Saturday, August 14, 2010

Something's different

Ever since I created that first image of Marisa, I've been trying to figure out why it looks different. I've employed a few different retouching techniques but there is something about that image and the subsequent images that are "different".

Sometimes I do things in Photoshop that I'm not necessarily 100% aware of and have to later on backsolve. Interesting huh? LOL :)


  1. I feel your pain. I rip through ten, twenty adjustment layers, setting their opacity to 20% to just get a whiff of change, then flatten it and carry on. An hour or two later it's anybody's guess what combination of pixel-pushing has occurred to get me where I am now. I need to make some hour-long Actions.

    Calling my workflow undisciplined and disorganised would be a kindness.

  2. I fear "flattening" my layers. I only do it in the end and even when I do I always "undo" the flattening and then save a copy with all the layers. I never know when I'll change my mind about something or about an opacity or about a percentage of anything hahaha


  3. Maybe you can see if you have a solution to my problem, or rather the cause of my rampant layer-flattening.

    Imagine a hypothetical scenario where there are three layers all at 20% opacity and you like the way it looks. In other words you have three elements that combine to give the 'output'. Now imagine that you want to do a non-trivial retouch that output (eg. do an inverted lens blur with an alpha channel source and then add a hard light high-pass filter) - I can see no way to do this to the combined output unless:

    1. I do it three times, once for each layer which would be a disaster if I want to make manually painted adjustments.
    2. I flatten the layers and do it once to the whole thing.

    In most cases, doing something once for every low-opacity layer that contributes to the output would be an insane waste of effort.

    Have a missed a trick in my decade of photoshopping?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hello oneredpanther,

    One photoshop trick you might consider is to combines all the layers that are visible into one new layer. It's like flattening, only you don't get rid of all the layers you created and you can always backtrack from there.

    On a PC, it's SHIFT+CTRL+ALT+E. I don't know the equivalent on a Mac though.

    This works wonders for me :)

  6. Actually I meant Merge Visible all along. In my fried brain it's interchangeable with Flatten! Should've been more clear, thanks though :)

  7. I don't know why I bother blogging about Photoshop. You guys know obviously know so much more about it than I do LMAO :) bastards, why don't you guys write some blogs so I can learn something knew!

    If I'm reading you correctly, by converting to LAB mode you MUST flatten... no way around it... you're kinda SOL! :)

    Yeah, there are things that you must flatten to accomplish. Fortunately, I don't do anything that complicated. So I get away with keeping all my layers. I did have an instance today where I had to merge visible in order to run a unsharp mask. e.g. if I have 6 images each occupying a portion of the canvass, can I do unsharp mask on the entire image without merging the 6 images? :)

    Pray tell oh mighty ones! :)

  8. I devised a semi-useful workaround last night for this scenario.

    I selected my 6 layers, duplicated them all and made them invisible. Then went back to the original 6 and Merged Selected. So now we have both an invisible 'backup' collection of the layers and also a flattened composite from which to work on further. You get what you need, but also an insurance policy too.

    Now, I say this is semi-useful because once you've duplicated the layers, any further editing diverges their identical..ness.

    But if you're like me and have shambolic layer discipline anyway, then once you're approaching the end of the retouch it's a good way to get what you need from flattening whilst also preserving the component layers if you change your mind about something.

    Also, I'm getting into the habit of saving multiple versions of the file as I go - making a copy just before I flatten so as to break apart the layered 'editing' and flattened 'global adjustment' workflows. Then I have DSC_001_layered.psd and DSC_001_flattened.psd to choose from later.

    My trick is to do all the levels, curves, sharpening, HSL, toning (as opposed to the heavy lifting of skinwork) at the end on adjustment layers in the flattened file - this way you only have to open a 1-layer file instead of 50 when you want to re-tone at a later date. Much faster.