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Thread: Digital Manipulation of Images

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    Workshop Member ChrisDauer's Avatar
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    Digital Manipulation of Images

    More specifically for portraits.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4wI_...eature=related

    So what do you think of this video?

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    It's good, but frankly doesn't hold a candle to this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxjim...eature=related

    PS: I can show you how to do the first stuff, but I'm not anywhere near a good enough Photoshop artist for the second one
    Jack
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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    The second one is not that hard. I have done some of that with the liquify filter. It doesn't take much practice to get pretty good at trimming a little off here and there.

    It can be good for working on bridal pictures, but it has to be done very judiciously so as not to be obvious. You certainly couldn't get away with what they have done on the video, but you could trim down a heavy bride's arms, nip in her waist, trim up that extra chin, etc. ...just a tad... and improve the once in a lifetime photo without being obvious.

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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    The first video is some nice subtle and then less subtle uses of good filters and masks to bring out a more dramatic effect. It is really not hard, as Jack commented. Just takes a bit of workflow and some idea of what you want to achieve.

    The second video, as Cindy comments on, is more about using the Liquify tool properly. You will notice a lot of brush size changes, which are key to getting large areas evenly reduced. Other key is to make sure you are going in the correct direction with it....up on the right, down on the left sides of images....I think. There is a lot of work done. The hair is a "paint on weave", but still nicely done. Lots of good brush control. All it takes it patience and practice.

    That Liquify tool has saved a number of shots for me also. Not wedding photos, though the value there could be quite high, but equestrian jumpers that need a bit slimmed off the legs and stomach to look more flattering in some jump poses. (I did a very flattering job on one woman, and she loved it. She hung an 11x14 canvas in her home and her family wondered who was in that great picture she had hanging on the wall!! Family can ALWAYS bring you back to reality at times. She did not care, figuring her family only visited on few occasions, but lots of others would get to see it instead.)

    The tools are there, and there are some really skilled folks out there, but they are worth trying, even for fun on some things, just to develop the skills and knowhow. Great for portraits and stuff, where you want a more refined and finished look, but bad, bad, bad for photojournalism and pure candid or street photography, where you do not want to alter reality so blatantly.

    Thanks for sharing these....lots of fun to watch.

    LJ

    P.S. Magazines and stuff now require these sorts of retouched images to be listed as "photo illustrations" and not "photographs", all stemming from the fraudulent depictions we have seen by some.
    Last edited by LJL; 19th March 2008 at 08:12.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    I really like seeing the step-by-step transformation. When the final image is revealed, it seems the artist had a clear vision before he began. Very nice.

    This makes me think that maybe a "Before and After" thread might be fun to do. I spend lots of time playing with stuff and assume others do too. We might show the original capture and then a "final" after PP. Anyone else interested?

    Note, I'm aware that this forum is an extension of the workshops of Guy and Jack and wouldn't want to do anything that might conflict with that.

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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Note, I'm aware that this forum is an extension of the workshops of Guy and Jack and wouldn't want to do anything that might conflict with that.
    Good point. I actually think it might create more opportunity and interest. Not everybody has the time/ability to make some of the planned workshops, but do have things to offer and questions to ask of others. This is a great community, and quite open to sharing things. Besides, if there is enough skill/interest, then maybe Jack and Guy will be "forced" to create some "advanced" workshops also....for those that are really wanting to push themselves a bit more (Sorry, Jack and Guy.....did not want to put you guys on the spot too much. Just thinking of a future evolution for you.)

    LJ

    P.S. If there are workshops on general gear and shooting, shooting techniques, street photography, lighting techniques, why not portfolio preparations or portrait retouching. We know the gear can deliver, and the "eye" continues to develop, what is left is final presentation type stuff. Lots of folks here have outstanding stuff that could be competition winning or gallery worthy, with a bit more work on some things. Personally, I think retouching as important as composition and cropping for presentation. We spend a lot of time agonizing over RAW developers and those techniques, why not some finishing touches pizzazz too ;-)
    Last edited by LJL; 19th March 2008 at 08:54.

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    Workshop Member ChrisDauer's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy Flood View Post
    It can be good for working on bridal pictures, but it has to be done very judiciously so as not to be obvious. You certainly couldn't get away with what they have done on the video, but you could trim down a heavy bride's arms, nip in her waist, trim up that extra chin, etc. ...just a tad... and improve the once in a lifetime photo without being obvious.
    And therein is my question. Where do you draw the line? Not being obvious?
    White Balance? Sharpening? Highlighting? Color Correction? Healing? Cloning? so on and so forth...

    Clearly it's a subjective matter but how far to do you push it?

    I agree with Cindy. Make them look like them, and a little bit better.
    But then I think, I'm lazy and I'm going to let the chips fall where they may.

    I've asked this question before with regards to, "Should I remove wrinkles from a face?" Some say yes, some say no.
    What do you say?


    Ps. I'm just waiting for Jack & Guy to announce their first virtual workshop It's going to be e-tastic!

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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    Chris,
    I think that it somewhat depends on what you are offering. If you are in the portrait biz or do weddings that have formal portraits, there is some expectation the you are going to bring out the best, maybe be a little or a lot creative, and use some tools to create a more memorable looking final offering. If you are doing reportage type work, your efforts may extend to external controls, e.g., controlling lighting and background and composition, but not altering things much beyond what you mentioned (WB, exposure, sharpening, and things that are more or less process corrections, and not major changes).

    Removing or leaving the wrinkles is a tough call sometimes. A B/W shot of a craggy old gentlemen with more miles than years might actually benefit from enhancing the wrinkles a bit more, while a bride might appreciate a bit of an eye lift or smooth out those laugh lines just a bit. I think it always worth asking the client just how far they would like any retouch efforts to go. Having dramatic before/after shots are ways to give them some idea of your skills and offerings.

    If you are doing this purely for your benefit, and not as a business, then consider any of it "artistic license" or something ;-) (Some things you do not do....like removing the signature mole from Cindy Crawford's face. I once did a bit more retouch like that and the client was upset with one rendering, because it took away important characteristics, like a mole. In other case, just lightening the wrinkles and smoothing some pores is most welcomed, and does not significantly alter the image.)

    Always pays to know your purpose and your client's needs, then deliver what you are comfortable with.

    LJ

    P.S. I think the videos are just those kinds of things. The one you posted is really almost more a commercial for the guy, showing how he can make ordinary more extraordinary. The second one Jack linked to was more an example of taking things to total extremes, and in a sense was also a commercial about those skills and abilities with Photoshop. Neither were as much about photographic technique, but both were about presentation of a final "image".
    Last edited by LJL; 19th March 2008 at 09:31.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    I really like seeing the step-by-step transformation. When the final image is revealed, it seems the artist had a clear vision before he began. Very nice.

    This makes me think that maybe a "Before and After" thread might be fun to do. I spend lots of time playing with stuff and assume others do too. We might show the original capture and then a "final" after PP. Anyone else interested?

    Note, I'm aware that this forum is an extension of the workshops of Guy and Jack and wouldn't want to do anything that might conflict with that.
    First off, for what it's worth, I'm pretty sure it's the warp tool they're using to thin down the model, which is FAR superior to the liquify tool as it has far better control of the effect. The liquify tool is fine for minor adjustments, but for the heavy lifting, you are better off with the warp tool.

    As far as what we do on the workshops, no problem sharing ideas here. Many of these tools can be talked about, but until you actually see them in use and are taught how and when to use which ones to solve specific problems, they aren't very intuitive. Notice that even though we "saw" what they did on the video, we really have no idea what tools they were using or how they were using them, or on what kind of layers with what blend modes, etc.

    BTW, warp IS a tool I will be showing the Carmel group how to use

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    I think it would be really fun to do a photo that everyone works on, if it is OK with Guy and Jack. Once on FM, a couple of years ago, someone put out a picture of a bride draped over a grand piano with her husband at the keyboard. About 20 or so had a go at processing it. It was amazing to see the different interpretations and it is all a matter of taste.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    I guess my original thinking about the comparison idea was to show the RAW capture with all its warts and then someone's "finished" file. I am sometimes surprised by what comes out of my own files and thought it would be fun to look at how others "finish" there own work. Not really a step-by-step kind of thing, or anything that goes into any real detail about the how. Just that transformation that happens along the way.

    Which is a little different from what Cindy suggests. I like the community process thing too. I'd certainly play.

    But I've managed to hijack Chris' thread. Sorry about that. I'll post an example of what I mean in a new thread and if it works, then cool. If not, nothing ventured... etc.

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    I was just commenting on what was done on another forum and how interesting the results were. I will go along with anything that you propose. Go at it!

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    I usually only spot out distractions and don't mess with the subject until asked.
    Then, how much is too much depends on the asker.
    As you can see here, there is almost no touch up at all.

    And after a friend saw this and asked...

    -bob

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    Workshop Member ChrisDauer's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    But I've managed to hijack Chris' thread. Sorry about that. I'll post an example of what I mean in a new thread and if it works, then cool. If not, nothing ventured... etc.
    Not at all! I'm quiet pleased as to where this thread is going, and would happily play too!

    Also, I've seen what you're talking about. A long time ago, I saw someone show a "how-to" of what they did. They posted 4 images so you could see how the steps changed the image(1 pre, 2 in progress, 1 final). Everything was laid out step by step. It was amazing. That one thread taught me a great deal (like, I don't know squat about Photoshop

    Ps. Bob, LOVE the change!
    Last edited by ChrisDauer; 19th March 2008 at 13:26.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    I like this idea. Do we want to work on a full-sized raw file or a reduced jpeg?
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I like this idea. Do we want to work on a full-sized raw file or a reduced jpeg?
    vote for RAW

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    Workshop Member ChrisDauer's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    Well, I'm all for giving the 'Changer' the most flexibility, which means raw.

    Of course, the first thing I'll do is use 3rd party software to auto-improve the image. If I like it, I convert to jpg and I'm done. And if I don't like it, then I undo, convert to jpg and I'm still done. Never underestimate the lazy
    Last edited by ChrisDauer; 19th March 2008 at 16:27. Reason: for amusement.

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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisDauer View Post
    Well, I'm all for giving the 'Changer' the most flexibility, which means raw.

    Of course, the first thing I'll do is use 3rd party software to auto-improve the image. If I like it, I convert to jpg and I'm done. And if I don't like it, then I undo, convert to jpg and I'm still done. Never underestimate the lazy
    Chris - not lazy, it just means you got it right in camera to begin with, no need to fuss!

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    Re: Digital Manipulation of Images

    Obviously the standards and requirements are different, but if I even thought about doing some of that stuff, I think the paper would have shot me.

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