Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Basic cleanup, part of Photoshop CS4 Retouching: Fashion Photography Projects.
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In this movie, we are going to start to work on the small details. Now before we actually begin, I should point out that this particular photograph was captured by one of my former students Alfonso Vega. You should check out his work online. It's really stunning. Alfonso, thanks a ton for contributing this file for us. All right, well, let's get to work. In this first movie, we are going to start to clean up the little tiny details. Now this little detail work will be really important. Now, what you want to do in retouching is work on the details first before you get to the enhancements. All right, well, before we actually work on the details, let's step back for a moment and evaluate the photograph.
What kind of image is this? What's the intent here? Well, it is a conceptual beauty photograph, right. So we want it to be really simple. We have this nice soft light, we have this nice soft skin, we have these muted colors and tones. The eye color somehow connects with the background. We have these nice bright red lips here. So we probably want to bring out all of those things. So our first step is going to be to start to remove the small blemishes. So what we need to do is to zoom into 100% in order to look at the actual details in this photograph. Now, there are a couple of different ways we can zoom in.
One way is by way of shortcut and this shortcut is pretty handy. It is Command+Option+0 on a Mac; on a PC, that's Ctrl+Alt+0. You can of course double-click your Zoom tool. That will also take you to 100%. Well, next we are going to press the Spacebar key and just start to pan around the image and look at the detail we have there in the lips and look at the detail we have in the skin and then the eyes. We are saying okay, we have a lot of really good detail here. But I'm noticing that there is quite a bit of texture in the skin. Some little tiny skin variations. I want to start to reduce those or remove those. So here is how we are going to do that.
One of the things we are going to do first is open up some space for our Layers panel. You notice that I have already done that. You can do that by double-clicking these tabs to open and close that. Double-click Color. It closes that one. Double- click Adjustments and it will close that one. So we can really focus in on our layers. Now, let's create a new layer. Let's do that by way of shortcut. It's Shift+Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+ N on a PC and that's a shortcut we'll be using throughout this training title. So you probably want to jot that one down. Again, Shift+Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC.
Let's name this new layer, clean up. Next, we are going to reach for one of our different types of retouching tools. There are number of different techniques we'll be using. Keep in mind, no one technique is best, rather it's knowing how to use all of the different techniques and knowing when to use them and how to use them at different scenarios. All right, well for starters, let's keep things simple. We'll reach for the Spot Healing Brush tool. We are going to make sure we are sampling all layers. Then we are going to hover over a blemish we wan to remove, like this little freckle here. Now typically, you wouldn't want to remove freckles because it's character, right. But because this is a fashion or beauty photograph, we want to reduce and simplify. We are going to go ahead and reduce or remove that.
We want our brush to be about the size of that blemish we are going to remove. We can change our brush by pressing right bracket key bigger or left bracket key smaller and then we'll go ahead and click or just a subtle click-and-drag. Then we are going to make our brush a little bit smaller. We are going to work on all the different little tiny skin variations that we are noticing. Now, sometimes what you'll want to do is zoom in even closer so you can start to really see these different skin variations. But in my case, this 100% view on this particular resolution on this monitor, I can see these really nicely. So I'm just going to go ahead and make my way through here.
You wan to be careful when you are clicking-and-dragging, if you are clicking-and-dragging a little bit more just make sure that you are making good improvements and brush size a little bit bigger for these here. Right bracket key will make that bigger. Little bit smaller, left bracket key there. I'm just making my way around the image. Press the Spacebar key down to reposition the photograph, so I can pan to a new area. I'm just looking again to reduce and simplify here and remove all these little skin variations and make our way through this. A lot of times when you are doing detail work like this you want to have some good music on, right, because you are just doing this little tiny detail work.
Sometimes I'll even put a book on tape. It's kind of fun to listen to a book on tape when you are doing work like this. It will keep you focused, keep you alert and alive and in tuned to the project. All right, well let's go ahead and continue to make our way through this and you are just removing small blemishes. I'm going to go pretty quickly here because I think you are getting the jest on what we should be doing. Just make sure your brush size doesn't go too big. And if you have larger areas, like the wrinkles that I'm starting to see here in the forehead that you want to remove, you probably want to switch tools. So we are going to go ahead and just remove some of these spots here.
I'm just going a little bit quick here because I want to move this project along. Next, we'll grab our Healing Brush. Make sure Sample All Layers is turned on. Left bracket key, make that brush size a little bit smaller. Hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, click-and-drag along that wrinkle and we'll go ahead and click-and-drag along the other one and Option-click on a Mac, Alt-click on a PC to sample a new area and then click-and-drag to remove that. And the nice thing about using this tool is we can sample different areas of skin as you can see I'm doing here. Hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC. I sample a new little area trying to make sure that I'm sampling similar tones or sometimes I'm brightening or darkening the pane on what I'm trying to clean up here and I'm just going to go ahead and make my way through this photograph and let's see if we can reduce and simplify a little bit here.
Looking good so far. So far so good. Just doing some initial cleanup work. Now, some of you may be thinking, gosh! There are other things I would really like to do here as far as -- I would like to start to enhance this image. Well, what we want to do is start to clean it up first. That clean up work will really help us out later. Go ahead and remove that wrinkle there. Again, just make our way through here looking at all the small little blemishes and we are making some good progress. We'll evaluate our progress here in a moment. Let's just continually remove some of these small blemishes and so far so good.
Keep up the good work. You got to keep focused when you are doing all this little stuff because again, sometimes you feel like is it really worth it to make these little adjustments? It always is. It always pays off in the long run. Let's zoom out a little bit so we can evaluate this image. See a few little details in the background I want to remove, also above the eye. I want to make sure that we are making the area around the eye super-clean, or the eyes for that matter, because that's going to be a huge aspect of this image, right. The eyes are so important here.
We are going to need to do some other work on the darkness under the eyes but we'll do that later. So for now, just a small little blemishes, that's all we are looking to reduce and simplify here. That bright spot on the nose. I'm just going to take that down and touch. Let's take a look at our overall before and after so far with our initial cleanup work. Here is before and then after. Zoom in a little bit closer so you can see that. Before and then after. All right, so far so good. We have started to clean up this photograph. We obviously have more ground to cover here and we'll continue to work on this image in the next movie.
- Reducing shadows around the eyes and face
- Enhancing and smoothing skin
- Adding makeup to eyes, lips, and cheeks
- Improving details by adding light and shadow
- Modifying face and body shapes
- Brightening and straightening teeth for a perfect smile
- Creating dynamic images with creative color techniques
- Blending images of live subjects and products