24, 2005 7:36 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I always learn something from following (when I am able ) Stevekin's retouches. Of course, I also tend to have my own take on them.

My first step with this picture was to sharpen it up just a bit using Image Analyzer- motion blur, then adjusting midtone contrast up and bringing the highlights down just a tad. Then, with Photoimpact, used the Touch-up tool set to 50%, selected a patch of skin on right arm and cleared up the highlights, and blemishes. Used the enhance-beautify skin setting to soften the skin slightly, Adjusted levels to remove a bit of the excess red in the shadows. On the advice of my wife, as I don't have a clue about this, I adjusted the hue of the lipstick to a bit more orange, to better match skin tones and clothing.


kenmck15 Nov 24, 2005 11:45 PM

thank you simon that came out really nice. i also have photo impact but i wasnt sure if it was a good program. u have obviously proved it is

nice one mate, thank you for touvhing up my photo


Aucks, NZ

Canna W Nov 26, 2005 12:17 PM

Ken - looks an excellent photo to me...

Thank youStevekin and Brian for fantastic descriptions of your work. Hugely helpful for those of us still struggling!



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