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Nov 01, 2012

How to Fix a Retouch Gone Wrong

Retouching a Retouch

Retouching people is not easy, that being said there are some guidelines to follow to make sure people don’t come out looking distorted. Today we are going to take an image that has been retouched poorly, and fix it.

Rules of Retouching

One of the hardest things to do well is to work with shadows in an image, and that is where I see the most common errors. Often when trying to make an area darker, the retoucher will also take away the color. This results in an image that looks like it has dirt on it rather than shadows. to avoid this common mistake, stay away from black when trying to make something darker. Instead use curves and Hue/Saturation. You do want to bring down the saturation by about 20%, just don’t go too far.

Eyes are often made much too bright which makes them act like light sources. Today we show you a quick fix by lowering the white level in Levels. To avoid this, brighten the iris, but stay away from the whites of eyes.

Sharp angles appear when a transition from highlight to shadow is made abruptly. Sometimes you want sharp angles in a photo, but often not on people. To make sure you don’t do this, use a soft round brush and smooth highlight into shadow by sampling and painting. Again don’t go too much or you will flatten out your subject.

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  • Dick

    You often use the “blend if” option, as you have in this tutorial. You seem to always adjust the underlying layer using the sliders at the bottom of the dialog box. However, there are two sliders on the left and two on the right. Can you possibly explain what each of these do and how each of them affects the editing process? Perhaps you could do this in a tutorial, or maybe just in response to this inquiry. Thanks.

      • Dick

        Thanks for the episode reference. I watched it but it doesn’t really answer my questions regarding the 4 sliders for underlying layer. In the referenced episode, I understand that the inside right slider reduces the effect from the highlights and the inside left reduces effect in dark areas. But how do the 2 outside sliders come into play? They seem to do the same thing as the inside sliders. I’m confused.

  • Brandon

    Dude, you’re a boss.. I’ve been seeing that shi-nit in my work lately, but now I’m gonna be all back up in dat ass with the resurrection. Thanks Phliz-ern!