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Archive 2013 · Feedback needed on portrait touchup
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p.1 #1 · Feedback needed on portrait touchup

I'm interested in some critique on the Photoshop touchup I did. I use Portrait Professional first to get some skin smoothing and face shaping and them moved to Photoshop for more extensive work. This was more than I have ever attempted and to keep her looking like a younger self.

1) I used liquify to push in her right cheek and shrink/lift up under her chin. I could use a suggestion for a good resource for learning more how to use liquify. I found that the areas I pushed and tugged from were all messed up, so below her chin I spent a bunch of time using clone, pattern and spot healing to fix her upper chest. Pushing her cheek away from the snake messed up the snake's body.

2) I had found more than one reference that uses the paint brush to remove shine, however using this technique removes the skin texture, so I wonder if there is a better method to keep the texture and remove the shine, to avoid using a bunch of tools to get the texture back.



Feb 16, 2013 at 02:55 AM
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p.1 #2 · Feedback needed on portrait touchup

I think for the image size you are displaying here, your modifications in general are not bad. If I just saw the after image, I probably wouldn't immediately assume a massive retouch. Considering the extensive modifications you did - in particular playing around with liquify edits - it looks impressively believable to me.

In terms of weaknesses, I think you could have retained a little more skin texture but it is a hard thing to judge at this size online. Her ear looks a little odd where you cloned out the fly-away hairs. I think you dampened the highlights on the face a little too much and it is somewhat inconsistent with the shininess that remains around her chin.

Whether these edits will hold up for a 16x20 enlargement for the wall of the clinic is a whole different ballgame.

Regarding your question about removing shiny highlights, there are several methods but I usually use the healing brush in darken mode on a new layer. Then I either use Edit>Fade or just reduce the opacity of the new layer. The healing brush allows you to copy texture from a nearby area and yet darken the shine.

= = =

Now with that out of the way, I think it would be helpful if you could explain your objective here a little more. My assumption is that these shots are probably for display at a vet clinic or for advertising more than shots for the subjects.

I mention this because if this portrait was for the subject, I think you probably went too far. You crossed the line from flattering retouch to pretty heavy digital make-up. If for the subject, you run the risk of insulting her unless she specifically requested this type of modification. Even if this is technically for the clinic, everyone there including her is going to be able to compare your portrait against reality on a daily basis.

If the objective was to show real people at the clinic, I wouldn't have used liquify at all. I might have squeezed the entire image by 5-10% and used dodging and burning to slim her face a little. Unless she normally wears make-up (and she apparently doesn't), I would have kept more facial texture, including the dark spots at reduced contrast.

If the clinic wanted real people but as gorgeous as possible, I would suggest hiring a make-up artist and hair stylist.

If the clinic wanted gorgeous models for advertising, I would suggest hiring gorgeous models.

I also suggest that you use this retouching work you are doing as a great lesson for thinking about your lighting strategies. As an example, see how you lit up her right cheek? That widened her face by probably 10-20%. See how the left of her neck is lit? That helped emphasize a double-chin.

Posing comes into play, too. Having her lean slightly forward and push her head slightly out towards the camera would have helped quite a bit with the chin and might have helped with the face/body proportions as well.

Feb 16, 2013 at 03:52 PM
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p.1 #3 · Feedback needed on portrait touchup

Dennis, thanks for the response. This is what the kind of help people should always get from the forums.

To address your comments:
a) I see about the ear and will fix it. It was messed up by the liquify when doing her cheek.

b) Print will be probably be 8x10. I think I put back some decent texture in the upper chest. I might do a print to see what it looks like. However, I probably have no clue on the proper method to use the liquify.

c) My objective of the photo session at my Vet's clinic was for advertising and not shots for the subjects. I have my business cards there as well as a calendar. I wanted to try out the idea of photographing the Drs, staff and their pets and see if that helps generate any business. I proposed the idea of a group photo with their pets and then portraits for those who wanted them. Frame them and display with my business nameplate on the main wall in the lobby.
The photos on white was something I recently wanted to try.

d) Regarding the woman with the snake. She was the initiator of the large touchup. I think she is self conscious. I sent her an example of the cheek changes to see if I did too much. She was good with the cheek. She repeated as she had before that she wanted her under chin fixed. She was happy with the result and I think she even wanted more slimmed from her under chin.

e) When you say "squeezed the entire image by 5-10%", what tool/method does this?

f) Lots of work to do with posing and lighting.

So what did I learn from this:
a) The more correct on the shot, the less time spent post processing
b) Learned and practiced a lot on Photoshop with so much more to learn
c) Need to learn more on posing to hide flaws.
d) Goes with "a", that when I got to editing I can see details that I wish I noticed during the shoot, such as didn't recognize that light from an example room was infiltrating my scene. The hallway was narrow and placed the stand/softback in the exam room doorway but never thought about the light. Sometimes didn't affect as noticeably if the subject was placed just a slight difference backward.

Here is what I'm going with after I made some additional adjustments

Feb 17, 2013 at 12:53 AM
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p.1 #4 · Feedback needed on portrait touchup

It sounds like you're good to go then, Keith. My concern was that maybe you were doing these edits without communication with the subject but it sounds like you've got that handled.

I'm no master retoucher but here is a sample I put together. It probably would not be enough to satisfy her based on her/your comments regarding her cheeks. Mainly I just wanted to give you some ideas regarding how highlights and shadows impact the face. It's the kind of thing that you can apply in post via dodging and burning or when you take the shot via the positioning of the lights and the types of lights used.

The "squeeze" that I mentioned earlier is applied here. It is just taking the entire image and using a Edit>Transform>Scale to make it narrower. It is very subtle and it needs to be subtle so as not to look weird. Here, I reduced the horizontal dimension by maybe 5%.

I tend to do about everything I can to stay away from liquify, particularly around the face. There are just so many subtle visual cues around the face and the eye is very sensitive to those. When I try it, I keep them very, very subtle - otherwise it usually just looks wrong. More practice would probably help. I used no liquify in this example although I think I did use a tiny bit of perspective correction with the lens correction filter to make her head slightly bigger in proportion to her body.

One thing I noticed while working on the image was that the color balance seems to be a little on the yellow side, particularly for your edited images. I can't be sure but you might want to double-check.

It's been interesting following your progress. Wish you the best.

Feb 17, 2013 at 02:25 PM
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p.1 #5 · Feedback needed on portrait touchup

Nice job. Thanks for your tips and tricks.

Feb 17, 2013 at 05:42 PM

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