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Lighting is only half the battle?


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#1 Evan Winter

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 05:25 PM

Apparently lighting is not everything when it comes to doing beauty work! ;)

Check out the post-production beauty work performed on these stills:

Go to http://www.fluideffect.com/ then the 'Portfolio' section and then the 'Before/After' section.

I love taking at look at what can be done and always think it's a gem-of-a-find to see professional before and after work.

Hopefully you enjoy!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 06:22 PM

I wonder if these people who have been so digitally touched up to look younger get afraid to step out in public afterawhile and let people see them as they really are... it starts to be like the Picture of Dorian Gray...
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#3 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 07:15 PM

Most of those shots are more attractive, and certainly more interesting, before manipulation.

Check out the Dove 'Campaign For Real Beauty' film - http://www.campaignf...at4.asp?id=6909

Sorry, the 'insert link' tool isn't working for me.
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#4 Daniel Smith

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 08:01 PM

I wonder if the models appreciate this before and after page...

I actually saw a video reel of this sort of work, it was posted somewhere around the forum. Seems like a key selling point.
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#5 Evan Winter

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 08:24 PM

David,

I was wondering the same thing - I personally wouldn't be comfortable with all the photo retouching because I'd feel as if I was constantly a disappointment in real life. To a certain extent I'd prefer the public know what I really look like rather than have them always see an idealized version of me.

However, this all reminds me a little of unregulated sports - if your sport isn't carefully regulated with regards to steroid use and several athletes then start taking steroids soon everyone else is left with a difficult choice - stay off the juice and likely fall behind performance-wise or do the old 'if you can't beat them join them' thing.

In a world where celebrities are expected to be more fabulous, beautiful, and intriguing than us regular folk allowing photo-retouching and insisting on glamor lighting from your DPs seem like a prudent 'performance-enhancing' choice.

We do, after all, love our beautiful people...

Sorry for the double post. I tried to add the following in quick edit but it wouldn't take...


To Luke: I'm typically against photo-retouching because I feel it's often overused and ends up giving us plasticky fake looking people whereas I prefer to see some texture in the skin and face - I find the texture itself attractive. However, after seeing some subtle and well-done photo-retouching it'd be hard for me to argue that the subjects of the work don't look better after the work has been done. I'm amazed to see how armpit folds are photo-shopped away, veiny hands are smoothed down to silky perfection, neck wattles are disappeared with precise digital surgery. It's the little details that make the most difference in this case and I can't help but feel that the overall 'beauty' of the subjects is increased.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 09:02 PM

Of course she started out with good genes... but I've worked with Helen Mirren and love how she's aged gracefully, with little or no apparent work done. She's quite attractive in real life even when she shows up for work with no make-up on and she's in and out of the make-up chair in fifteen minutes (I'm not exaggerating) in a day when the typical middle-aged actress requires three hours of work (I'm not exaggerating there either.) This has allowed her to move into playing older characters without looking ridiculous, unlike some actresses who have gone under the knife too many times trying to keep looking like they are only 36.
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 09:18 PM

I tried to post a reply earlier but must have only hit the "preview" button...

This kind of retouching is much harder to do with a moving image, although it is done sometimes. I noticed on the DVD of an early season of CSI they did a lot of blurring on the leading ladies' faces, especially under the eyes. It looked pretty unnatural to me.

In drama you don't really have as much opportunity to extensively retouch all the CU's. In commercials and music videos though, you might have more time (and mandate) to make the image look as precise as possible.

I guess what I'm saying is; "don't throw away your lighting techniques and filters yet." ;)
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 09:25 PM

It's even worse on the big screen -- remember the out-of-focus blob on Scarlett Johanson's face in "The Island" following her around? I guess hiding a mole or something.
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#9 Mike Rizos

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 09:29 PM

I's interesting to note, that on one of the pictures, breast implants were made more natural looking. Does that mean whoever did the retouching is a superior artist to the plastic surgeon?
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#10 Evan Winter

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 09:45 PM

Hey Mike,

I'd argue no. :)

Cause the Photographer had to do the heavy lifting and 'operate' within the physical restraints of reality to get the initial shot. The photo-retoucher got to work in the virtual world where the limits to what's possible and practical are a little more fluid.

As a side note - I'm guessing the woman you're referring to is the black woman lying down on the odd white leather bed thing. I believe that woman is the RnB singer Ciara and I also believe that she is, as yet, all natural. I reckon the retoucher was simply trying to defy gravity and readjust the contents of her d├ęcolletage to what he/she believed was a more pleasing shape/position... :ph34r:
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#11 K Borowski

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:28 PM

Well, such retouching has been around since photography has been around. It was pretty standard practice to retouch prints and negatives (still is where I work ;-) ) before digital trickery came around. With B&W, when my benefactor was shooting 4x5 inch sheet film in the '50s and '60s, he'd retouch with lead and also with red ink, which had the effect of lightening up the area went over with red ink because it acted as a built-in "safelight" during printing. Then on the print shadows under eyes would be chalked out, stray hairs would sometimes be removed, blemishes would be spotted out, as would wrinkles and blemishes, before three coats of lacquer would be applied to the print for good measure. This is time consuming work, but it's actually expected from professional still-photographers who do portraits, at least in the market I work in. Now, as for the level of retouching demonstrated here, I personally consider it a bit excessive. I like the before shot with the boobie, personally, and I like a little bit of shine on cheeks. Personally, I'd do many of the same retouches were I the one doing the corrections, but I would leave a trace of the blemish or the gleam in. I'd probably take sags out altogether though, just as he has. One thing that photographers never take out that personally drives me crazy is the reflections of lights/flashes/cameras in subjects eyes. I'd want to go in and even out the lighting of the retina of the eyes, now that photoshop has made that sort of fine retouching practical for less-than-stellar retouch artists such as myself.

Regards,

~Karl Borowski
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#12 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 03:21 PM

I think completely removing the reflections from the eyes makes them look dead.
I personally won't do anything to the eyes unless there are multiple competing highlights, then I'd remove all but the key reflection.
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#13 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 06:03 PM

Frankly, I can not relate in any way to the whole mindset and "aesthetic" of that website.
To me it feels really low class, not modern and not retro it all feels NON.
Like over cooked turnips.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 07:38 PM

Well Dan, it's been done like that since the craft's been born. Photoshop has made it easier for an amateur to do it, that's all (not that he's an amateur, the type of retouching he does is very good).

I don't have a problem with light gleams in the eyes. Those are good, but very obvious soft boxes, camera reflections, photographer reflections, or spotlight reflections are yuck. I have a real pet pieve for those '50s Hollywood movies where they'
re supposedly outdoors and there are very obvious reflections from stage lights evident in all the reflections. It's kind of like how, in porn, they don't care if the microphone dangles into the shots during the "take". Just me though.

I tend to have a lower tolerance for other forms of facial retouching. On my own senior pictures, I only wanted the pimples touced out. I prefered the blemishes and so on to an ultra airbrushed look that seems to be more and more popular as the years go on.

I don't really think the level of retouching demonstrated here will ever be possible (at least not before I'm an old man) in movies. There's just no way to make people look good 24 frames a second, especially when they're in motion or the camera or backround is in motion along with them.


Regards,

~Karl
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#15 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 07:59 PM

Of course she started out with good genes... but I've worked with Helen Mirren and love how she's aged gracefully, with little or no apparent work done.


I'll have to second that sentiment David. Just the other day I mentioned to my wife how pretty Helen Mirren was, and she gave me a weird look and said "Well she certainly plays old ladies real well", but she hasn't seen her in enough roles to know that she can totally turn it around and become the only thing worth looking at on the screen.
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#16 K Borowski

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 08:32 PM

Is there a group of cinematographers that "have a thing" for Helen Mirren or something? Haha, maybe I'll start a "Life of a Mirren thread" here and see where it goes :-)
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#17 Will Earl

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 08:56 PM

I don't really think the level of retouching demonstrated here will ever be possible (at least not before I'm an old man) in movies. There's just no way to make people look good 24 frames a second, especially when they're in motion or the camera or backround is in motion along with them.


This level of retouching is possible at 24fps, there are some very talented Digital Paint artists out there that can paint out any imperfection you can think of and make it look natural. The fact that you can't see it or don't notice it is prove that they're doing their job well.
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#18 K Borowski

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 10:25 PM

This level of retouching is possible at 24fps, there are some very talented Digital Paint artists out there that can paint out any imperfection you can think of and make it look natural. The fact that you can't see it or don't notice it is prove that they're doing their job well.


To rephrase: I don't think it will ever be practical on a large scale. Anything's possible if you throw enough money at the problem. How many frames of film are in your average movie? Let's say 144,000 (100 minutes). Are you really going to retouch say 60 different items in each of those frames? I'd say those are 8,640,000 compelling reasons to get things right on the OCN through, lighting, makeup, diffusion, camera angle, etc. I also think it's a bit presumptuous to make it out that only Digital Paint artists can make imperfections look natural, or blend fantasy with reality convincingly. If anything, I think digital retouching is an improvement at the expense of the overall quality of the image, because it entails a 2K output instead of an optical print somewhere along the line. They've been doing retouching in movies long before film recorders and paintshop, remember the great black blob on the Emperor's cloak in Return of the Jedi? Then there are countless hundreds of breathtaking matte paintings in movies and television shows that were done with paint, brushes, glass and optical printers, and are just as convincing to audiences today as they were when those films first showed. As I said before, this sort of trickery's been around since photography was invented. They used to put blue makeup on people's faces and glasses full of blue liquids in the window to lighten skin complexions up on the monochromatic Daguerrotype plates of the day, and use pencils, inks, and chalks to soften what was there or add what wasn't there on the plate.
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#19 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 05:16 AM

They did retouch Kevin Costner's hairline frame by frame in "Waterworld".
Didn't prevent the film from being a flop.
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#20 Keith Mottram

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 09:03 AM

there are a number of female actresses that have digital retouching put into their contracts and it wouldn't surprise me if there are some men aswell...
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