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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.
A very common, yet not very simple step that we need to take typically when we're retouching our portraits is to retouch or remove the little flyaway hairs. Those are all of the frizzy hairs that you see around the edges of the hair. So in this movie, we'll work with an image with a simple background. In the next movie, we'll work with a photograph with a more complicated background. Well, the first thing we need to do is we need to zoom in on our photograph, and then press the Spacebar key to click and pan around, so we can identify the problem.
Again, here you can see we have a few little flyaway hairs. In order to remove these successfully, we are going to create three or four different layers. I am going to start off by creating a layer where I am going to perform some spot healing. So we'll name this first layer spot healing. The Spot Healing brush works incredibly well when you have these flyaway hairs that are kind of standing by themselves, like this one right here. So turn on Sample All Layers, so you can do your retouching to this topmost layer, and then just click and paint across these flyaway hairs, again, that are kind of isolated, or by themselves.
So I'll go ahead and just make a few little adjustments here. Next, what will happen is, if we try to use this technique on these other hairs, even with a small brush, say if we try to get in here, and get rid of these, it's just not going to work, it's going to pick up the other hairs, and it's going to be kind of a problem. So to deal with the flyaway hairs that are closer to the head, we need to use another tool, another technique, and that is the Clone Stamp tool. So let's create a new layer; let's name this new layer cloning. Next press the S key to select your Clone Stamp tool.
Here you want to use Aligned, and Sample All Layers. Let's take our Opacity up pretty high, to about 90%. Next press the Right Bracket key to make the brush a little bigger, and then Option+Click or Alt+Click, and just start to sample the background, and just make sure that you're sampling the background that's the same brightness level as the area you're working on, and go ahead and paint away these little flyaway hairs. You may need to change your brush size to kind of get into some of the smaller areas of your photograph. And again, it's a really nice idea to have a soft-edge brush, and I think you get the gist of how you can start to go around, and work with these little flyaway hairs, kind of taking those off.
Here I am going to make my brush a little bit bigger and softer to try to create a nice smooth transition on this part of the picture. And one of the things that we'll need to do is, as we make adjustments like this, we'll need to think about how we are changing the overall shape of our photograph. Here you can see I'm kind of cutting into the edge, or the line of the picture there, and I am changing the shape of the outer edge. So I am going to need to make sure that I'm making that good; right. The other thing you want to be careful of is to not make it too perfect.
In other words, if you'll remove all of the flyaway hairs, well, it's just going to look a little bit strange, so we'll bring some of those back in just a moment. All right. Well now that we've done some basic cleanup work, we can kind of see our before and after. I have this kind of transparent area right here. I'm not really liking that, so I am going to go ahead and make my brush a little bit bigger, and then I am just going to work to try to remove that. This, again, will control or kind of change the shape, and I am just going to pan around this, making nice smooth adjustments here, and then go over to this side as well.
Once you get that down to a pretty good spot, you may want to work from the inside out. What I mean by that is, if you decrease your Opacity, you could also go ahead and just sample some of this hair on the inside -- that didn't look very good; let me make my brush a little bigger -- and you can then darken this part of it as well, so just sampling the hair here. What I'm trying to do is just make this a little bit less see-through, so I'll just paint back and forth over those areas, and then also paint from the outside in. So kind of attacking this from both sides, so to speak.
All right, After having done that, I'm trying to be careful not to make it perfect, next thing I need to do is I need to change the overall shape. You may have noticed that, in getting rid of these flyaway hairs here, we've kind of changed the shape of the top of the head. So I want to just nudge that down. We can do that by using what's called Liquify. I haven't talked much about Liquify, but I want to introduce it here, because it can really help out when we're dealing with hair in situations like this.
So here, let's merge everything that we've done to the topmost layer. Press Shift+Option+Command+N, E on a Mac, or Shift+Alt+Control+N, E on Windows, and name this top layer liquify. Next, navigate to your Filter pulldown menu, and then choose Liquify. In the Liquify dialog, we have a brush which allows us to push things around. What's important is that we use a low Brush Pressure, maybe something around 20, and a Brush Size that's actually pretty big.
If you have a small Brush Size, when you start pushing things around, you can kind of create these divots, which just don't look very good. Here I am just trying to bring the top of the head down a little bit. I don't want to make this just kind of a perfect shape, but what I do want to do is try to just nudge that down, so that the eye isn't drawn up there; looks like it's a little bit distorted, and it's kind of stretched out. And so here, this isn't a correction just focused on hair, but it's also kind of a perspective correction as well, right? Because the head got a little bit distorted near the top of the frame, which then also drew our eye to those different flyaway hairs.
All right, well after having just clicked, and nudged that around, click OK in order to apply that, and then back here in our Layers panel, we can see how we can turn that on and off, and we can click on the eye icons for all of these layers. There is the befor, here is our after, and if we zoom in a little bit more, you can see that as well. There it is before, and now after, that we've dealt with all of these little flyaway hairs. Now, of course you'd want to deal with these flyaway hairs in other parts of your image as well. Yet, with this photograph, primarily the problem was on the top of the head.
So you can use these techniques really wherever you need to, yet obviously with this photograph, it was near the top of the image, so that's what we dealt with. And that is how we can deal with those flyaway hairs when we have a photograph with a simple background.
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