Monday, 18 June 2012

Exercise: Enhancement

This exercise is finding a way to improve a portrait shot taken in shade.This involves a two stage process, firstly by dodging or increasing the lightness of the face, and then secondly enhancing the eyes by further dodging and increasing saturation.

My original shot was not too bad though it is lacking in punch and vibrancy.

I created a new levels adjustment layer and filled the mask with 100% black; this effectively blocks out all changes to the adjustment. I then boosted the levels significantly and then using a white soft headed brush of 50px I painted into the mask revealing an overexposed face. I preferred to do the selection this way as it is easy to see the effect on the image and is easily corrected with a black brush. Once I had the right selection in the mask I then adjusted the levels to the correct value to produce a lightened face that is hopefully realistic.

The final section is about boosting the eyes. For this I repeated the levels adjustment on a new layer to boost the whiteness in the eyes. I have often seen this well over-cooked in cheaper magazines, almost looking like the eyes have been tipexed in, so I was careful to not over do this. Finally I repeated the selection and used a hue / saturation adjustment layer just to boost the saturation of the eyes slightly.

Overall this is a good improvement to the original image making the eyes much more piercing and drawing. It is possible on this blog to click on the first image to bring up a slide show moving between images with the cursor keys, it is easier to see the changes in this mode.

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