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In this course, photographer, author, and teacher Chris Orwig details the tools every photographer needs to retouch portraits to make them look their best while remaining authentic. The course includes an overview of the retouching process and how to develop a plan for a retouching project.
After exploring techniques to improve the overall photo, Chris shares his techniques for reducing wrinkles, enhancing eyes and other facial features, improving hair, and retouching makeup. The course concludes with a look at retouching skin and reshaping portions of a portrait using transformations, the Warp tool, and the Liquify filter.
In this movie, we'll be working on two different photographs; this first picture here, which was captured in the studio, and then also this photograph, which was captured outdoors. We're going to apply the same technique to both photographs, and take a look at how it works indoors, and also outdoors. In order to work with this technique, what we're going to need to do is to copy our Background layer, and apply a blending mode, but we're also going to need to create a couple of adjustment layers in order to make some corrections for the overall color. Now, the final result of this technique is a really interesting kind of soft and glamorous glow.
Well let's first set things up by applying a few adjustments with our Adjustments layer. So here we'll click on our Curves adjustments layer, and what we want to do here is we want to decrease contrast. We can do so by clicking and dragging our white point down, and then clicking and dragging our black point up. Now, this adjustment may seem a little bit counterintuitive. Why would we want to decrease contrast? Well, we're going to do that because the blending mode and the filter that we're going to apply is going to increase contrast, and color saturation, so we kind of need to prep things for that, knowing that that's about to happen.
Next we're also going to click on our adjustment layer icon for Hue/Saturation. Here, we want to desaturate the overall color at few points. We also want to go into the Reds channel, and desaturate that a little bit more. Okay, well the image obviously doesn't look very good right now, yet that's because we haven't taken the final few steps. Well the next step is to click into our Background layer. Then we're going to copy that layer by pressing Command+J on a Mac, or Control+J on Windows. This one is going to be a layer where we're going to apply a blur, and we're also going to apply Soft Light blending.
So let's navigate to the Filter pulldown menu. Here, we'll select Blur, and then Gaussian Blur. What we want to do is we want to bring up the blur, so that the image looks identifiable, but it's really blurry. So we want a lot of blur there. The more blur, kind of, the more glamorous, or the more glow that we'll get. You'll want to experiment with the amount, but let's try it with this amount here with this photograph. Next what we're going to do is change that layer blending mode to Soft Light. In doing that, that's going to then add this really interesting effect.
Let's zoom in, so that we can see the details here in this picture, and I'm going to zoom way in, so that we can focus in on what we're seeing with the skin. If we turn off the visibility of all of these layers, and let's go in even closer, so you can actually see the texture there, we can see this is the original image. Then after having applied this effect, well, the skin has a nice soft glow about it. We can, of course, work with our different layers, like this one here, which removes contrast. You could leave the contrast high if you wanted to, in order to have those deep colors; those nice yellows, and reds. Or if you want to reduce that a little bit, you can use this contrast reduction layer that we created here.
You could also modify this by decreasing the Opacity. Now, with this adjustment, currently it's creating this soft or glamorous glow across the entire image. We could obviously also mask this into specific areas as well. One more time; let's take a look at this one. Here it is: our before, and then now our after. All right! Well, we looked at this with the studio photograph, and this was a picture straight out of the camera. Let's also take a look at this with another picture; this one here. And again, let's go through those steps.
Because they're a little bit involved, I find it helpful to see the steps again, so that we can really know how this is going to work. Well here, rather than doing the adjustment layers first, I'm going to do my blending first; my blur, and my blending. So press Command+J on a Mac, or Control+J on Windows. Let's name this blur, and then soft light. Next we'll go to the Filter pulldown menu. Here we'll choose Blur, and then we'll select Gaussian Blur. Once again, we want to select an amount of blur that we think will work well, where the image is blurred out, but it's still pretty identifiable. Then click OK.
The next step is to change our layer blending mode to Soft Light. In doing that, we then will get this really nice kind of glamorous type of a glow look, and also these deep and rich colors here in this picture. Well, after we've applied that, I can then go back to my other adjustments. For example, I'm going to click on my Curves adjustment layer here, and I'm just going to bring up my blacks a little bit. By doing that, you can see that we're kind of bringing some light into those dark shadows. Nnd by doing this after the fact, I can now determine how far I want to bring that up, and also how much I want to bring down my highlights.
With this picture, I kind of like a lot of the contrast, so I'm not going to take out too much of that. Next step; we'll go to Hue/Saturation, and again, here we can decide to remove the color, or we can leave it up. Here I'm just going to take down, perhaps, a point, and then also with this picture, as we've seen before, there is some blue in the hat. I'm just going to get rid of that, because it doesn't really fit. So I'll go to the Blues, and I'm just going to decrease the level of those Blues there. Well now that we've dialed in this effect here with this picture, and we've seen how we can accomplish this, another way, with a different type of a photograph, let's take a look at the results.
If we click on our eye icons, you can see here's the before, and then now here's the after. If we zoom in a little bit more closely, what you'll see is that we have this before and after view, where the edges, and some of the details just become nice and soft. It's a little bit almost dreamlike. As you work with this effect, you may decide that you want to increase or decrease all of these layers at once. To do that, you'll want to group them together. So click in the topmost layer for this adjustment, or this effect, hold down the Shift Key, then click in the bottommost layer, then press Command+G on a Mac, or Control+G on Windows.
We'll just go ahead, and call this soft glow. Next we can then control our Opacity here. We can just bring this up, so we could bring in a little bit of nice softness. Now this is softening the skin; it's also softening the rest of the photograph as well. So this is a little bit more of a creative effect, yet I wanted to show it here, because it is sometimes a great technique that you can use in order to soften and enhance skin, as well as the rest of your photograph.
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