Neil December 27th, 2008
This post in the forums at Model Mayhem caught my eye because it stressed light, even in skin retouching.
First of all, Im only trying to help…. not hinder. Im addressing the small amount of people who want to learn more about the core of retouching, not how quick and easy it is….cause it is NOT.
Countless times this topic arises. Countless techniques. Impatience always prevails.
1) QUALITY skin retouching takes TIME. No quick software filters or 4-step technique applies to everything. Please reread this sentence for as long as it takes to sink in.
2) TEXTURE is about how the LIGHT affects the surface. Understand what that means and you can understand the techniques behind pros and amateurs alike.
What do I mean about light?
ZOOM in close. For every bump, or pimple….there is DARK side of it and a LIGHT side of it. For every large pore, the same holds true.
The direction of the light determines which side is which. The “softness” of the light we use in photography determines the contrast between the DARK and LIGHT. This is why softboxes placed close to the model produces a more pleasing skin texture. Those of you who shoot with strobes or hard light will see skin texture more pronounced.
The professional retoucher’s technique is to “Lighten” the DARK sides and to “Darken” the LIGHT sides — which produces and more consistent skin texture. Often they work at the pixel level with a 2px brush. VERY Meticulous, VERY time consuming. For most of us, a 4px or 5px brush would suffice.