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January, 2012

Welcome to my share page. Each month I'll try to bring you an enlightening thought, quote or tip. Questions or feedback is always welcome at: roger@imageinations.com


Each Photoshop tip is designed to open possibilities and explore options. Even if you never use the exact effect shown, you will find that there are often new ways to do the same thing or new paths to explore. This month we will create PORTRAIT RETOUCHING (1). To be continued. Refer to the sample images at the bottom of the instructions. This example relies on layer masks and blending options.

1. Open a portrait image that you feel could use some work in smoothing, shaping, coloring, and fine tuning.

2. First we'll work on brightening the eyes. Press CTRL-J (CMD-J) to make a copy of your background layer. With the new layer selected change the Blending Mode to SCREEN. This will lighten the entire image. Hold down ALT and click on the Layer Mask Icon (circle inside a box at the bottom of the layer palette). This will add a layer mask filled with black to your layer. At this point you should label this layer EYES.

3. Press B to bring up the brush tool. Choose a small soft brush at 100%. Be sure the mask itself is selected by clicking on it (a box appears around the thumbnail). Now paint over just the whites of the eyes in you open image. Don't worry if they seem too light. If you paint outside the whites of the eyes just switch your foreground color to black and paint over your mistake.

4. Now you can lower the Opacity of the layer until the eyes are a light as you think they should be.

5. Next we'll change the hair color. Click on the New Layer icon to open a new blank layer above your "eyes" layer. Label this layer HAIR. Pick any nice bright color and paint over the hair. It doesn't have to be exact. If you paint too far over an edge choose the ERASE TOOL to erase your mistake.

6. Now change the blend mode to SOFT LIGHT. If you're working in CS4 or higher: Add a HUE/SATURATION adjustment layer. Right click on the layer and choose CLIPPING MASK so that it only affects the layer below. If you're working in Elements go to ENHANCE>HUE/SATURATION. You can now experiment with the Hue and the Saturation slider to change the hair color.

7. Now we'll smooth out the skin. In CS 4 or higher you can press CTRL-SHIFT-ALT-E to "stamp" everything below, that is make a composite of everything you've done so far. Lable this layer Smooth. Go to FILTER>BLUR>GAUSSIAN BLUR and add just enough blur that detail is gone from the skin. About 4 pixels in and 8x10 at 300 ppi.

8. Hold down ALT and click on the Layer Mask inco at the bottom of the layers pallett (the circle inside the square). This gives you a layer mask filled with black so you no loger see the blurred image.

9. Now, like we did with the eyes, paint with white over just the skin area. Be careful not to paint over the eyes, eyebrows, hair, lips, or anyplace you need detail. The skin now looks smooth; almost too smooth.

10. Now we'll add some texture back into the skin. Hold ALT and click on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the layers pallett. This brings up the New Layer dialog box. Form the drop down menu next to Mode choose Soft Light. Click on the Fill with 50% gray check box. Click OK. This adds a gray layer.Label this layer Texture. In Soft Light mode anything lighter than gary is seen as lighter and anything darker as darker.

11. Go to FILTER>NOISE>ADD NOISE. An amount of abiout 10% should work. Choose Gaussian and Monochromatic. Now the entire image has a noisy buzz to it. We want the noise just on the skin. In Elements you must repeat steps 8 and 9. In CS 4 or 5 just hold down ALT and click on the layer mask in the Smooth layer. Drag a copy up to the texture layer. Reduce the Opacity to about 50% so you just see enough texture so that the skin doesn't look plastic.

12. Now we'll shape the face a bit. Repeat step 10. Label this layer Sculpt. Use a soft white brush at about 30% opacity and paint over the highlights in the face. Switch to a black brush and paint over the shadow areas. Lower the opacity if the effect seems too strong.

13. To add eyeshadow and lipstic, add a new blank layer for each. Pick a color and paint with a soft brush at 100% opacity. Change the blending mode to Soft Light and adjust the opacity until the effect looks natural.




All I can do in my writing is to stimulate a certain amount of thought, clarify some imagetechnical facts and date my work. But when I preach sharpness, brilliancy, scale, etc., I am just mouthing words, because no words can really describe those terms and qualities it takes the actual print to say, "here it is."

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.

There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.

Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships!

I am sure the next step will be the electronic image, and I hope I shall live to see it. I trust that the creative eye will continue to function, whatever technological innovations may develop. Ansel Adams

To see more Ansel Adams' images, click here



VanessaAnsel Adams was a pretty fair piano player. Many of his observations about photography are music analogies. He often said that "The negative is the score, and the print is the performance." Today the negative is equivalent to the information stored when when "take a picture." We want as much information as possible concerning the tonal range, depth of field, and final area.

But that is only the beginning. We then need to use out post-production techniques (Photoshop) to achieve our subjective vision. We might have written a beautiful musical composition but without a seasoned performer the music would never come to life.

Our vision of the final image should always include the final performance, and we should become equally adept at our post production techniques.


Image: Vanessa by Roger Baker


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