Photoshop Tips: Avoid Photo Retouching Mistakes
Photo retouching has become synonymous with unreality recently. More and more mistakes are being found in magazine covers and various ads. Limbs go missing, bodies get out of proportion and hair looks like it is chiseled out of stone. Photo editing can be a stressful business, especially when you are dealing with a never-ending stream of work. However, if you teach yourself from the very beginning that the quick route is never the best you can avoid some of the worst errors. If you are just beginning to experiment with Photo retouching, the first thing that you need to do is forget online tutorials. Some might point you toward a filter or tool that you have not thought of using, but these are in the minority. Any tutorial that promises a quick and easy way to make a picture look beautiful is only teaching you bad habits. In truth, the only tutorial you really need to focus on is the help file included with Photoshop. Beyond this, you need to focus on learning the basics and nothing else.
One mistake that many early Photoshop editors make is trying to find a quick way to make skin look perfect. This usually involves the “Gaussian Blur.” It is a smooth blurring effect that reduces noise and detail by slight increments. The effect also gives the skin a doll-like look. One method that is also quick and yields better results is the “Median” filter which can be found under “Noise” in the filters menu. This retains more color and texture. However, if you plan on becoming a professional editor, there is only one way to make smooth yet textured skin, dodging and burning. Dodging will decrease the exposure of pixels that you want to be lighter, while burning does the opposite. Going over all of the revealed skin with these tools will give you amazing results, but this will take hours.
Beginners, and sadly some professionals, have a problem with trying to remove anything that they see as imperfect from the skin. Removing minor age lines and circles from beneath the eyes is not a problem, but it is different when you are dealing with a subject in their 60’s or older. Just like having one too many facelifts, it just doesn’t look natural. It is the same with freckles and birthmarks. They do not call them beauty marks for no reason. Some of these marks give people more character or enhance their beauty. In the case of a modeling shot, removing these distinctions could be deleting the very reason why he or she was chosen.
Put Down the Lasso
The lasso and its better version, the magnetic lasso, are good tools for making quick clipping paths. These might be great when you are in a hurry, but you need a careful hand to make a clean path. If you are working with hair or other complex images, you shouldn’t even bother. However, since it can be so tempting, you should just leave it out altogether and focus on the “Quick Mask” tool instead. All you need to do is press “Q” and use your brush to isolate the area and then press it again to create the path. For more complex shapes, always use your pen tool to get the best result. Photoshop retouching is a great way to get the pictures that you want, but you have to put in the effort. If you can focus on your basics, stay away from short cuts and make the right artistic choices, you will become a real professional.