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How to Fix a Retouch Gone Wrong

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Nov 01

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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.

  • David J. Crewe

    AHHHHH soo much better!  

  • 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!

  • writersbloc

    Great episode, nice advanced techniques.

  • Randelljohn

    Great episode Aaron, now I now what ‘Apply Image’, actually does. :)

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