Photo Retouching

Photo touch-up and retouching.

Take those blemished, scarred, off-color photos and touch them up like the pro's do (like fashion editors): Photoshop is (unofficially) dermatologist recommended!

Do you ever have any photographs that you would like to restore or touchup?  If you can think of it, Photoshop can probably do it!  Let's talk a little bit about photo restoration and retouching here.

Touchup is something that is very practical and any proficient PS Designer must understand and many novices will find very useful.  After you're done retouching, just output the final image any way you would like (ie. web, print on photo paper..)!

Photoshop is perfect for retouching and image enhancement.  The first thing you'll want to do is make sure the image is color corrected and light-balanced.  You can just go under Image> Adjustments and bring up the levels command and color balance (if necessary or Match Color).

Maybe try the shadow/highlight tool if you need to bring up darker areas, otherwise with levels you can adjust the lightness, darkness and contrast of the image by moving the sliders.

Remembering that when you go straight to make an adjustment that you are making an adjustment on that entire layer that you are on in the layers palette.  You can also make a selection on that layer and apply adjustments only to the selection (ie. an area within a rectangle marquee).

Ask yourself if you are sure you want to go ahead and make adjustments on this original layer. I recommend either doing an adjustment layer (which will appear on top of and apply changes to the layer below) or create a duplicate layer of the original (which you will have to do anyways when you're making changes such as moving or altering pixels (healing brush, etc.)

There are different ways to get things done.  But always make sure you make a duplicate of the current layer when you are going to change any pixels. If you know that the layer needs a permanent adjustment changes you can make it right on the original layer and save it like that but it is always safest to keep an original copy as a bottom or background layer.

After you've made basic image enhancements using adjustments, you can use several different tools and filters to further enhance or retouch/restore your image.  It just depends what challenge you have.  For example you can use the healing brush, clone stamp, patch tool and even the new color replacement tool (in CS).

Camera flash left some red eye?  No've got Photoshop! (you do have it right?!)

"Fonteyn" is due for some color replacement in her eyes during the CS Features Tutorial.

The clone stamp will duplicate pixels from the crosshairs of your source point (make sure you create a new layer to do this). The miracle working healing brush will magically blend your source point (use a good area of the image you want to sample) into the area you heal with the brush.

Healing will automatically match the texture, lightness, shading, etc...almost always creating a perfect blend! In the Basic Photoshop Training I cover all of these tools and show you how to touchup and restore by showing you in real-time how its done in Photoshop.

All we are doing is replacing bad pixels (blemishes, pimples, etc.) with good pixels using these tools. The patch tool works great on larger areas or areas such as wrinkles or baggy eyes.

Using the color replacement tool will work wonders for red-eye correction and when smoothing skin; just remember that it is color based and samples colors, not source pixel characteristics.

Remember any file that you're making changes to, save your file as a .psd so you can come back and keep working on your making changes to and then you can export to other formats.  If your work is important (need I ask?) BACK IT UP! You never know what your computer might try to do.  An external hard drive works perfect or writable media (or DVD-R, CD-RW, CD-R).

If you're missing areas of a photo you can use the clone stamp tool or even the lasso and copy>paste (onto a new layer) to fix areas.  Yes, you can even erase someone from a picture but this can get tricky and works best if you have a simple background or one that you could easily clone to blend in.

Try using the dust and scratches filter if you have...dust or scratches.  Be careful with the settings as it can make the image blurry though it will get rid of dust and scratched.  I recommend duplicating the original image and then applying the filter and lowering the opacity.

You can also spot correct specific are as with many of the tools listed above.  Remember you can use the zoom tool to get in there real close and make a good correction (ie. getting rid of a large, singular scratch or UFO).  Then just save the .psd file and when you've retained your original image you can always make changes to it and come back to it.

When you're happy just Save>As a .jpeg for example. This will flatten all of the layers and will only show what is visible.

Great photo restoration or retouching can often take hours (if you really have a challenge).  But the more you understand how to use Photoshop's powerful tools and the more you dig in and get comfortable with them, the faster you'll be retouching and restoring more challenging images.

The tools are so powerful though that even if you're new you can begin making instant corrections and when you see an image you might just itch to 'fix it' in Photoshop.

In the Discover Photoshop: Total Package (including the CS Bonus disc), I go through several tutorials on using these tools and retouching/restoring.  If professional photographers use these powerful post-production tools, just think what the average consumer photographer could do to improve their images!

So go ahead and start touching up those images. It is essential to know these tools and operations and is an important part of your Photoshop awareness and effectiveness.  And it's JUST PLAIN FUN to fix up or screw around with family photos.  Here is a tutorial from Basic Photoshop on the healing brush.

- Article by Orion Williams copyright 2004



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Copyright Orion Williams & PhotoshopDesign.NET 2004

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