Portrait Editing

I’ve had a few requests in different places that I’m going to combine for this tutorial. And since I doubt there will be many people lined up to offer their faces for this one, I’ll just use my own. This is not the type of editing I do on all portraits. Normally I will stop with some skin softening and blemish removal. But for the client who isn’t easily satisfied (like me) this might happen.

As shot:

Click on images to see larger versions.

The first thing I want to tweak is the color. It’s too red for me. I go to Enhance, Adjust Color, Color Variations…and this pops up.

I was mainly concerned about my skin tone, so I chose highlights and midtones, reducing the red and increasing the blue. Once that’s squared away, I move to smoothing my skin. For this, I use the action called Reduce Noise. It’s not really what it’s for, but I like it. First, I duplicate and mask my layer, then I run RN twice.

Notice that I’m all out of focus now. That’s why I masked the layer. I’m going to erase the effect where I don’t want it. That will be my eyes, lips and hair. To do that:

I choose a soft brush set to black and paint over the parts I want to erase on the mask. This is the result:

When I’m satisfied that I’ve got a clean layer, I flatten it. Go to Layer, then Flatten Image.

Next I want to clean up my background. I shot this in front of a window curtain in my living room. I want a smooth background, so I’m going to paint it. I need to select my paintbrush and borrow the color of the background by clicking on the color palette and then on the image itself. I clicked where the red star is.

Then I painted the area, being careful not to mess up my hair. Next I want to darken some stuff that looks too bright to me. For this I will use the burn tool. If you right click it, you can switch to dodge, which lightens instead of darkening. You can choose highlights, midtones and shadows. I use them all for both dodge and burn.

Now I want to fix the little flaws. I don’t like my nose, so I’m going to use the clone tool to change the shape a bit.

Then I’ll clean up my eyebrows and move on. A quick levels adjustment boosts the contrast…Enhance, Adjust Lighting, Levels.

And I’m finished.

Now, for my second request, a black and white conversion. Go to Enhance, Adjust Color, Remove Color.

Then open Levels again and add more contrast. I don’t use the Brightness/Contrast above Levels, because I prefer to have more control.

And now for the fun stuff…

To make a vampire, Twilight style…

Go to Filter, Distort, Diffuse Glow…

Use a masked layer to adjust the eye color in Enhance, Adjust Color, Color Variation….and then another masked layer to add creepy clouds to the background…

And that’s it!


~ by Rachel McMahon on January 25, 2011.

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