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Beautify a Face

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8. Match color scarf with skin tone

Add a new layer in Photoshop by clicking on the Create a new Layer icon New Layer in the layers palette.
Rename this layer to  Scarf .

We could use a Hue & Saturation layer and correct the color of the scarf like was done in the Remove blue sky color cast Photoshop tutorial but the result doesn't look good and looks what most people call color posterization:

Color Posterization

This is caused by the Jpeg artifacts and reminds us again to save original photographs preferable in a lossless format like TIFF or PSD (no information will be lost) or to avoid high compression rates when you do use a lossy format like for example Jpeg.

In this step we're going to use a different Photoshop technique. We're going to add a layer filled with a color, blend it with the scarf and use a mask so that the blended color will only affect the scarf and nothing else.

Select the Eye Dropper tool Eye Dropper Toolin the tool bar. Go to the option bar and select a 5 by 5 Average Sample Size for this tool:

Sample Size

This allows us to sample a more average presentation of the actual color.

Zoom in to about 200% and "click" with the Eye Dropper Tool on the girl's lower lip to sample the color (which will be our new foreground color). Don't sample the highlighted areas, but choose an area like this:

Bottom Lip

 

Go to the tool bar after you've have sampled the color and select the Paint Bucket Tool Paint Bucket Tooland fill your current Scarf layer with this new foreground color. Change the blending mode of this layer to Coloras marked with A in our next screenshot.
Now hold down the Alt key (Option key on the Mac) and click on the Add Layer Mask icon Add Maskand release the mouse button and the Alt key. The scarf layer with our sampled color is now invisible, since we've completely masked it (B) by holding down the Alt key (option key on the Mac) when we added the mask (Note: a completely black mask makes the layer invisible).

Color Layer with Mask

 

Select the Brush Tool Brush Toolin the tool bar and got to the options bar and click on the button with the little black triangle marked with A:

Brush settings

Select a Master Diameter of about 30 px and a Hardness of 0%.
Also check in the options bar that Mode is set to Normal, Opacity 100% and Flow 100%.

First make sure that your mask is still active; it will have a double border and there will be a mask icon Mask in front of your layer. Now continue by pressing D on your keyboard to set the foreground color to white and the background color to black: Fore- and background

Start painting on the scarf inside Photoshop's document window so that it reveals the new color. Use a smaller brush if needed to work in smaller areas or close to the edge of the scarf.

Set the opacity of this layer to about 60%.

MouseOver

Scarf - Before/After

Notice that we have now avoided the color posterization that we saw in the screenshot at the beginning of this step.

Lock the Scarf layer.

9. Image crop

In this step we're going to crop an image with Photoshop. To understand how to crop an image it's really necessary to forget Photoshop for now and to talk a little more about photography and what makes an image "work".

Let me start by saying that you shouldn't underestimate the power of cropping an image. Quite often it allows us to correct those mistakes that were made when the photo was actually taken, mistakes that are often related to the composition aspects of an image. A good crop is one of the easiest and fastest ways to make an image more powerful. Not only can it be used to "move" the main subject to the most powerful area in our image, but it can also strengthen existing elements of a photograph, like the height of a tower or the wideness of a landscape (panorama format).

Look at the original image:

Orginal photograph

It's not a very exciting composition. The main subject is kept small and about 75% of the image is just a plain background. After all that hard work we've done in the previous steps it would be great to balance the composition and to move closer to the main subject (the girl).

We're going to improve the composition by making use of photography's Rule of Thirds. I don't like the word rule, because I consider it more a guideline and that's why it's important to know when to break with this rule/guideline. The Rule of Thirds states that by dividing the image in thirds, both vertically and horizontally and placing the main focus points close to the four points where these lines intersect (the four red points marked in the next image) tends to make the image more pleasing to look at.

MouseOver

Cropping - Before/After

You'll notice when you look at the image that the center of the face is exactly in the middle. I tend to call it a "bull's-eye" shot. In most cases (not always) that can lead to a boring composition. Now let's apply the rule of thirds by cropping this image and look at the result by moving your mouse over this image.

We moved the eyes (an important focal point in any face!) towards one of these 4 stronger points, in this case a. The end of her left shoulder (from the girl's point of view) and which is also a distinct point in this image, is now closer to d. By cropping the image this way, we have created a closer view on the main subject and the face is getting all the attention that it deserves.

it would have been better to move the crop more to the left so that a would be exactly been both eyes, but then we would have had to "cut off" part of her right shoulder (from the girl's point of view) and that would have been a distraction for the viewer. This should also be a reminder for us; some things just can't be corrected in Photoshop. As a photographer however we could have asked her to stand in front of the wall under a certain angle, instead of parallel to it and that would have solved the "problem" with this shoulder and would have made the image more dynamic.

Why not moving the girl to the right so that the focal point of eyes would have been b instead?

  • Professional photographers quite often consider it more powerful to leave the largest neutral space on the side the eyes/head are facing. Her girl has turned her head slightly to the left (from her point of view), so we try to keep the open space intact that's on the right side. Compare it with a photograph of a moving race car; if a photographer wants to add space then he adds it in front of the car, in the direction it's going and it makes the image more dynamic. Why does it make an image more dynamic? That's because of the way our eyes and brain work. If our eyes see a car, then our brain wants to know where this car is going, that's a natural response.
  • The shadow makes the photograph more interesting and gives the image depth, so we don't want to do anything wrong with it. Also by cropping the image this way, you tend to divide the image in a left half that's quite bright and a right half that's quite dark (clothes, shadow), so we're actually splitting the image in half. Photographs that are split in half tend to lead to a boring composition (in general that is, not always). Take for example landscape photography; place the horizon exactly in the middle and compare it with a horizon at 1/2 or 2/3 like you see in most photographs shot by professional photographers. These photographers do this with a reason, to make the image look more pleasing by avoiding a boring composition.

Here's how the it would have looked with the girl on the right:

Crop with subject on the right

Also notice that it now feels as if she's 'pushed' against the right side of the image, it creates "tension" and in this particular shot we're trying to avoid this.

Don't forget to check out our Crop with Rules of Thirds Photoshop tutorial that is related to image cropping.

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