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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, I'm going to share with you a really fun technique. It's called contouring. Now it's kind of tricky at first but it's really valuable. Let me show you this image here. We have the Retouch file. If you look at the original, there is the original and then we have some retouching that I have done in order to clean the file up, little bit of symmetry on the right hand side, just on the cheek and then little bit of color and tone work. Pretty simple. Then we have this last layer. Interesting. Well, what's that layer about? Well look at the before and then the after. Look how the nose is thinner. The cheekbones are more prominent. Again, before and then after. Well, what's this layer about? Well, if we take this to a blend mode of Normal, it will look kind of strange. Here you can see what's happening is I'm darkening areas and brightening other areas. If you lower the Opacity of this layer, you can see what those areas are, right? So I'm brightening the chin, brightening this up here and here, brightening above the eyes and the forehead. Darkening the edges of forehead, darkening the cheekbones there. Again I'm just doing a little bit of burning and dodging in order to contour this particular photograph. All right, well how can we create a contour layer ourselves? I'll exaggerate this a little bit but here it goes.
Let me show how you we can do this. Shift+Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC. Name this one contour, you know what we are doing, blend mode Soft Light. Fill that Soft Light with a neutral color. Click OK. Now that we have that, we can burn and dodge on this layer in a couple of different ways. One way would be to paint with white. Let's press 6 on the keyboard, 60%. I am just going to go ahead and add a little stripe here on the chin. Okay, great. Well, now that I have that little stripe, I'm going to go ahead and press the 3 key to go to 30%. I'm just going to look to brighten up some of these shadows underneath the nose here. And also add a little bit of light on the nose there. Make my brush nice and big. Brighten up the center of the forehead, press the 5 key. I'm going to go to 50% there.
I am going to brighten that up significantly. I'm also going to brighten up above the eyes and again, I'm exaggerating just a touch here so you can see how this works. I'll press the 3 key. I'm going to 30%. Brighten up this area, a little bit under the eyes there as well and then press the 5 key go to 50%. I'm going to brighten this area up underneath the eyes. Little bit bigger brush there. Then I'll press the X key. I'm going to paint with black and with black. I'm going to darken this area up. All right, darken up those cheekbones, bring in some definition to those cheekbones, right. Yeah, nice.
Okay, then we'll go ahead and darken up the edge of the forehead. That will be helpful to do. Then to thin the nose out, we'll press the 3 key to go to 30%. We are just going to darken up each edge and you can kind of see here how it's beginning to shape that nose a little bit. Kind of fun, right? Then we'll go down here and press the X key. We'll paint with white to bring in some brightness down to this area and just perhaps a little bit along the jawline here. Just a touch. Little bit brightness, hit the X key and I'm going to do a little bit more jaw work, hit the X key again and we are going in a pretty interesting direction. Okay, well now that we have all these rough makeup out there, we need to smooth it out and again, I have exaggerated some of my brush strokes here a bit. But we can smooth this pretty nicely by going to Filter > Blur and Gaussian Blur. And here you can see as I bring this up, we can take those edges down.
It takes down the intensity of this particular effect. And we are going to find just the right sweet spot. Let's say that looks okay and we'll lower the Opacity of touch as well. Before and then after, just thins up that nose a little bit. Brings a little bit more light to a few areas on the face that are kind of interesting. If we zoom out, before and then after. Really interesting. We can use this contouring technique in order to add just wonderful dimension to our photographs. Now in this particular case, I went pretty quickly, I used pretty large brush strokes. But if you get in there and really do some detail work, following the same exact methodology that I'm sharing with you here. Again, you can come up with some fascinating results. What you want to do is just think about following the light. There will be bright places and dark places and essentially what you doing is making the bright places a little bit brighter and the dark places a little bit darker and in that sense, you are then bringing out those features and you are defining that.
In a way, it makes the face feel a little bit more thin, the forehead, you can change the shape of it. You can really modify your images in some unique ways. So long story short, if you haven't experiment with this technique, I definitely recommend that you do so because I think that you'll soon discover that this subtle enhancement to your photographs can really make an important and significant difference.
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