Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Following A Magazine Tutorial

I was at a newsstand the other day and saw a magazine called “Advanced Photoshop – The magazine for Photoshop Professionals”.  Notice that it does make any claim to be about Photoshop for photographers.  I thought it looked interesting and it dealt with a part of Photoshop I don’t typically play in.  The artsy part.  The part where a photographic image is just a starting point.  The cover art was of a model who had had a Manga-style treatment applied.  I thought it might be something to play with to follow the twenty step tutorial.  A couple things make a portrait “Manga style”.  The pointy chin, lots of hair, the large eyes, the flawless skin and a tiny nose and mouth.  The resemblance between the starting point of today’s image and the end result is pretty slight.  I’m not sure the subject would recognize herself.  The number of things that had to be done just to get the image to the starting point of the tutorial was fairly extensive.  You might be able to check out the tutorial for the technique on the magazine’s website or do a Google search and, I’m sure, you can find similar versions of the same technique.  What I’ll do is explain the steps involved in getting to the starting point.  If you’d like to check out the gyrations needed, hit the “read more”.
The first thing was to straighten up the portrait. The subject had a lilting tilt to her head. Using the Ruler Tool (I) I drew a straight line down through what I thought was the center of her face. The first attempt, with automatic straightening wound up cutting off the top of her head. Turning the auto-straighten feature off resulted in the upper right and lower left corners being chopped off. I used the Quick Selection Tool (W) to pick up the two triangular pieces and then used Select/Modify/Expand to increase the size of the selection by twenty pixels. I find this gives the Content Aware Fill (Shift F5) function a better “bite” and allows a more accurate fill. The bottom left filled in nicely, but the upper right was pretty much of a mess. Once that was cleared up I could go on to the next step.

One a the “other features” of a Manga portrait is that it’s symmetrical. To form that symmetry the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) was used to select the left half of the face. Ctrl J put it up on its own Layer. Free Transform (Ctrl T) was used to flip the left side of the face. There’s two ways to do that. One is to Right Click on the Selection, choose Flip Horizontal and drag the image to the right and try to match up the centerline. Another way is to grab the center left handle and drag it to the right. The right side will stay still and the left side will turn much like turning the page of a book. The centerline remains fixed. The only thing to watch for is to make sure not to pull the handle either too much or too little.

The model didn’t have enough hair, so random selections, using the free form Lasso Tool (L), were grabbed, put up on their own Layer (Ctrl J) and moved around using the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl T) to spots that looked reasonably “natural”. Any sharp edges were removed by applying a Layer Mask and using a soft round Brush (B) to feather the hard edges. The hair was filled in on both sides.

The face was cleared of any blemishes by using the Healing Brush (J) with the Content Aware checkbox clicked. Once the face was flawless the magazines tutorial could be started.