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A portrait can be a cherished possession for a lifetime, and now making perfect portraits is just one Photoshop course away. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his vast knowledge of Photoshop to focus on the specific tools every photographer needs to adjust images and keep them looking genuine. Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training explores this program's deep resources and inspires photographers to do their creative best with everything from blemishes to backdrops. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this movie, we are going to take a look at how we can improve this particular photograph and in this particular case, one of the things that happened is I was using a little bit of a shorter focal length lens and as a result I'm a little bit closer to the subject and that's creating a little bit of distortion. So we want to fix that. So let's go ahead and copy that Background layer by clicking and dragging it to the New Layer icon. Next, what we are going to do is navigate to our Filter pulldown menu and chose Distort and then what we are looking to do here is select Lens Correction. So what we are going to do here is remove a little bit of the distortion. So let's go ahead and just bring this in, just a touch there. All right, go ahead and click OK.
Well now that we have done that, the image is already looking better. Here we have our before and then after, just pointing the face back a little bit. All right, well let's turn off the visibility of that Background layer. Here we can see that it distorted the background edge. Now a couple of things we can do here; we could use a Clone Stamp tool or the Healing Brush and paint this back or we could just crop it. Let's go ahead and just crop this, so we will grab our Crop tool and it's not that big of an area of the edge, so I'm okay with losing some of that. I'm just going to bring my Crop tool to the closeness of those edges and then press Enter or Return and now here we will be able to see a real nice before and then after. Okay great, well so far so good. Let's zoom in on the image a little bit more.
Then next thing I want to do is work on the ear over here. There are number of different ways that we can do this. One way is to grab the Marquee tool. We will go ahead and make a marquee selection of the ear and I just want to tuck that in a bit and again, just because of the perspective I have is drawing a little bit too much attention to ear, so let's say we want to push that in a bit. So I'll press Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on a PC, copy that selection to a new layer. Then we are going to press Command+T on a Mac, Ctrl+T on a PC and then right-click or Ctrl-click and choose Warp. What we can do with these Warp controls is that we can bring this in really nicely. So I'll just go ahead and look to bring this in a bit and again just tuck that in there, a touch. All right, and then press Enter or Return to apply that.
Here is our before and then after, just a nice way to bring that in. We could, of course, also go to our Filter and then Liquify dialog. We will go ahead and open up Liquify, zoom in on the ear right and we are going to use this particular tool here which allows us to warp things. I want our Brush Size to be relatively small, the Density and the Brush Pressure, we are going to keep pretty low and then I'll go ahead and decrease my Brush Size by pressing the left bracket key and then I'm just going to make my way across this area and bring that part of the ear in a bit. Then bring up my Brush Pressure, a little bit more pressure here so I can make stronger edits and again just looking to bring that ear back, just a bit.
I will go ahead and shift the other side over too and then click OK to apply that and again, just trying to do some quick little retouch in ear. Here is our before and then after. All right, so far so good. Let's click on the Add Layer Mask icon, grab our Brush tool by pressing the B key. I'm going to paint with black and we are just going to clean up these edges here, we want to mask those away because I had this real hard edge selection. I want to make sure I'm disguising all those edges. All right, great. So far so good. Here is our before and then after, subtly improving this photograph. What else could we do here? One of the things I want to do next is work on the nose. So go ahead and click back into that Background copy layer, we are going to make a selection of the nose. So we are going to make a selection of nose that goes beyond the nose. So we want to make a pretty big selection here and then we will copy that to new layer. Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on a PC. Then we will press Command+T.
Once we press Command+T, and that's Command+T on a Mac/Ctrl+T on a PC, we are just going to decrease the size of the nose here, just a touch and then press Enter or Return. Then what we want to do is just position this so we can get it just right there and then mask it in. `So I'll click on the Add Layer Mask icon, grab our Brush tool. You know where we are going with this, right? And we are going to go ahead and fix up those edges. So we will paint with black along those edges just to fix this up a little bit and then here is our before and then after, just subtly bringing that size of the nose down.
We can also reposition this. I want to bring it over a little bit and perhaps up. I'll do that as well. That might be kind of nice. I'll need to do a little bit more masking work because I have now shifted this over a bit and then hit the X key to fix that up a little bit more there, little bit of give and take with that, isn't it? And then here is our before and after. It looks like the position of the nose is just off a bit, before and then after and again I'm just going to nudge this around till I find just the right spot for this one and I think that is looking pretty good.
All right, well now that we have a little bit of a decrease size there, go ahead and click in the nose, go to Filter. I'm going to choose Liquify and zoom in on the nose and I'm just going to change the shape of this just a touch. So I'll make my brush a little bit smaller and I'm just going to bring that up and also bring in the sides of the nose here, just a bit. Again, just looking to make this just a touch, smaller, it's a subtle little adjustment but sometimes this happens as a result of the way we capture our photographs. So this can help clean things up a little bit that happened as a result of distortion due to the way the image was captured. We will click OK there and then take a look at our nose, kind of before and after. Here is before and then after.
It's a little bit of a significant change but nonetheless, it looks really clean and natural and we just want to go and then just make sure that with our mask, we are masking away, any little problem areas and I'm working pretty fast on this image, so there maybe a couple of little edges we need to touch up. But for the most part, I think we are going in a good direction. Let's take a look. Here is our before and then after. So far, so good. We are moving forward with this image. Next thing I want to do is sharpen it. So I'll double-click the Zoom tool to go to 100%, click in the topmost layer. Press Shift+Option+Command+E on a Mac, Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E on a PC and I want to apply some sharpening across that whole image to unify all that I have done. I'll navigate to Filter > Sharpen and Smart Sharpen.
Now because this is a pretty low-res file, I'm going to have a real low pixel radius there, 1, 2 or 3 probably. I think 3 was kind of nice. That looks pretty good there. My Amount, I'll bring down just a touch and click OK. All right, well that's looking pretty good. Overall before and then after. Subtle, yet significant enhancements to the structure of this particular photograph. And the last thing we may want to do with this one is work on the background. There are so many different ways that we can do that. One way would be to simply click on the Adjustment Layer icon and choose Curves and then now that we have this Curves adjustment, what we are going to do is go into our Masks and choose Color Range and I'll click on the background there and grab the Eyedropper with the + icon and just look to add more to that background there.
Grab the - Eyedropper and try to subtract some from the subject there, lower the Fuzziness a bit and then the + Eyedropper, again trying to get best selection of the background that we can and then click OK. It's decent, let's double-click the icon for the Curves Adjustment there and I'll go ahead and just brighten or whiten that background. Now it's not the best selection in the world. So we may need to fix it up a bit. We click in the mask, with our Brush tool we are going to paint with black. We are going to paint with black across the image for any areas where the edges don't look very good, where it brought some brightness into photograph here.
I am just going to go ahead and make my way along this edge as well and just clean this one up, just a bit there and one of the things that's happening here is my edge is just a little bit too crisp and we can fix that edge by going into our Mask panel, right? And of course by zooming in and making our brush a little bit smaller too, we can really sweeten up this edge. Now I'm not going to go into the full detail of making this thing just pixel perfect, but we are getting closer, just cleaning up these edges here. This one we need to do some good work with over here, so I'll trying to do that, kind of quickly, just to clean up this line, my brush a little bit bigger there.
All right, we are getting close, aren't we? Okay, well so far so good. Now back to the Mask panel and here what we can do is feather this edge a little bit which would just give a little bit of softness to the edge which is nice and that is a wrap. We have done quite a bit with this image. Let's take a look at our before and after and maybe even zoom in a little bit. Here is our before and then after. Some significant structural changes as well as a little bit of work on the background. Now that last adjustment wasn't essential but it was kind of a nice way just to finish this image off.
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