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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.
Now that we have covered a lot of different techniques for dealing with brightness and shadows, with this photograph, I want to take a look at how we can use multiple techniques in order to make some valuable corrections for this portrait. This is a picture that we saw in one of the previous chapters; in one of the previous chapters, we looked at how we could clean up the background. Well, here we're going to zoom in a little bit and start to focus in on the brightness values that we're seeing in the face. And what we'll do first is we'll go to the Select pulldown menu and choose Color Range. I want to darken the bright tones on the face and so what you can do here is you can click on one of those brighter tones. Next, you can control the range, which is how far right this is going to extend from the area that you sample. You can also control the fuzziness, which will add more or less to this selection. One way to build up a selection is to use the icon with the plus next to it. In doing that, you can see that we can add more to this and we can decrease our Range and increase the Fuzziness until we have a pretty decent selection of all of this brightness area in this part of the picture. Next, we'll click OK. Basically, what we've done here is we've selected all of these highlights which are too bright.
So let's click in our topmost layer. Then we'll go to the Curves Adjustment Layer icon and select that. With Curves selected, we can then either brighten or darken this part of the image. The problem of course is that as we make a darkening effect, what will happen is it's going to look really kind of odd or strange. That's because we haven't softened the edges of the mask. We need to go to the Mask icon and increase our feather, as we've seen in other situations, or with other files. Here's our before; now here's our after.
You know, when it comes to working on exposure, one of the things that you might want to do too is just decrease the overall contrast in that area. You can do that by bringing down your white point and bringing up your black point. And sometimes this can help out with certain pictures. So again here we just want to change the overall brightness there and we'll want to experiment a little bit with that feather amount so that we can have this in a way that it looks kind of natural. All right! Well, now that we've darkened that area of the picture, the next thing that I want to do is I want to work on a few other specific areas. In particular on the mustache here, he has these two darker patches of color.
That's kind of distracting so I want to remove those. And I want to do those by burning and dodging. To create a new burn-and-dodge layer, press Shift+Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on Windows. We'll name this dodge and burn. Next, we'll change our blending mode to Soft Light and then click OK. Now that we have this new dodge and burn layer, we can press the B key to select our Brush tool, and then I'm going to press the D key to change my color picker colors to the default black and white. Next, to flip those two, we can press the X key. The X key switches between our foreground and our background colors. I want to paint with white, with a lower opacity, so I'll decrease my brush and also check my brush size there. We can change the brush size by pressing the left bracket key. And I'm just going to try to paint away this little area, and I'm going to do this by painting a few little brush strokes with this effect here, and what that will allow me to do is to try to make that a little bit more even. There is before; now here's after. All right! Well, that's nice. I also notice there's a bright area down here on the Adam's apple.
I want to darken that up. So I'll press the X key to flip between my foreground and background, and then just start to paint over that area. You know, as I paint over this area, I realize that I can darken this up, but I really want to darken it up perhaps even a little bit more than I'm doing with this adjustment. Here's before and then here's after. If ever you reach kind of the limits of burning and dodging, you can always create a Curves adjustment and this can help you to work on an area in a way that's even stronger. You can see how we're darkening the image kind of with more intensity here. So burning and dodging works really well, but it can't go as far as Curves can. With the Curves adjustment, we will then invert the mask and then here we can then paint in with white onto this area in order to darken this up even more. Also with Curves, as we've seen in other places, what we can do is we can affect the overall color in the different areas that we are masking in, like with this area here. All right! Well, here's that before and after with those adjustments.
Let's decrease the strength of those brushstrokes and also kind of evaluate how we're doing with that. Here I'll go back to my Curves adjustment and just bring down that white point a little bit as well. Well, now that we've made all these adjustments, we've made some great improvements on the overall color and tone of this portrait. If we click and drag across those Eye icons, here you can see our before. Click again. You can then see the after. And by taking a look at this project, we can see how we can start to integrate these different techniques in order to work on specific areas of our photograph. And this then illustrates this idea which we'll encounter again and again in portrait retouching and that is that there is never one magic technique; rather, it's a combination of different techniques which often lead to the best results.
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