Thursday, August 20, 2009
What's the Difference?
Without seeing the original, few can appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into retouching a photo. For every photo that I put up here or into my flickr photostream, I've spent anywhere from 3-5 hours. Admittedly lots of time is spent removing blemishes and evening out the surface of the skin at a degree that no one will appreciate until you see it at the 100% pixel-peeping level. I'm kind of asking myself the same question sometimes that if I'm NOT going to print it or crop it at 100%, then the current resolutions don't warrant that kind of detail for removing blemishes.
Nevertheless, I do it because once I see it, I can't "unsee" it. I have to remove the blemishes. Which means, I have to spend upwards of 1 hour on just the healing brush on the face.
And that's just the first step.
Dodging and burning takes an hour or more for me to find the right highlights and shadows. Yes, sometimes I create facial structure where it doesn't exist. I will be the first to admit that. Most of the time, I just accentuate the highlights and shadows that already exist as long as they're in the right places.
For this one, getting the right look and feel was paramount so I had to play with Levels in PS to achieve the light fall off around the face. Getting the color just right with saturation also takes time. Fortunately as I've mentioned, I didn't have to do a surface blur on this one because Chrity's got pretty good skin. Then I finish it off in Lr with lots of little things like vibrance, saturation, vignetting, sharpening, curves (final adjustment), blacks, pretty much anything that can be adjusted is adjusted at least a little because I'm like that... gotta touch all the buttons.
So what's the difference between "out-of-the-box" and "retouched"? You decide.