I had previously mentioned in my facebook page that i was working on an beauty shoot for skin retouching without using any third party filters/Plugins mainly the Imagenomic Portraiture. I dont have issues with this plugin and using this plugin saves me a lot of time when i have lot of pictures to process. I mainly use it for fashion shoots (Full length shots) and personal shoots of mine. But when it comes to Beauty shoot, the skin is always the main attention and my workflow for such beauty shoots have been the use of Imagenomic portraiture which does a good job. (I have seen many of you guys using this plugin for retouching the skin and then sharpening the picture and increasing the contrast which really looks aweful!!!)
The main reason that i got the D800 was for Fashion and beauty shoots as this camera had a higher resolution and sharper images. (To purchase this camera I sold my Nikon d700, a camera that was a solid performer and which I used quite frequently. So to get rid of a solid preforming camera that I liked for an untested one, took some thought and research).
The technique that i worked on for the skin retouching below is called as Frequency Separation. What unique about this technique is that you have two layers in photoshop for retouching. One layer called as High Frequency layer(Skin Details) and other Low Frequency Layer(This is for color). Start with a softer Healing Brush on the Low Frequency layer to fix deep wrinkles and uneven, bumpy skin, and use a harder Healing Brush to fix skin texture imperfections on the High Frequency layer.(You need to test with other tools like Clone stamp tool, spot healing brush and how they work on both the layers). Note:It is important to use the current layer mode when working with Healing Brush or Clone Stamp tools. I also use the Dodge and Burn Technique which i have not mentioned here but will do so in future post and also few additional steps which i have not mentioned here but is required as part of the workflow. (Please note that dont expect to to get perfect results with the first attempt. It took me 4-5 attempts and you need a pen and not mouse for this kind of retouching). I would not say that this is perfect retouching but i guess i am getting close…
Creating High and Low Frequency layers
The proposed alternative technique for working with 8bit image data is as follows: 1.) Start with two copies of the image to be separated. 2.) Working on the bottom copy, run the gaussian blur filter at the intended pixel frequency (same as you would input into the High Pass filter). 3.) Selecting the top copy, choose Apply Image from the Image menu at top (Shift+Ctrl+A on PC; Cmd+Shift+A for Mac). 4.) In the Layer dialog, select the bottom layer which you blurred in step 2. 5.) In the Blending dialog, choose Subtract. 6.) Enter ’2′ into the Scale box, and ’128′ for the Offset. 7.) Preserve Transparency, Mask, and Invert should not be checked. 8.) Choose OK. 9.) Your top layer will now look much as a High Pass result, albeit a bit flatter. Set the Blend Mode to Linear Light. Opacity should remain at 100%. But i work on 16bit, so what do i need to do, well 1.) Start with two copies of the image to be separated. 2.) Working on the bottom copy, run the gaussian blur filter at the intended pixel frequency (same as you would input into the HP filter). 3.) Selecting the top copy, choose Apply Image from the Image menu at top (Shift+Ctrl+A on PC; Cmd+Shift+A for Mac). 4.) In the Layer dialog, select the bottom layer which you blurred in step 2.
Conclusion: This technique is fantastic, with a maximum difference from the original. I would suggest you guys to work in 16 bit mode rather than 8bit. I have shown in the enlarged version on the right hand side as you can still see the skin pores.
Apologies again to the model here. She’s actually got great skin.