How Good (And Bad) Retouching Impacts Your Objective Age

May 3, 2015

Stefan Kohler

Stefan Kohler is a full-time retoucher. He’s from Germany and likes bacon. In the last years, he built up a broad community around his retouching classes at the Infinite tool’s website. You can follow his work oninstagram.

How Good (And Bad) Retouching Impacts Your Objective Age

May 3, 2015

Stefan Kohler

Stefan Kohler is a full-time retoucher. He’s from Germany and likes bacon. In the last years, he built up a broad community around his retouching classes at the Infinite tool’s website. You can follow his work oninstagram.

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A few days ago it started – suddenly these portraits sprouted everywhere like mushrooms after the rain, with pictures of people and a postit note on their forehead which states their age.

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Behind this fed is a new “service” called how-Old, which claims to give an accurate guesstimate of your age based on a single photo. As a retoucher I often encounter this problem; a model still has a few more years to “steal” or actually to “give” to the industry. I had to test how many years I can take of a model with retouching and while this is a lighthearted post, the results were quite interesting.

1) The Original Photograph

Our 17-year-old model has aged 13 years old –  or at least so says the algorithm.

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2) After Retouching

This version was retouched the ‘old’ way, using mostly Dodge & Burn. Not bad, we shaved 4 years off.

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3) Black & White

The conversion to a black and white image will cost another year. (but is still better than the unretouched photo by 3 years)

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4) color look up table

A color look is as even better – a LUT applied gives us another 3 years! bringing us to only +7 years from the real age.

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5) micro contrasts

Men Portraits – especially by sailors – are welcome to some micro-contrast (as popularly called “clarity” filter). If you push the slider all the way to the left, you get this’ 70s film look grubby and win 2 years at the same time.

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6) The Gaussian Blur

A crud Gaussian Blur filter finally manages to get the model down to her real age – 17 – whether it actually looks good…. you are allowed to decide for yourself.

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I am actually going to save you the high-pass filter which added about 10 years to our already too high of an initial estimate.

How does it work for you? How many years are between your real age and that how-old.net guesstimate?

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Stefan Kohler

Stefan Kohler

Stefan Kohler is a full-time retoucher. He’s from Germany and likes bacon. In the last years, he built up a broad community around his retouching classes at the Infinite tool’s website. You can follow his work oninstagram.

Join the Discussion

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2 responses to “How Good (And Bad) Retouching Impacts Your Objective Age”

  1. Renato Murakami Avatar
    Renato Murakami

    It’s best to make some things clear here: The website does not give you “objective age”, and it never claimed “to give an accurate guesstimate”.

    In fact, from the page itself, I quote: “Now, while the API is reasonably good at locating the faces and identifying gender it isn’t particularly accurate with age, but it’s often good for a laugh and users have fun with it”.

    Now, while I know this was probably made in jest, just thought that it’s better for people to know this. The page was made for fun, and as a demonstration on what could be done with Microsoft’s Azure servers.

    Typo fix: “Our 17-year-old model has aged 13 years oldER – or at least so says the algorithm.”

    Personal attempt? I had a 33yr old photo of mine evaluated as 56, and a 29yr old photo evaluated as 24.

  2. thebeline Avatar
    thebeline

    Soooooo…. I am just going to leave this here:

    It would seam that your re-touching affects the age less than the stoic and dejected look it’s self… Just saying….