I’ve been asked (on a couple of occasions) what my sort of workflow is.
I have to admit, I really don’t have one. Some days I will edit ten pictures in exactly the same way, other days I will spend ten hours on the one image, barely doing anything to it except fiddling until I find something that I like. I haven’t been able to do that much recently due to school but last night I did what I would call a relative “quickie” where I mostly followed my workflow for retouching photos. Kinda.
I also wanted to have a bit more of a play with the new Wacom Intuos graphics tablet I won from Shutters Inc – though with a much more realistic retouch.
You can listen to that podcast and see my workflow here.
But before that, keep reading!
Firstly I started off with a picture I took of my dear friend, Tam…
Obviously her make-up is a little tired and some of it’s ended up under her eyes rather than over them. She’s got a few blemishes and such, but all of that can be fixed.
This is the result of fixing blemishes and skin tone and pores. Yes, it’s a bit extreme but I wasn’t going for realistic. My aim is a painterly feel to the overall finished image so painting various skin tones under the eyes, on the forehead and nose was called for.
In this one you can see that Tam’s chest is a little flushed (probably from a touch of sun), because I felt lazy, I didn’t bother doing anything to get rid of this. My excuse is that she’s just eaten… Heh.
I’ve done a touch more overpainting in this one, and employed the use of the Liquify tool to pull in Tam’s cheeks a bit. I normally never use the Liquify tool on facial features, however in the spirit of this picture – which is a creative portrait as opposed to a real one – I did use it. Just a tiny bit. I also wanted to make a real feature of Tam’s eyes so I “bloated” them (half a second touch of the bloat tool in Liquify) and the same with her lips. I also ran a Median filter over the entire image to blur out most of her chest and highlighted the lighter bits of her hair.
Now, on to creative lighting…
Here I’ve used adjustments layers to start pulling the warmth out of the image and start turning early afternoon to twilight. The best way to do this is to selectively pull down the yellows and boost the cyans.
Here I’ve pulled more of the green and yellows out and boosted the magenta settings just a little to make things look purple-ish. You can see that the highlights are really starting to twinkle at you now. However the bright background in the top left corner is distracting and not darkening up as I’d like, no matter how much green and yellow I pull from that area.
Whoa! What happened here? Nothing much. I just duplicated the original layer and pulled down the brightness and contrast. To do this correctly though, I had to switch off all my adjustment layers. The point of this is to darken up the top left corner without destructively erasing it or painting over it.
As you can see now, I’ve masked out the brightness of the top left corner and some of the highlights from Tam’s hair on that side, as I want the light to be mostly coming in from one direction. So when we turn our adjustment layers back on…
Et voila! Instant twilight. That looks much better. (And it’s about here that I start chirping about how cool Photoshop is.) Anyway, I’ve also taken the opportunity at this point to intensify the highlights in Tam’s eyes by running the dodge bush (set on Highlight) over them a few times. You can’t see it in these pictures but it’s very obvious in the larger versions.
Now we’ve really accentuated the eyes out by using a new layer set to “soft light”, a very soft brush set at a low flow and opacity and a dark red colour. I’ve also added a bit of war paint over one eye by using the pen tool for a very sharp crescent shape. I’ve masked out the scar where it falls over her eye and eyebrow and then blured it a little to make it look part of her skin. This layer is also set to soft light and has been dodged a little to match the contours of her face.
I know I rant and rail about vignetting images but I did vignette this one just to make the edges a little darker so Tam would pop out of the image. Sometimes vignettes are a good thing.
BUT ONLY SOMETIMES.
Anyway, I could have stopped it here but I wanted to add in some textural interest…
And that’s it. I found a texture that I liked and added it, set the blend mode of that layer to soft light and then masked out the bits that I didn’t want that level of texture on. I also added a basic texture under this layer so I could add a bit more depth to the face, however you can’t see it in these little images.
If you’re curious, here’s my layers palette:
That’s it! Any questions, feel free to email me.