Those of you who attended Gary Nicholls presentation on the Imaginarium will remember that at the end of the presentation Gary showed us a couple of PhotoShop tricks to improve our images. Although Gary covered the topics quickly a number of members were interested in what Gary did so he’s kindly prepared some step-by-step instructions for us!
For his first demo Gary showed how to smooth out flaws in your subjects’ skin without loosing texture.
- Open up the RAW or Jpeg file as usual and make the adjustments you would usually make in RAW or just open the jpeg.
- Duplicate the layer and if it is a smart layer (ie RAW) rasterise it
- zoom in and repair any spots or marks you don’t want to be visible – be careful not to remove any distinguishing marks like a mole.
- Once you are happy with the edit, duplicate the layer. The new layer is the one you will now work on.
- Change the blend mod of this layer to vivid light
- Invert the layer (the image should go grey with a few highlighted areas showing up
- Convert the layer to smart filters
- Apply Filter – Other – High pass – set the level to around 19
- Apply Filter – Gaussian Blur – set the level to 0.7
- Double click to the right of the layer and it will bring up the style panel Do not change anything or select anything.
In the centre of this panel there are two sliders and at the end of the sliders there are a pair of indicators.
Using the top slider only, hold down ALT and click on the inner right slider, which will separate the pair. Slide this single inner slider to the left about 2/3 across leaving one slider in place on the right. Do the same for the left hand slider so you should now have the sliders looking like this:
- Add a black layer mask to this layer (hold ALT as you click the add mask)
- Select a White soft brush and ‘paint in’ the retouched skin as if applying make-up do not go over eyebrows, eyes and hair.
If you’d like to learn more about this technique it’s sometimes known as “Frequency Separation” and you can find a number of You Tube tutorials on it.
Here’s an example of this technique I used in our recent Fashion Competition so you can see how the effect looks!
The Power of Grey
For his second demo Gary showed us a way to cut out an image by shooting against a grey background and using different blending mode.
• Take your portrait against a 50% grey background, (a mid to dark grey)
• Take the image into photoshop and edit as normal (skin retouch etc)
• Place the background you want to use as the top layer and change the blend mode to
Overlay of that layer only.
• Add a white layer mask – the image will be unchanged – to that layer
• Take a black soft brush – and select the white mask you added (make sure you are working on the mask, not the image)
• Paint over the model, you have no need to paint over the edges of wayward wispy hair but make sure you have painted over all the main parts of the model, gradually they will start to appear and the background will sit perfectly behind the portrait
Remember when using masks – Black conceals, white reveals.
To add a black mask instead of a white one, hold Alt down when you click on the mask icon (bottom right tool bar