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 FrogDaddy Does a Skin Thing

ArtSkin Retouching for Digital Photographs

The purpose of this article is to learn a few skin re-touching tricks to liven up some of those old those photos. Not to do professional models, although the techniques are similar, the goal here is to get a natural more realistic look of your girlfriend, mother, daughter, whoever. To remove those age lines and blemishes ... just a general clean up.
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Artists and photographers often shy away from this type of work. It seems so easy to destroy or in many cases make the photos worse than they originally were. Often ending up with something they have to hide if their girlfriend or wife walks past the pc monitor while they're working. Here's the way FrogDaddy does a Skin Thing.

The story? I had just climbed into the bath tub, when my sweetheart opened the door and snapped a photo! After my bath I downloaded it into my PC and brought it into Adobe Photoshop and here's what happened next.
Photo 1
Original photo was shot as 6 meg jpg. file, I cropped it to 1000 x 1000 pixels for this article.

First thing I did was make a copy of the photo and saved it in .psd format. Then I copied the layer so that I had 2 layers with the same picture on each. I like to work with lots of layers when I work. I took the top layer and applied a 1.2 pixel Gaussian Blur. Then changed the transparceny of the layer to about 35%. This softened the photo and smoothed the skin tone a little. I then selected the whole image, copy merged and pasted it as a new image ... got that? Like starting over except the tones were better.

Next step was to remove some of the lines in my face. I wanted it to look natural. I'm not going for the perfect model look. I'm 50 years old .... I want to look my age. Not ancient and not like a teenager either .... just a better, cleaner, neater look. That is the goal of this excercise.

I used the airbrush tool on about 13% pressure. I selected the color of skin tone very close to where I was going to work. Gently, I started to rework some of the lines in my face. I wasn't erasing them or covering them up. I was lightly recoloring the darker areas where a shadow shows and makes the lines look dark. In general when I'm doing this work I have the image enlarged to about 300% and am working a small area at a time. By applying thin layers of color I can stop at any moment I think it looks right. Apply very short strokes almost pixels dots to even the tones. Each time you move a little, re-use the eye dropper to choose a new tone of color. Under close scrutiny notice that I have also reworked the eyes (very gently added a touch of color), and lightened the whites.

Also removed some hairs between my eyebrows and around my ears. Cleaned up the neck lines a bit and worked hard on and around my ears.

Remember, I have the airbrush covering only one or two pixel width and set at 13% pressure ... this is slow going, but very rewarding.

Photo 2

Here is the result of airbrushing some of the lines out of my face, evening some skin tones and removing any blemishes and marks. Notice, I have not removed everything. I must stress again that I'm going for the natural look. If I wanted perfection I would've applied make-up before the photo was taken.

Now this is in pretty good shape. I have several options here. One is to apply a lighting effect. I almost always add this effect. It helps even the tones and the light direction. The effect is usually too strong and requires some correction.

Photo 3

Here is the photo again with the Lighting Effects applied. I used the Spotlight set at 2 o'clock but enlargened the effect to take in the whole photo. This is a standard Photoshop Lighting Effect

I used a 19% light intensity. 91% wide focus. Properties were:
Gloss/Finish was set on -100 Matte.
Material was set on -58 Plastic.
Exposure was set at 0, no over, no under.
Ambience was set at 21.

Photo 4

From the lighting effects the photo was a little too light or washed out. I want the same basic tones I had in the beginning just a bit better lighted scene. So, I use one layer before I applied the lighting effects and one after I applied it. I place the well lit layer on top and using the layer transparency I adjusted the lit layer to around 50% transparent. The effect can be awsome. Last thing I did was to use the blur tool on the background areas of the photo. This made the subject stand out more.

Photos 5 - 6

Here's a side by side comparision. Now this was done with a snap shot of me! .... can you imagine doing this to your sweethearts photo? You'd be in forever!

Hope this was useful and that you enjoyed!

Copyright AlienLove 2005

FrogDaddy - 2005

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"FrogDaddy Does a Skin Thing" | Login/Create an Account | 2 comments | Search Discussion
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Re: FrogDaddy Does a Skin Thing (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Friday, March 11 @ 17:49:26 EST
Hey Bobby, isn't that Bill O'Reilly's loofah? (Of course, he'd call it a falafel!)

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