PixelPerfect #124: Retouching Photographs

Posted in Graphics, Podcasts on May 05, 2009

Photoshop can be used to fix and enhance product photography, or to retouch someone's face.

Bring focus to the product: Retouch a wine glass
Bert's first example of retouching involves an etched wine glass that sites on a dark wooden table. Our objective is to create more wine glasses to draw more attention to the glass instead of the table.

Create a work path to add glare to a wine glass
First, add additional glare to the glass by using the pen tool to draw shapes of light. After drawing the shapes, create a new layer, select the work path, then fill the layer's selection with white. Soften the light by applying a gaussian blur. Apply a layer mask to the glare and brush a grey mask to soften up the appearance of the glare. Make sure Shape Dynamics (in Brush Presets) is turned off so that you get a uniform, even shaped brush. This layer mask should have a Screen layer style.

Use alpha channels to apply styling to monogram
The monogram (letters) are saved as an alpha channel so we can apply styles to only the letter areas and not worry about being so precise. We will create a second monograph alpha channel and this version will be blurred. Nudging the blurred alpha channel a couple pixels to the left allows an overlap of channels. Use Calculations to save the overlapped areas into a new alpha channel. See episode 9 for a re-cap of alpha channels.

Add highlights to the product's focal point
Select the new alpha channel that holds the blur overlap. Brush this selection with a white brush in a new layer to add tonality to the monogram graphic. The wine glass now has more attention pulled in than the table

Correct staged photos, such as a winery scene
In a staged product photo, small details are sometimes overlooked, such as wine poured into glasses without the wine bottle being open, or imperfect landscape. Bert retouches a staged winery photo to make it perfect.

Use clone tool to add fruits to a bare tree
Use the clone tool to sample a fruit, and brush the clone onto other areas of the image. In Adobe Photoshop CS4, you get a convenient preview of your cloned area before you commit.

Use brush mode, "Color" to bring dead trees back to life
This example has dead, brown trees. These need to come back to life by turning them green again. Sample a green hue from neighboring foliage and paint the brown trees green using a brush mode, "Color" - this adds color without losing any detail of the leaves. Lower the opacity of the green brush to add color to the edges of the brush for a softer edge.

Use clone Tool to open the bottle of wine
Manually select the mouth of the bottle to apply changes to make the bottle appear open. Simply use the clone tool to sample existing glass and apply this to your selection.

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Tags: Photoshop, Design, Revision3, PixelPerfect, photo, Broadcasting, Screencasts, product, Retouch