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Regarding "Portrait" processing (Black and White)

vinod1067 5 9 India
9 Jan 2013 11:26AM
Hi Guys,

I have seen many portrait pics that are really really so rich in texture and detail. The subject(mainly face of a person) will have grungy kind of highlights/details but the space around the subject will be black/dark. something like these pics,



I am curious to know what kind of processing will be involved in such pics. I know processing plays a major role in these kind of pics. If someone can throw some light about this it would really help me a lotSmile


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sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
9 Jan 2013 12:40PM
In the examples given I suspect the photographer has used the 'structure' tab on SilverEffex to add to the semblence of skin texture - and sharpend the results for the web. It should also be noted that there are texture layers added to second image, and the 1st image looks to have a very heavy vignette added (which spoils this image imho).
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
9 Jan 2013 1:32PM
the halation around the second portrait at nose level on the right shows that heavy burning in was done on the background.

one way to get the facial texture (assuming texture exists) is to set the radius a bit higher in smart sharpen and then sharpen within an inch of its life. (works on foreground rocks too) the same effect is available with a slider in colour efex on tonal contrast then i think the highlights have been dodged a good bit to take them up near white.

Nick_w Plus
10 4.3k 99 England
9 Jan 2013 1:58PM
This type of processing is an immitation of that by Andrzej Dragan , tho IMHO not in the same league. I think saying Silver EFEX pro and bumping up the structure is been a little unfair. I don't believe its just a simple "recipee" but every image is different. The use of different channels (R,G,B even L from the LAB), multiply mode (often in just a single channel), low amount, high radius USM's, high pass sharpening I believe all play a part to some degree (dependent on image) + a few other local contrast techniques. Then quite sophisticated dodge & burn techniques, some then have a texture banged on for good measure.

I wont even touch on the lighting set up some of these guys use.

I played around with the technique a while back, but didnt really master it.

If you must, also check out the work of Joey Lawrence, Dave Hill and Jill Greenberg (all put the linked images to shame)

But why copy what someone else did 5 years ago, they move on and the "grunged" portrait look then starts to look old hat - they have long since moved on.
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
9 Jan 2013 8:01PM
use the blue channel as a starting point - makes the skin darker and brings out wierd details

must admit, I've not done one for AGES - probably around 2007 when I was doing blue channel portraits. used to upset Tandberg when I did them of him - hence me doing loads of him lol.

I just used Channel Mixer to lower the red and green to 0 (ish) then up the blue to 100 (ish) - tweak, then use curves layers and masks to add contrast selectively. Then maybe a selective sharpen layer or 5 to add varying textures to bits and bobs.

All very very quick with actions

I've forgotten how Photoshop works now though... lightroom 4 seems to do most things well now
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
9 Jan 2013 8:02PM
actually - the "eye" of my avatar is a blue channel conversion of me...

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