Thursday, May 14, 2015

Enhancing A Portrait Using A Special Filter In Photoshop

First a cute story about the Santa Claus clone in today's image.  We were out to dinner with Doris' brother (aka the Santa Claus guy) the other night.  A family a couple tables away included a little girl about three years old.  I heard the murmur
and the dad ask her who she saw at the table.  With eyes as big as saucers she said it was "Santa".  Well, Mom, Dad and the rest of the family went along with her and carried on the rouse.  Her Dad took her to the restroom and as she passed, her eyes never wavered from looking at my brother-in-law.  The rest of us might as well have been the croutons in the salad.  No acknowledgement at all.  She was fixated on "Santa".  When they finished their meal and were preparing to leave the little girl said something to her Mom.  I heard the magic word... Santa.  Roland, who usually tries to give a gruff, biker look, bent down and motioned her over.  The thrill was evident on her face as she looked up to her Dad for permission.  He gave his head a nod toward our table and the little girl took off in a sprint (of about six feet) and threw a giant hug around her Santa's neck.  As the hug ended Roland looked her in the eye and said "you be good".  She put her hands over her mouth as she gasped "I will.  I promise."  She ran back over to her folks with one of the biggest smiles I've ever seen.  As they left, the Dad looked over his shoulder and said "Thank you".  Roland had a pretty big smile on his face too.  To see what filter was used to adjust today's image, hit the "Read More".

Today's image was shot at the Bronx Zoo.  Just a grab shot as we walked around.  It's one of the few I have where he's not trying to flip me the bird in some unobtrusive way.  Just enough so the shot is basically unusable.  Look at the shot again.  Can you see where the Adobe Photoshop (PS) tool was used?  Probably not, but it's a trick you can use on almost any portrait.  It's the Bloat Tool (sixth tool down on the list of tools on the left edge of the dialog box) [Filter/Liquify].  Most people (for some reason) close (or narrow) their eyes as a shot is taken.  Size the Bloat Tool to slightly more than cover the subjects eye (one eye, not both).  Click once (maybe twice but never three times) and go to the other eye.  Repeat the click over the opposite eye.  You're done.  Click "OK" and you'll be brought back to PS proper.  Hopefully you were using a Smart Object.  You can click the Liquify Tool eyeball on and off to see the effect.  It'll probably be subtle, but noticeable. 

Just that little tweak can make a portrait much nicer.  Now, look back at today's image.  You'll see that you can't help but fixate on the fact that the eyes are larger than they would "normally" be.  Before I told you "the trick" you didn't notice the change in the eyes.  Now you can't help but notice.