Originally uploaded by mugsy1274.

Continuing the theme of “playing with Photoshop”, here’s one I did of my friend Jess.

The original photo can be seen here.

This was just color correction – plus I over-saturated the hair and irises, and added magenta to the lips. Then I multipled a Gaussian blur over the image to get the soft glow, and tweaked the brightness/contrast.

Here you can see the difference between the source picture, and my changes:

Originally uploaded by mugsy1274.

This one is mostly more experimenting with layer masks – using various hue/saturation adjustment layers. Plus the good ol’ Dooce Effect.

Original photo here.


~ by Matt Stratton on December 5, 2005.

8 Responses to “Jess”

  1. It depends on the context.

    As a portrait, saturation may not be a good idea, but that too depends on what you as an artist are trying to accomplish.

    I’d discussed how blown-out areas with Matt earlier today and how they’re generally something to avoid, but in the third picture, stylistically the blown-out portion of her front-facing cheek and nose works–you have two focal points, the eyes and the mouth, and you really don’t need to see the curvature of the nose. Or at least I don’t think you do, because your mind accepts that it’s there and you have other very interesting things to look at.

    What I think he’s done (well) in the first comparison is take a very good snapshot and stylized it heavily. You may only think it’s appropriate for a 90s pop album cover, and for that you have your reasons, but compositionally they work.

    It may or may not be your cup of tea.

  2. Oh I thought you called them “playtime” and “fuckaround” because we’re talking about Jess.

  3. See, I really like the first one and dislike the second one. The first one is subtle. I disagree with Julius that she looks like a harlequin. I love how rich the colors are, especially in the hair, where you still have detail in the shading.

    However, I think the second one is way overdone to be aesthetically pleasing. It reads too “myspace profile” than rich color, which is how the first one reads. And in that one she does look like a harlequin.

    As for the debate on blown out vs. not blown out, I think when it’s in the right hands, blown out images can look amazing. I refer you to Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography, particularly “AI” for the more subtle stuff, and “Minority Report” for the really extreme stuff. “Minority Report” is a great resource for how to do stuff like that and make it look really good instead of really clichéd.

    Color correction and Photoshop are like nuclear power – you can either bring electricity and prosperity to the village, or you can completely destroy it in horrific meltdown.

  4. Color correction and Photoshop are like nuclear power – you can either bring electricity and prosperity to the village, or you can completely destroy it in horrific meltdown.

    Having fun playing Civ? 🙂

  5. One thing I’m trying to make sure to do is document what I’m actually doing with the images. Both for my own use (so I can look back later and go “oh yeah, that’s what THAT does”, but also for anyone who is following this experiment to be able to try the stuff themselves.

    The biggest things I’ve learned in the last few weeks have been the idea of adjustment layers (how I’ve used Photoshop for this long without knowing about them, I have no idea) and combining them with layer masks. Using brushes to create masks has really expanded what I’m able to do.

  6. That’s actually not something I got from Civ. It was a quote my professor, Matt Kregor, said about music selection in films.

  7. Might want to check your mask then. It looks like most areas of the photo got affected by the saturation (for example, if you look at her necklace). Other than that, I’m at a loss. I doubt it’s the blur, but you could try applying the blur, minus the saturation, to see if the color shifts.

    And, as you’ve discovered, doing color adjustment on a calibrated, good-quality monitor (preferably a CRT) makes a gigantic world of difference. You wouldn’t believe how badly adjusted a monitor can be and still look ordinary. The eye compensates a lot.

    Sorry if I’ve achieved Marcelo-like levels of pretension. hehehehehehehehehe.

  8. Sorry if I’ve achieved Marcelo-like levels of pretension.

    Clearly, you’ve learned from the master! 🙂

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