A quick overview of a non destructive retouching process

Dec 29, 2016

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.

A quick overview of a non destructive retouching process

Dec 29, 2016

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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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xf6nknAngw

It is not uncommon for a photo to be retouched more than once. Maybe you spent a night sleeping over it, maybe you learned a new trick and most commonly: maybe the client came back with some feedback.

In this case, you will go back to the files and re-do some of the work you already did. If you did it all on the background layer, you may find yourself in a bad situation. The work that requires a fix is already used in another layer. Say a liquify filter. Since you can not un-liquify an image, you will have to redo everything and then liquify again. But this is true not just for liquify, it’s true for everything: healing brush, dodge and burn, working on skin, or on eyes or on lips. Fixing the skies. This is why we use layers.

Lighting

But before jumping into Photoshop, here is a quick look on the lighting setup:

  • Mainlight: 70cm white beauty dish
  • Hairlight: 140x30cm Striplight
  • Fill: 150cm silver Umbrell
  • Background: standard reflector with a grid to create the gray gradient

Layering

Each layer does one thing, and one thing only. even better, it does it in a way that does not interfere with the rest of the layers. If you want to re-do the lips, no problem, just re-do the lips layers.

In the video above, I will demo a short session with some non-destructive tips. Some of the tips use the RAWexchange Retouching Toolkit, but the principle remains the same even if you use other tools.

Video Legend

00:00 – intro + raw export
00:30 – cleaning the image with a solar curve layer
00:47 – creating a work plan
00:58 – healing brush on a new layer (@100% hardness setting)
02:15 – why non destructive is important
02:32 – removing stray hairs (clone tool and mask)
03:05 – about rotating the image for easy workflow
03:35 – Dodge & Burn with the toolkit D&B layer to maintain saturation
04:10 – why working on a luminosity layer makes sense
05:50 – adding more eye brows (note that eye brows are consider “good” facial hair, while mustache is considered “bad” facial hair)
06:20 – creating a sharp lip-line, with the clone stamp tool (@brighten) + fixing it in D&B
07:30 – fixing the eyes with a healing brush (on a separate layer)
08:10 – cloning in layer (@brighten mode)
08:30 – why it’s important to zoom in and zoom out while you work
09:00 – handling color (using the Retouching Toolkit average function)
10:30 – color grading
11:00 – final pixel peeping touches
11:20 – smart liquefy with the Retouching Toolkit
11:23 – more pixel peeing – Stefan, when will this ever stop….
12:06 – reapplying liquefy

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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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