I recently asked my group what sort of things they'd like to see on my blog. Someone suggested I do some "how-to" blogs. This isn't going to be a very good one but it might keep you amused for 2 minutes.
A couple of years ago I had this really dumb idea to go back to tafe to do the post grad course and soon decided it wasn't for me, half because I thought I was better than everyone else and half due to depression kicking in hard. When my anxiety and that gets bad is seriously affects my sleep, and I already have insomnia so I just consider myself lucky if I can go to sleep while it's still dark outside. One of the cool things I did learn though was frequency separation. I'd heard of it before then but not looked at what it actually was. The "for dummies" version (because I don't know how else to explain it) is it creates two layers of your photo - one is a big ol' blurry mess and the other has been sharpened so much it starts to look like something from a horror movie but together they make your photo look normal. Together with showing us how to add makeup to a photo we had to use this technique on a portrait and edit it 4 different ways. This got funny fast. For one thing I was going to be lazy and use an old photo but realised pretty quickly I couldn't because I haven't taken a basic portrait since around 2006 (also for tafe) and they were all on film and no use to me. Everything else I've taken has included full makeup or glitter, fake blood, spaghetti, paint..and all completely unusable. So I roped Kelly (aka Penny Purr) into modelling for me one afternoon so I'd have something to use only this "normal" portrait shoot lasted about 5 minutes before we noticed these Blair Witch style huts and went a bit nuts. I was amused so much I made a meme.
Sadly I can't show the normal photos because I lost two years worth of work when my hard drive died so these are all I have left. I do have the photo I used for the assignment though!
This is SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera), completely unedited and as is. The only makeup Kelly has on is eyeliner because there was no way in hell I was going to try and figure that out in photoshop.
Edit 1 I kept it very simple. I used the frequency separation to lighten the bags under her eyes and any possible blemishes, adjusted the colour balance to be less orange, adjusted the curves for a bit of contrast and added "lipstick". The lipstick was pretty simple, you just pick a colour and use the paintbrush to paint over the lips (on a new layer!! Never edit on the actual photo!!). I set that layer to Multiply 60%. Done!
My next edit was when I came to this realisation..
This is made funnier by the fact my crazy aunt (some people in the family tree are certifiable) let me know I was the "worst nazi I've ever met". Honestly I wanted to ask her how many she knew. I mean that's a pretty bold statement considering she's the homophobe-racist. I had someone who wanted to hire me when I was finishing tafe, that person happened to be transgender and just wanted photos in their clothes. Nothing major. She tells me "You don't want to work with those people". What people, people with money? So I ended up shooting bands where I don't get paid anything. I guess that worked out for the best!
Edit 2 I continued on with Edit 1. At first I made her hair this cool blue/green colour but I wasn't sure they'd appreciate my alternative take of portrait editing so went back to natural (I did send that edit to Kelly though to let her know she'd rock that colour if she ever decided to go crazy). Her eyes I did the exact same thing I did with the lips, painted blue over them then changed the opacity to Multiply 50%. Adding blush was a bit trickier to do because you had to get the brush stroke right that it didn't end up looking like a hard streak across her cheeks. I almost completely gave up on doing that. This layer was set to Darken 30%. For hair I made a duplicate layer of the photo and screwed around the colour settings so the whole photo was heavy on the orange. I added a layer mask to hide everything but the hair and from there I played with levels to lighten the hair, vibrance for the colour and brightness/contrast to make it look somewhat natural. Other than that I just edited the "dimples" in her cheeks from piercings. Done!
Edit 3 was a continuation from Edit 2. I removed her freckles, added a texture over the background and added a 50% grey layer to do some dodging and burning. I prefer to do this compared to using the dodge and burn tools on the photo directly. For one thing this is way more subtle and if you make a mistake it's easier to fix up. It's great for adding more depth to photos and some shape to faces but it can also make faces look completely different (eg the nose). By the end you'd never know Kelly was a kiwi!
Looking back at these now I'm still impressed I pulled this off and it isn't something I've done again. The only area I realise I didn't fix properly was the small patch of hair on the right side of her face by her eye. I should have cleaned that up better but I probably didn't notice it then.
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