Texture Points, Part 2

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I felt I could perhaps find a better original to work with while learning skin smoothing techniques for portraits – one that’s a head and shoulders shot instead of my face smushed up against the camera, and one where I’d applied more careful makeup and used better lighting. In the end I chose this one, which was one of my makeup test shots from back in March:


My makeup was funky (the big splotches of blush were intentional) and glittery here, and I was using a softbox so the lighting was dramatic and high-fashion instead of traditional portrait light, but I liked the effect and also how there was no hair in my face to contend with and no fluttery costume to add distraction.

I started by lightening and brightening things in Paint Shop Pro, which helped but definitely still needed work:


So then I used the advanced smoothing technique I described in yesterday’s post, the one that leaves a lot of texture when smoothing:

Pretty cool, huh? I like how it turned out here.

When working with a portrait at a realistic distance from the lens, and with better makeup and lighting, I can see how much more effective these techniques are. You gotta be a serious Photoshop master, I guess, to get good results from a super close-up shot with no makeup on. Or something. But I like the dramatic results I can see in the photo above when I compare it to the originals.

I then pulled this photo over into Snapseed to edit the color and add some sharpening:


But I still wasn’t done; I wanted to pull it back into Photoshop to finish it up with the other smoothing technique; the one I learned Saturday and that I felt on its own wasn’t good enough:

Voila! Now that wasn’t hard, was it? OK, maybe it was. At the least, it was tedious.

If I knew Photoshop better, I could do all these steps in that program without shuttling a photo back and forth into different ones, but for now I’m just glad to have learned how to do something useful with it that I’ve wanted to try for a long time. I still don’t think I have it down to perfection, but I’m pretty pleased with what I managed to pull off.

To finish off, let’s add a collage, shall we? Because you know how I love before and after collages:


14 thoughts on “Texture Points, Part 2

  1. What can I say? This works beautifully. I assume it is worth the effort and that you will eventually shorten the time it takes to the desired end result. Can’t you brighten and sharpen in PS? Anyway, I can’t use PSP or Snapseed on my older Mac — everything I do would have to be in PS (an older version) — so if I get into this kind of work at all, I will have a lot of studying to do. It does seem like fun and totally worth it. Great job!

    • I don’t know how to quickly do those things in PS, so I just pull the photo over into the programs I know how to use and can trust the results. As long as I keep saving the photo as a.tif file, there’s no loss of quality to save it and re-open it in another program, so it’s OK for now.

      • Oh, and this photo is a good example of what I mean when I said (many days ago), you have a certain facial structure that enables you to re-interpret your face in multiple ways. Not all people have that kind of bone structure, even if they are beautiful. You could like take this one pose and redo it in all sorts of ways and look completely different, just sayin…

      • RAW files won’t open in Picasa for sure; most programs can’t open them and you can’t view them with Windows Explorer without downloading a special program to do it. I use PhotoNinja to view and pre-edit my RAW files and it is excellent. You can do a lot before even saving it as a .tiff that is really amazing!

    • If you’re taking pics as .jpeg though, you’re not going to be able to do that really. I mean you COULD, but you have already lost a lot of data straight from the camera. You really gotta start shooting in RAW, you will be amazed at the difference in quality. If you do that, then you don’t save into a .JPEG until you are sure you’re done editing.

      And I guess as far as bone structure I am lucky – oval face, good cheekbones. Easy to work with and manipulate I think. Thanks!

      • Yes, I have to do that, I know. 🙂 I took a couple of series in RAW but for some reason, was not able to open them in PS or anything else that I have and they took up a ton of room. I wonder if they would open in Picasa…I am being lazy…

  2. I am going to try that! I will go see where I can download it right now. I have to be more disciplined about this. Thank you! More on this as I progress (optimistically, lol).

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