Monthly Archives: November 2014

Heads and Bodies – Part 7

Finally, we’ve made it to the end of this chapter in How to Cheat in Photoshop, 6th ed., by Steve Caplin! Thank you for sticking with it.  Next week I’ll post a Friday Challenge. I promise.

Coloring Black and White Images
Sometimes, you need that retro look that only an old photo can provide.  In this tutorial, Caplin not only teaches how to colorize a monochrome image, but also provides some of the color swatches he’s created over time.

Colorizing an image isn’t difficult but it does require a light touch, with very low opacity brushes.  Here is the starting image and what I created by following Caplin’s instructions:

Coloring black+whiteBoth Before one starts colorizing, Caplin suggests using CYMK  swatches even when working in RGB so that the image will print true. Next comes giving the image an overall wash in a flesh-colored tone using Color Fill from the Edit menu, switching to Color mode and clicking on Preserve Transparency.  Then, with very low opacity brushes, color in the beard area, add some blush tones and pigment the lips, using the appropriate swatches Caplin provides.

For the eyes and teeth, Caplin recommends against using pure white as it will look unnatural.  Instead, he supplies an extremely pale beige swatch. And, if the results aren’t quite white enough, Caplin suggests using the Dodge tool on a low opacity to add the sparkle.

Finally, to color the clothes, make them into a new layer. Then try Curves, Color Balance and/or Hue and Saturation to recolor them.  I used a combination of all three.

Voila! Now our gentleman has that retro look.

From Light to Dark and Back Again
For our last lesson in putting a head on a new body, we learn how to match skin tones when the components are dissimilar. Caplin demonstrates with two extreme examples. Both use Curves to handle the task.

The first task is lightening a dark body to match a fair-headed man, as seen in the following image pair:

BOX.AM 44To start, I  copied the body skin to a new layer and then created a Curves Adjustment layer, ensuring that I checked “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask.” Note that Caplin always prefers to use an Adjustment layer, instead of directly adjusting the layer, because it can be edited later.

Next, the dark skin was lightened considerably  in RGB. Then, the Green and Blue channels were adjusted to give the skin a better match.  At this point, Caplin’s instructions stops.  He expects us to remember a critical process for combining two body parts, which he covered at the beginning of this chapter. Namely, to use a layer mask to make a smooth transition between the new head and the body. Without the mask, there will be a distinct line.  I was on guard for this and added the layer mask.

Solving The Opposite Problem
Of course the second half of this exercise darkening the skin to match the transferred head.  Here is the original and my results using Caplin’s instructions:

1964 65As in the first case, a Curves Adjustment layer in RGB is used to darken the skin of the body.  However, Instead of switching to the other channels, Caplin a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer is used to lower the saturation and tweak the hue.  Then Caplin suggests going back to the Curves Adjustment Layer and removing a little of the green in the skin.  Also as before, Caplin omits the specific instruction to create a layer mask for a smooth join between the new head and body.

When doing this type of work, Caplin suggests getting up and going do something else at the point you believe you’re “finished.”  That way, upon returning, you can see the image with fresh eyes, identify deficiencies and make any final adjustments.

There was one thing Caplin doesn’t mention, but it seemed obvious to me. While the bulk of the changes should be with the skin tones of the body, the head’s skin tones can also be altered slightly for a more realistic fit.

Next: Friday Challenges – A Lighthouse, A Mirror, and A Creative Female Builder

Heads and Bodies – Part 6

I know it seems like this chapter has gone on forever, but we’re almost through!  The final post on this chapter will be next week. And it will even be short!!

Turning Heads with Liquify
In the last post, we discussed moving eyes to create the appearance of engagement. But, sometimes it’s not just the eyes that need to be moved – it’s a whole head.

Last week I showed how Steve Caplin used the Liquify filter to change facial expressions in his book, How to Cheat in Photoshop, 6th ed.  This week a whole head gets turned as seen in the example below:Liquify turning heads BothTo get it done, Caplin instructs to first move the larger elements of the face first – nose, the middle of the forehead, and the  middle of the mouth – using a large brush in the Liquify filter.  Then, work on moving the left side of the face, followed by the right.  Pay particular attention to the eyes and the philtrum (the  groove under the nose).  Getting these two elements to look right is key. The above rendition of actor Patrick Stewart’s head is my result after following Caplin’s instructions.

Cosmetic Makeover
The next tutorial was originally a Friday Challenge. From the 34 examples of Challenge submissions Caplin included, it is apparent that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.  Here is the original and my attempt after following Caplin’s instructions:

Cosmetic makeover BothThe original model is attractive, but almost everyone can use a little Photoshop magic. Caplin instructs to first firm up the jawline using the Liquify filter. He also suggests getting rid of the bump on the model’s  nose and extending her eyebrows. He then proposes getting rid of the model’s jewelry.  Finally, the hair is colored and makeup added, which is done on new layers in hard light mode.

Portrait Restoration
Most of the time when people take pictures, there is some sort of flaw.  A common one with bald people is the creation of a “blown out” area on the head from the lighting.  In this tutorial, Caplin shows us how to fix this problem:

AsnerBothI followed Caplin’s instructions to make a selection from the non-flared side of the head and then use Free Transform to rotate and scale it to fit over the blown-out area.  All of the areas of the patch that overran the head were then painted out using a layer mask. Finally, the tones in the whole image were smoothed out, first using the Anistropic version of the Diffuse filter (under Filter>Stylize) and then applying an Unsharp Mask to bring back some of the crispness.

Next – Heads and Bodies Part 7

Heads and Bodies – Part 5

So, I’ll bet you’re wondering how many more posts will be on Heads and Bodies. Well, the human form, and all it’s expressiveness, is one of the most complex challenges to tackle when making altered photos look realistic, so just hang in. We’re almost in there! Besides, it’s worth it.

Reversing the Aging Process
Last week we ended with a tutorial from Steve Caplin’s How to Cheat in Photoshop, 6th ed.  that made a a 40-something woman look 70-something  and then, using the original image,  20-something. This week Prince Charles gets the Royal Treatment when his age is reversed as seen in the following:

HRH prince Charles Visit to IraqFirst, I followed Caplin’s instructions to use the Median filter and the healing brush to get rid of the wrinkles. Then, I deployed a Curves Adjustment layer to get rid of his grey hair. Finally, applying the Liquify filter firmed up his facial contours.  Unlike the woman last week, the original image of Prince Charles didn’t get aged. I wondered why. Perhaps Caplin felt PC looks bad enough already.  Or, perhaps the Queen was not amused.

Lewis Shows His Age – but not in this blog!

At this point in the book Caplin included what he calls a “Case Study.”  He discusses one of his own assignments as a Photomontagist for the Radio Times. In the popular televised Crime Series, Inspector Morse, the aforementioned Morse is accompanied by Sergent Lewis, played by Kevin Whately, who is much younger and slimmer than the character in the original books by Colin Dexter.  In those books Lewis is old, bald and overweight.  the Radio Times asked Caplin to make Whately appear more like what Dexter had originally envisioned.  Unfortunately, due to copyright issues Caplin couldn’t include a file for us to work on. However, his discussion of how he aged Whately was very thorough and I was able to use many of the hints when I created the “Ugly” version of Caplin for the Friday Challenge: the  Woodwork Shop.

It’s All in the Eyes
Sometimes, when making a photomontage, you have two great images but they are both gazing out at the viewer.  The composite image would have ever so much more interaction if the subjects were looking at each other.  In the next tutorial Caplin shows his readers how that can be achieved as seen in this image pair:

It's all in the eyesBothRegular readers might recognize the woman in this image as being the same one from Composing the Scene – Part 1. For that exercise Caplin had already done the work of cutting out one of the irises, making new whites, putting the iris back and duplicating it on the same layer so that the irises would move together.  In this exercise I had to do that work The key is to be sure to place the second iris so that it is looking in the same direction as the first one.

A Change of Expression
In the final tutorial of this post, Caplin once again goes beyond the mere technical and enters the realm of the artistic.

Many times an image would be perfect except for the expression.  Caplin instructs that with judicious use of the liquify filter, an image’s expression can be changed to suit the mood of the composite as seen in the following panel:

216 - ExpressionsPanelpsdThe key is to be subtle! Make only small distortions by using a large brush and a low pressure. Now you, too, can take that scowl out of your 3-year-old nephew’s face to make him match the smiles of the rest of the extended family on your Holiday photo card!

Next: Heads and Bodies – Part 6