Another week, another quick tutorial. This week I am going to show you how to turn skin pale in Photoshop. The image I will be using to showcase this is one of my older edits. It is a dark art image, but this effect could be used the same on any image, for example a fashion image. This is a trick I learnt a few years ago from watching Calvin Hollywood’s tutorial dvd Calvinize. Be sure to check his work out as it is awesome! In this tutorial I will be using different percentages of opacity, but it is the same technique.
I had to shoot in an environment without HSS (Didn’t have my Citi600 with me) and I didn’t have my Hoya ND16 filter with me either. Which meant that I couldn’t effectively overpower the ambient light coming off the stage to get rid of the blue on the model’s skin.
This led me to trying a few solutions, albeit badly until Stefan Kohler hooked me up with this ridiculously simple and awesome solution for fixing colour problems while retaining all of the micro details in contrast etc (which you lose when you use Frequency Separation for low level skin etc).
Being a pretty diverse tool, Photoshop suggests many ways to accomplish each task. And each has its pros and cons. One of the more powerful tools in photoshop is masks. It is probably also one of the more complex tools. We are going to tackle making today, and hopefully making them a bit less complex.
If you split an image into its most basic components, you can look at each pixel as the sum of the following info:
- Color Tone
If we look at a black and white photo for example, one only element present in the photo is brightness. So any three-dimensionality is determined exclusively by the (relative) brightness of neighboring pixels. Our brain is trained to “think” that bright pixels are located closer to us, while dark pixels are more likely to be further away.
Retoucher Julia Kuzmenko is somewhat of an authority in the glamour / beauty retouching scene, so it is quite interesting to follow her workflow and see how she approaches an edit.
It is even more interesting when the retouch is a challenging mix of skin, makeup and glitter. (Especially glitter, and red no less).
In general, there are four “famous” skin-retouching techniques on the photography and retouching market to achieve a smooth skin:
- Gaussian blur (for me not a skin-retouching technique, but I see it a lot)
- Inverted high-pass
- Frequency Separation
- Dodge & Burn
(Yes, there are more, but these are the “biggest” ones “inside” Photoshop)
This article will compare these skin-retouching techniques to show the pros and cons for each of them. However, this article will not show you how to do them, but what the “good and bad” sides are about these techniques – they might be not “black or white” but can be both (like grey-shades).
Ever since Affinity Photo was announced we were wondering how it will match up to Photoshop. Dracorubio took it for a round and was ok with it, though not overly impressed. Now photographer Felix Barjou gave it a spin for a full retouch session.
The retouch is sped up to about two and half minutes and for me it was not trivial to see any major differences in the workflow vs. the predominant Photoshop alternative. Can you?
Felix tells us that “This software is pretty cool. The corrector tool is more powerful than Photoshop, but some small things are missing, like invert a layer mask, keyboard shortcuts for wacom users and such, but it is still a beta version”
As a PSA, Affinity Photo is still available as a free Beta, though we aren’t sure what ill happen to all the beta users once the software is completed.
When shooting portraits, getting the right skin tones is not a trivial task. Differences in lighting, skin tan and other factors can create uneven skin tones which our brains usually compensates in ‘real life’, but they can be quite distrusting when looking in a portrait.