Today we’re going to look at Adobe Camera Raw and a spot of beauty retouching.
I’ve chosen my image, which is how it is straight out of the camera and opened directly into Camera Raw. I’m using CS5. The controls in CS6 have changed and can cover this on another post.
You’ll see a histogram at the top right hand side. Below this, you’ll see a row of icons:
The first thing to look at is the brightness / exposure. So here I’m going to push the brightness up just a little.
The white balance on this occasion, is pretty good, but I’m going to add a little more yellow to warm it up a bit and take out a touch of green.
Next we move to the Sharpening, the third icon (two triangles) along the top of the right hand side.
We need to add a bit of Luminance to take out some of the grain, but we need to preview the image at 100%. The shortcut for this is Cmd (or Ctrl for PC) + Alt + 0. Alternatively, if you look at the bottom left of the screen, underneath the image, you’ll see this:
which is also where you can change the preview percentage.
Because this image was taken at 100 ISO the grain is hardly noticeable – it would be more noticeable on an image taken at a higher ISO.
But I’m going to push this up a little to 18 and then look at the sharpening itself, 4 sliders up which in this case I’ll leave as it is.
Next we’ll look at Vignetting. This image lends itself to a little vignetting. Very often I see this overdone and used on every image.
Go to the seventh icon along the top right, with ‘fx’ on it. Midway down you’ll see Post Crop Vignetting. I’m going to take this to left to -18. Each image will be different. Have a play with all the controls – Amount, Midpoint etc and see how this changes your image, for better or for worse!
These are the main controls on the right hand side that we’re going to look at. Now we’re going to turn our attention to just one of the icons along the top:
We’re going to look at the Adjustment Brush – fifth from the right, shortcut is K. You’ll see that the panel to the right hand side changes with sliders.
Look at these sliders and you’ll see one called Clarity. This is great for softening skin. I’m going to reduce this down quite a lot and paint all over the visible skin. You can adjust the size of your brushes by using the square bracket keys [ ] or the sliders down the bottom of the right hand side – Size, Feather etc.
If you tick the Show Mask tick box, you’ll see your image turn a different colour where you’ve painted with the Adjustment Brush. You can change the colour of the mask by clicking the coloured box next to it.
Now I’m going to erase some of the adjustment brush I’ve painted on, because I don’t want any of the reduced clarity to touch the hair, eyes or mouth, reduces sharpness. So, above the top Exposure slider, you’ll see New, Add and Erase radio buttons. Click Erase, and make the brush a lot smaller. Brush over the eyes, eyebrows, lips and any hair that you’ve gone into.
If you’ve kept your mask on, which I find is easier when I’m erasing, you’ll now have strange looking image!!:
If you switch off your mask and turn Preview (to the left of the histogram, top right of the image itself), on and off, you’ll see the changes you’ve made already. You can adjust the clarity until you find a level you like.
Now we’re going to add another Adjustment Brush. There are two ways of doing this. One is to click the New radio button at the top of the sliders (which will give you a new brush, with the same settings as you have just used) or click the plus or minus sign at the side of one of the sliders. For example, if I now click the plus sign at the side of Clarity, it will give me a new brush with +25 and ensure all the other sliders are set back to 0.
I will stay with +25 for now, and choose a small brush and brush over the eyes and mouth which will bring some more sharpness back to them. Once I’ve done this, I would go back in to 100% preview and check that these are not over-sharpened and adjust the slider accordingly – ensure your mask is turned off as you won’t be able to see the difference with it on.
You will also now see 2 ‘pins’. If you wish to go back and change the lower clarity over the face that you did first, you can click on the top pin, and you’ll see your mask change and the sliders to the right will change to what you had made them before.
To finish off today’s post, I’m going to save a Snapshot. This is the very last icon along the right hand ones we started with.
I’m going to save a snapshot by clicking the very small icon at the bottom right – there’s a square one and a dustbin.
I give this a name. That means, if I decide to make some changes such as making it black and white or cropping, but don’t want to lose my original colour version, I can save multiple versions.
Here’s a before and after.
Next time we’ll look at more skin softening techniques within Photoshop.