Is anyone else obsessed with skin? (not like that!) :)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Senor Hound, May 30, 2008.

  1. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    Okay, so not in the dirty sense, but in the photograph sense. When I see a photograph of someone (especially a head shot), the first thing I notice is how smooth the skin looks. Even on the body, I notice if the skin looks fairly blemish free. This might be cause my personal complexion isn't all that great, or it could be just my personal thing for no reason whatsoever.

    So the second part is, when you're in Photoshop, how can you get a porous face to be smoother? I know how to clone out specific things (like a freckle or pimple) but I don't know how to do an overall smoothness. I tried a tool that kind of blurred things (I don't know what its called, maybe even blur :) ), but it really didn't get get that satin-esque look I'd like to know. And I tried an unsharpen mask, but I couldn't really see what it was doing in the preview of my screen.

    Anyway, if anyone else thinks skin is one of, if not the most important physical feature on a portrait, I'd love to hear from you, especially if you know how to do some post processing.
     
  2. wolfden

    wolfden TPF Noob!

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  3. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Just Google 'Photoshop + Skin' and you will come up with millions of hits. Skin smoothing in post processing is very common for many types of photography. Actually, with a lot of glamour & fashion shoots...if they only smooth the skin...that would be considered a minor edit.

    Of course, make up and good lighting do help as well.

    Basic skin smoothing can be as simple as applying some blur. A quick technique that I use is to duplicate the layer and add a gaussian blur to the top layer. Then add a layer mask to that layer as well. Then you can just 'paint' the blur layer back on with a soft brush, into the areas that you want to smooth out.

    More advanced techniques will smooth the skin but attempt to leave the texture of the skin, so that it looks more realistic.

    HERE is a tutorial for a somewhat advanced technique...well, it's advanced to me anyway :lol:
     
  5. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    Pro's get paid massive money for that look.. it takes practice and skill :) I think the link big mike gave is a good one. Also check out some of these tutorials:
    http://retouchpro.com/tutorials/?m=browse&id=3


    And unsharp mask is for sharpening your picture. The title is misleading, isn't it? Try setting your settings at 20, 40, 1. Taht should give nice sharp results. It also works as a defogger, removing any foggy cast that was there before.
     
  6. AndrewG

    AndrewG TPF Noob!

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    Lighting is critical with portraiture; if the subect is well lit (no direct, harsh flash) and, if shot outdoors, use evening light which is softer and more flattering than midday sun. If you can't avoid shooting when the light is harsh place your subject in shade.
    Indoors use diffused and bounced flash (if you really have to) but try to use window light, with a reflector on the shadow side.
    If you do this you shouldn't need to fix the shot afterwards.
     
  7. dslrchat

    dslrchat TPF Noob!

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    use quick mask, then invert selection
    gausion blur abit (3 pixels +/-)
    you may have to add a bit of noise afterwards if its too plasticy

    Thats just a general way, play with it till you get something you like.
    There are other blur techniques too.
     
  8. That One Guy

    That One Guy TPF Noob!

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    a nice overcast day is good as well. it's like big diffused light.
     
  9. AndrewG

    AndrewG TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, I forgot to mention that!
     
  10. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    As I've mentioned on many occasions, blur should not be part of your standard retouching workflow. It's a specialized tool for rare applications, not used by talented professionals day-to-day.

    The instructions on the page linked to are not only amateur but produce positively terrifying plastic results.
     
  11. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    How do you smooth out skin on your photos? Since you don't approve, I'd like to hear of a method you do approve of.

    Thanks to everyone for their advice.
     
  12. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    My link? Or mikes link?

    Yes, be careful with tutorials.. I have found one or two that fit my niche, but yes beware of fake plastic results.

    As always, start with great lighting, great exposure and decent skin and you won't have to do much work. You can also try totally rad affects (actions for PS, you can google) and portraiture.
     

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