What is the best forum speciliazing in photoshop and photo retouching for photographers?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by bill_johnson|18, May 4, 2009.

  1. What is hte best free and most active forum specializing in photo shop and photo retouching for photographers?
    I have some advanced questions and some example photos that I want to ask some pros how the look was accomplished. Thanks.
  2. euh..here?
    try me : )
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    some example photos that I want to ask some pros how the look was accomplished.​
    Please post links to the photos when you ask. Uploading photos that are not yours violates the photo.net Terms of Use (and probably other forums' TOUas well) and they will be deleted.

    And Patrick is right, this is a fine place to ask. There are professional retouchers, imaging software designers, and experienced photographers here.
  4. I understand this is one place but there HAS to be a more active forum dedicated specifically to digital retouching and photoshop isn't there? There is just one subforum here dedicated to the topic and the last post before mine was 6 days ago - that's not very active.
    Anyway I'll give some examples here but I would still like to know where there are more active forums more specifically dedicated to all aspects of post processing if anybody knows...
    Here is one example to start but I have a lot more: http://www.modelmayhem.com/pic.php?pic_id=4894081d96256&date=2008-08-02%2003:09:22&id=19713&pid=7811155&the_count=5&group_id=20377&ua=
    In this example I'm wondering how specifically you get such sharp vivid surreal colors. Also a little bit on the skin but I think I'm already pretty good with that.
  5. There is a portal called Planet Photoshop , but as mentioned before, if you ask here, you shall be answered...
  6. Ok i'm asking here too see above. I just thought there had to be a much more active place dedicated to the topic.
  7. >>> I understand this is one place but there HAS to be a more active forum dedicated specifically to digital retouching and photoshop isn't there?
    Stick around for awhile and see. The discussions can get lively...
    With respect to the link, start with great light, model and makeup. The processing after that isn't that tough; can be done in LR or ACR.
  8. Bill, people use to take time off during weekend (like myself) so the forum could look more active during the week..also, the Digital Darkroom is where retoucher (like me) normally hang around. I dont ask many questions about retouching because;
    1_i know most of the answer already.
    2_i rather help people who need help since my problem (when i have some..rarely) are way more complicated then the usal normal / pro user can have.
    So to answer your question about the link you provide, theyre's no much of a effect there; just the regular level curve thing, add some hue saturation, some sharpen..and voila.
    My answer seem too simple for the question you ask? well..because it is that simple to get this *normal look*..by the way, on my monitor (calibrated) i find the skin too red : )
    See how fast and active whe are : )
    *im at the airport right now, so i wont be online since tonight pretty soon...i guess that make me not that active after all LOL
  9. Brad, Sorry, what's LR / ACR?
    Patrick can you give me some more details? My photos just dont end up looking like that color wise. I have no problems with the lighting and makeup.
    Yes you guys impressed me, I thought I would wait days for a response here.
  10. >>> Brad, Sorry, what's LR / ACR?
    Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw (with photoshop). What you use to process RAW image files.
  11. Well what if I didn't shoot in raw? and if i did what are you doing in LR or LCR specifically to get those effects? Thanks.
  12. Also, there aren't "subforums" on photo.net. There is just the forum (in this case 'digital darkroom') and then a list of categories that help organize older questions. Every post in the DD forum comes up on the DD forum page no matter what category it is put in.
  13. You can work with TIF, JPEG or RAW in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom..or directly in Photoshop for the first 2 formats.
    A good or not shot to start with, you must know how to use the basic tool;
    level, curves, mask, hue saturation and sharpen for example. Theres no *magic* in the shot you post..its plain simple good subject and good darkroom. Explaining what is level, how to do a curve, or how to crteate a mask will take me 20 pages..for that you can get good tutorial book.
    I can point you to the right direction and tools..but i cant explain in details how to use them, well not that i cant explain but more that i assume that you should know those basic tool, and i dont think PN user would have time for a private online tutorial : )
  14. I don't have lightroom (doesn't appear to be included in my version of photoshop) and i'm not sure i shoot enough for it to be worth getting this second piece of software. Can we focus on photoshop?
    The method that I generally use on my photos which gets me close to this look but not quite is as follows....
    Clean up blemishes using patch, clone heal... (for some reason I usually find patch gives the best results but I think I'm doing something wrong with the other tools)
    Select just the skin and put it on a new layer (i erase any hair, eyes, lips, etc. that i select by accident).
    I run a blur action on skin layer to give it that perfect flawless look. I use the original skin selection to trim it so that the blur effect doesn't go out of bounds. I'm also looking for improvement in this area because the only drawback to this method is that it really softens the contrast on the skin, so if you WANT shadows this lessons them anywhere on the skin.
    Then for highlighting and sharpening I take a copy of the whole image and run a high pass filter (could also use unsharp mask) and then switch this layer to overlay mode. I create a quick mask and unmask just the areas I want to sharpen and highlight - eyes, nose, lips certain parts of clothing, hair, jewlery, if there is something that should be really shiny like chrome on a car, etc.
    That's basically it. This gets me close but I feel like the images aren't quite as crisp as they could be. Sometimes this sharpening / highlighting method leaves me with features that look a little bit too fake. It also jst seems like the images aren't quite as crisp as they could/should be and the colors aren't quite as vivid and surreal as i'm going for.

    Here's some more exaples: http://www.modelmayhem.com/pic.php?pic_id=444c67ba0a8e1&date=2006-04-24%2000:48:37&id=19713&pid=633126&the_count=41&group_id=20378&ua=
    http://www.modelmayhem.com/pic.php?pid=11811971&group_id=&ua= <--- I guess in this one the background MUST be desaturated selectively. Also I believe that neat makeup job was done in photoshop - anybody know how to do that neat trick?
    Please critique / improve where you see fit.
  15. I generally know those tools but I am not getting the results I'm looking for. A tutorial would be great. I am going for an edgy fashion/editorial look and this guy nicovision is one of my favorite examples.

    I have been out of the game for a while and I upgraded from CS to CS4 so I'm kind of rusty to begin with and trying to get used to all the new bells and whistles. I havent really shot since 2006.

    This guy is another fav: http://www.sabawa.com/port/index.htm

    They both have these great images with a number of techniques I want to learn, also this desaturated look, and kind of a desaturated "old photo" look as well as great B&W's.

    When I do B&W I can often get part way there with a curves adjustment but I often find once I get the contrast im looking for something parts of the image get blown out.
    Lastly can you jsut clarify - is adobe camera raw a seperate program? Does it come with CS4? I have been able to open my NEF raw files directly into CS4 and I'm generally pleased with the results on default settings. I remember in CS they looked awful and i resorted to tiff or jpeg generally.
  16. dam..i just click on the tab and close my long explanation...OK heres it is again;
    1_High Pass and USM are both old technique to sharpen..you should update your knowledge, by using the new smart sharpen for example you will get better real natural sharpen. I use it in 3 stage; capture, creative with mask and output.
    2_real pro dont use any kind of blur to retouch skin..they use a smal hard healing brush and zoom at 100-200% and retouched every skin pore..could take 2-3 hours for a real good job. Dont ahve that time or dont care to take it..well Portrait Professional is a software that could help you get OK result in no time..i hate it but many non pro are OK with the result.
    3_As my father once told me when i was young and want to start cooking big piece of meat (cooking is my hobby) " Son you need to learn how to walk before learning how to run"..What it meant by that is before attacking a huge piece of meat i was best to correctly learn the basic and make my way there.
    So you must learn how to use the basic tool i mention first, then by experimenting you will get better, and bring yourself to the same level of those guys. You can speed things up by buying external plugin at 200-300$ each and experiement with them, NIK Color Effex and NIK Silver Effex exist for that purpose.
    4_Adobe Camera Raw is part of CS1-2-3-4..if you go into BRIDGE (another Photoshop included soft) when you click on your RAW, TIF or JPEG they should open in that external software (included) If you open your NEF in CS4 that should meant that you read them thru ACR. Your images dont suppose to look bad..if they do its a matter of the lack of experience you have with the software itself.
    5_The last link you post are super easy to do; use a strong flash to over exposed your model, use a strong curve to make sure you get rid of any remaining detail you migh have left, add some hue saturation for the yellow to make it pop on screen and not printable on paper, desaturated the background or shoot on a cloudy gray day (by putting neon cloth to the model it could help bring this false effect alive...
  17. Your output can only ever be as good as what you captured to begin with. That's why people are telling you to start from the RAW data.
    I noticed you didn't really mention talking about color or levels adjustment, which is probably one reason why you're missing out on the "punch" factor. I also think that you're being too aggressive with smoothing and editing. Blurring decreases contrast, and then you're asking why there's no contrast? Well, your answer is right there in front of you. That "flawless" skin look is not really best achieved by the method you describe.
    My workflow generally starts with conversion from RAW data, extracting the subset of tones that I want to work with and fixing any aberrations. Then I open in Photoshop and the first thing I do is the overall color/levels, usually trying to get roughly the contrast and saturation I want, and remove any undesired color casts. If I can't get to my desired look, I mask/select areas to modify selectively. Then I go in and fix dust and noise, first globally using a filter and then locally for any touchups or modifications. After this stage, I save the image. The next step is to make any adjustments or gross modifications of the subject itself--this can be labor intensive if what I'm trying to do involves any compositing. So for example, if I want to remove a distracting feature in the image, this is when I do it. After this step I make another saved copy. The final step is to make sharpness adjustments and take care of other miscellaneous details.
    Sometimes the steps are not in the exact order above, or other things are added in or taken out. It's not an exact science.
  18. Peter, thanks for the input this is very helpful.
    1. where can I read up on this new technique or find a good tutorial?
    2. I forgot one critical step - I back down the opacity significantly so it doesn't totally destroy my contrast and some skin texture still shows through. I have not tried the method you recommend but 2-3 hours seems a little steep. I disagree with this though and also think it depends on who you call pro. There are plenty of pics in magazines where the skin just looks like a mannequin or plastic. I don't really care for that look but some use it. If they aren't bluring I can't imagine what they're doing to get that look. Come to think of it most playboy shots are a good example the skin does not look real, it looks ok but if you look closely it doesn't look like real skin and looks heavily "shopped" what are they doing if not bluring? simply healing won't give that look. I'm looking for something between just healing and the completely fake playboy look.
    4. I said they used to look terrible coming from the camera raw plugin that came with CS - now with CS4 the same shots look fantastic with no manipulation whatsoever.
    5. Any tutorial suggestions for doing hte curves the way your'e suggesting? I'm guessing "neon cloth" is a filter?
  19. time to get my plane..but as a pro retoucher myself, i cant assure you that all start with a healing brush and a lot of patience to get skin look good..then teh secret recipe no one will give, as whe all have our own way of doing it : )
    i will conitue later late tonight.
  20. Great thanks. Well some must be willing to share something no? I agree start with healing brush or whatever which is what I do, but I have not found a better way than putting a very translucent layer of blurred skin on top.
    I would like to know whatup with all the real PROs that go so overboard with the skin too...
  21. I -hate- blurred skin.. it looks terrible to me. I'm with Patrick.. I work on the skin up close and area by area. There are a lot of 'de-grunge' techniques out there, might search for tutorials on such.. often a good start with many images.
    I personally don't use the healing brush. I prefer to use a clone brush set in lighten or darken mode at a lower opacity for most work. It allows you to work without destroying the texture of the skin for the most part, and it's especially good at removing dark patches under eyes and skin blemishes. The healing brush gives a very washed out look.. it's fine for certain cases, but for skin I think it softens everything too much.
  22. Bill, I too would like to hear more about the current state of sharpening. I hope Patrick will share more after his trip. I like to read his posts, very informative.
    Do you do any curves or levels adjustment? With a newer DSLR its not as important, but it can still help out. The basic idea is to get more local contrast by setting the black and white points and making sacrifices in non-important areas. The result should be more local contrast which will give more pop to an image. Unfortunately, there is no formula for how to do this, trial and error until you learn. I'm still not any good at it, but maybe someone can give us both some instruction.
    Similarly, I've heard people say "shoot to the right", that is when they take the image they set the exposure to get the histogram as far to the right as they can (without going over it), then they expand the shadows in PS. Kind of the same thing, but the idea is that by doing this you avoid some of the noise in shadow areas. Kind of like the old “shoot for the highlights” that slide shooters would have to do.
    I would also agree with the suggestion that you shoot in raw. The ACR processor is great to work with, and by the time you get the image into PS it will be almost finished.
  23. Bill, why don't you post some of your own sample hi-res pictures here so we can try to make it look like you want. Then we'll walk you through what we did once you like the look. Lots of people talk the talk but when it comes down to it, can't get the look down.
  24. Oh and you can try http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/ too. They're pretty good over there.
  25. From Bill's linked examples we can't tell from what point the final image originated so I don't see how anyone can offer a technique to correct for one particular aspect like the skin. How do we know the skin was corrected for? Maybe it looked like that out of the camera.
    It's like asking Leonardo da Vinci to show us how he painted the Mona Lisa without first having a video diary of each step. How do we know Mona was smiling that way. Maybe Leo indulged a bit.
    Show us a before and after and then we could probably offer specific steps.
    Here's one that hasn't been mentioned. While doing all your edits to skin texture on a layer in Photoshop try using the expanded Blend If dialog box by clicking on the thumbnail of the image on the layer and work with the triangle shaped gray sliders split up. Or use masks to paint areas you don't want affected altering the density of the brush or the areas of tone like highlites, midgrays etc.
  26. Good subject. I would just like to make 3 points:
    1. On most Photoshop subjects, I still think Julianne Kost is the definitive Photoshop authority. She is also the official Adobe "evangelist", her videos are great (still waiting on CS4), and her Web site has many CS4 and other recent additions. If you think brains are sexy (I do!), this woman is HOT!
    2. It could be argued that any kind of global sharpening on faces (which seem to be a big issue here) is a no-no. I do a lot of portraits, and NEVER globally sharpen. That is what the sharpening tool is for. When the eyes, lips, and hair are right, for example, there is less need for drastic complexion fixing.
    3. Videos in general are often the best way for many people to learn. Beware of both outdated books and videos, because much of the conventional knowledge from even a few years ago has changed.
    4. Once you've learned a comprehensive variety of techniques, the best workflow (IMHO) is still looking hard and long at an image before even beginning the post-processing. If you get habituated into any particular workflow, you are going to miss the art of understanding what each individual image needs. It's like treating everyone you know exactly the same way.
  27. There's nothing wrong with Julianne Kost, but then there's nothing wrong with Matt Kloskowski either. Both do a fine job on videos, and in what I've seen of the LR 2 videos from both, Matt's are a tad better at explaining the demos. JMO
    However, this forum is by far the best that photo.net offers when it comes to post processing info and help.
  28. I too would like tips and critique on improving my photoshop skill. I have to admit I use a skin blur layer with a low opacity setting and I'm pretty pleased with the results but I'm always looking for a better way. I would love to know how you get that magazine quality look without doing it.
    Here's one I just retouched of a friend. I'll give the before and after.
    Also if anyone wants to critique anything I've posted I'd love to have some input.
    I think the examples Bill posted are phenonmenal and I would also like to know how to get closer to that look.
  29. here's a bw
  30. nothing to do with skin retouching..but a update on my San Francisco trip : )
  31. Brian, I'm not a retoucher, but the strong light refection over the right eye, just below the eyebrow, is very distracting, and show go away, IMO.
  32. Yea I know it's not a very good photo, probably a bad example to post but I have others in my gallery. That was just a snapshot taken in a bar by somebody else, I just wanted to see what I could do with it. I like the BW personally.
  33. Bill, i will be back tomorow to answer correctly your questions..and explain myself about the skin retouching.
    for now, heres another images of my long walk day ; )
  34. http://abduzeedo.com/
  35. For Bill..I know Ben spends a lot of time in PS to create the images that you like. He's a creative photographer though I think his PS skills are what make his photos pop.

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