How would you darken background link added

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by snugelbune, May 24, 2007.

  1. snugelbune

    snugelbune

    313
    Mar 15, 2006
    NYC suburbs
    Ok,
    usually I can figure out how to do things in ps CS2 without much of a problem, but this time, all of my efforts have looked really fake so I'm turning to you guys for some fresh ideas. I can't figure out how to post pics any more..grrr....so that may limit me here, I realize.

    My photo is a family portrait where family is wearing black shirts and they wanted to be on a black background. I used a back light to get some separation, but the lighting was too much in the end. I don't want them to disappear into the background and become floating arms and faces in a sea of black, but I also don't want an artificial halo around them...I just need the slightest separation between their black shirts (and dark hair) and the black background. The mother was very specific that she wanted black on black...I screwed up with the too light back light and given that the room I shot in was about 1/2 the size she said it would be, they are sitting very close to the background and that doesn't help matters, either. And just to further complicate things, I underexposed by about 1/2 to 2/3 a stop, so when I correct that in NX or in CS2 (take your pick) the exaggeration of the lighted background becomes even more obvious.

    Here's what I've tried.

    A)masking them and lightening them while selecting the inverse and darkening the background....the lines are too harsh (feathered at 50) for things like whispy hair and so on.

    B)using the paint bucket tool to fill in the background...doesn't work because the backdrop was a velour/textured kind of material and so the paint bucket either leaves many little areas out or it decides to fill in things like parts of their skin.

    C)using the brush tool (tried dry media brushes so the color would be applied w/texture) to fill in the background...again, trying to do so without brusing their hair or using the art history brush to remove the fill on their hair/ears/faces is too "linear" and leaves an artificial halo.

    So, I am officially out of ideas, there must be a better way that I am unfamiliar with. Any help would REALLY be appreciated.

    thanks very much
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2007
  2. Can you post the picture on the net and at least give us a link. Trying to help someone edit a photo without seeing is near impossible. If you need a spot to temporarily host it, just holler.
     
  3. snugelbune

    snugelbune

    313
    Mar 15, 2006
    NYC suburbs
    I was afraid of that...ok try this link

    I'm not sure if it will work, but I think so...I left one pic that is too dark and the same pic lightened...I'm not happy with the noise (already added mucho noise suppression with NX and my camera was only at ISO 200...NOT happy with the noise, but I think had I trusted the meter and nailed the exposure it wouldn't be as severe...either that or this camera needs a tune up)

    http://shutterbunny.smugmug.com/gallery/2897806#155888443
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2007
  4. Peano

    Peano

    248
    Jun 22, 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    My steps:
    - Levels adjustment layer. Partly painted out that adjustment on the baby (which was a bit too bright)

    - Select background with magic wand and clean up any rough spots with one of the selection tools (this selection doesn't have to be precise).

    - On a blank layer in soft light mode, paint with white inside the selection using a large, soft brush to lighten background around subjects. That didn't create quite enough light, so I duped that layer, masked it out, and painted a little back in, selectively. (Note that I also painted just a little on the man's neck and shoulder to mimic a kicker placed in back at camera right. Gives that edge just a bit more definition.)

    - On another blank, soft light layer, painted with skin tones to add some red/orange to skin where it looked a little bluish.

    Also touched up the baby's eyes a bit -- darkened the outer rim of the iris, and brightened a little inside that. This effect would be better if done on the original image.

    PS -- after making these edits, I realized that I hadn't done what you were asking about: black background, black shirts, and slight separation. I'll take a second look with that in mind. Sorry 'bout that.

    bkglite2a.
     
  5. There's no way I could turn this into a black on black shot with seperation. If that was your goal, you should have turned the backlight around and used it as a rim light. But even then, I would have advised the client against black clothes against a black background.

    Assuming a re-shoot isn't possible, I tried editing one of the shots. After adjusting levels (excluding the background), I softened mom's skin and brightened her teeth a little. Then I removed some drool from the baby's chin. Next I desaturated the background, so the picture is black on gray. Maybe removing the blue will satisfy her. Finally, I cropped for 8x10.

    79348626.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2007
  6. Peano

    Peano

    248
    Jun 22, 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    OK, making the shirts stand out from the black background is fairly easy. The trick is first to get a decent mask of those edges. See this thread for a technique that will work in your case:
    https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?p=1176596#post1176596

    You're aiming to knock out a mask like this:
    knockout.

    Once you have that, re-open the hue/sat dialog box and turn the lightness down -100. That'll give you the black background

    Now control-click on the mask icon; that'll give you a selection of the background. Invert that so the subjects are selected. Open a blank layer and use a soft brush at low opacity (5% or so) and paint along the edge of the shirt, so that just the soft edge of the brush is overlapping into the selected area. White or very light blue will create the indication of an overhead kicker hitting the top edges of the shoulders. Paint more or less, depending on how much kicker effect you want to define the shirt edges.

    Masking the hair is a little trickier. When I made the initial mask (on the hue/sat layer), I just painted a clean edge all the way around, hair and all. But that won't look right, because the hair is frizzy or fuzzy in a few places. To fix that, I went back and used a very small brush, about 2 px, to create a ragged edge that would look like the original hair. I didn't strive for perfection, because this isn't for keeps (not for me, anyway). But that technique will work.

    I suggest doing this from "both ends," so to speak. That is, paint with black (on the mask) from inside the subjects to extend stray hairs outward. If you go too far, you'll begin to restore blue from the original background. At that point, switch to white and paint inward, from the background into the hair. Either way, you're making small, frizzy edges that will look like hair when you zoom back to a normal view.

    family2.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  7. snugelbune

    snugelbune

    313
    Mar 15, 2006
    NYC suburbs
    Thanks Peano, and don't worry 'bout

    Don't worry about that black on black thing...I really tried a million times over to get the mom to change her idea on that. The pictures she used as a reference were black and white (so big difference there) AND they were NOT black backgrounds!! I explained this to her but she insisted. Add that to the fact that she told me the room we'd have to shoot would be 18'X20' and it was more like 10X10, we were NOT working with a lot of room for creating a bit of separation just w/distance...oh well, live and learn. I like the lightening of the skin tones and the subtraction of the blue cast to the baby's skin (dad had the sunless tanner thing going which made him ORANGE and in trying to correct that, I think I got the poor baby looking like she'd been left in the freezer for an hour! So, I can definitely use your advice on the skin tones.

    Thanks for all your work, that's great.
     
  8. snugelbune

    snugelbune

    313
    Mar 15, 2006
    NYC suburbs
    Uncle Frank, you're awesome! Thanks

    The de-sat thing is fantastic, and yes, with the blue tones gone from the lighted part of the background, the whole thing takes on a much better look...less budget portrait that cousin George did for you and more something you'd want to print. Thanks!! I appreciate all the work you did, it's definitely something for me to work for. Yes, the drool from baby's face will have to go, but I haven't started editing out things like wrinkles and drool and the little bruise under the baby's eye...that will come, that I can do, so that will be done at the end! Really, though the desaturation of the back ground was a great tip, I'll use it!

    As for black on black, it was NOT my idea...like I said to Peano, I tried several times to convince mom to use grey or any other color than black...I didn't even have a black back ground (well, I had paper, but that would have been a nightmare) and had to get one quickly and the outcome was not much to my liking! Anyway, mom didn't know what she wanted as the shots she was using to show me what she wanted were NOT black backgrounds, but you couldn't convince her of that even if you'd shown her the original photographer's set up! That and some other things that didn't quite measure up when I arrived to set up the shoot...I won't re-hash...but you worked wonders, and I thank you!

    I'll try that on several of the other shots.
     
  9. snugelbune

    snugelbune

    313
    Mar 15, 2006
    NYC suburbs
    Oh my, Peano, you work fast!

    I just finished typing my first reply and then saw this...now that is fantastic!! Sheesh, don't know if I can duplicate your work, but I'm sure going to give it a go! Thanks for all the information on how when and with what...I'm definitely going to give it a whirl!

    Thanks very, very much!
     
  10. snugelbune

    snugelbune

    313
    Mar 15, 2006
    NYC suburbs
    Ok guys, I tried a little of everything from your posts and played with the dad/daughter (no mom) pic. It's now the first pic at the link from before--I'd be interested to know what you thought of my attempt.

    Peano, I think the biggest thing I did wrong while trying to use your advice was to merge the layers down...I couldn't go back and with the brush in (using the black or white depending on whether I was paining "in" or "out" for the hair) and so I was "stuck" using the history brush and regular brush (with color set to background) to try and "frizz up" the hair. I also tried using a gradient filter on the background to see how that looked...just slight...whatever way you look at it, it's better than before--I think. I left the "original" version of what I worked on up to make comparisons. Now, I need to do something about dad's fake tan orange glow and the baby's bluish tinge...and I do want to make the eyes a bit more striking as well, but those are things I know how to do. It was the background that was really getting me! Anyway, I think it is better, wow, what I learned today was a lot, and thank you both for all of your input. Again, any comments on my attempt at fixing would be appreciated. Now I'll start on the others I need to do this for...sigh.

    http://shutterbunny.smugmug.com/gall...7806#155888443
     
  11. Peano

    Peano

    248
    Jun 22, 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    I think what you did looks fine. And yes, it's a good idea not to merge layers. If the stack gets too tall, I just put them into groups. About Dad's face, you might already know this trick, but if not: Open a blank layer, change blend mode to color dodge, and fill with black. Then use a soft brush, about 2%-3% opacity, and paint with white on the face.

    dodge1.
     
  12. RayGuselli

    RayGuselli

    Oct 18, 2005
    Peano

    Some great work and help for us all here - excellent....as always....

    Best wishes

    Ray
     
  13. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Good work as usual peano:>)))))
     
  14. Great stuff Peano....
     
  15. Peano

    Peano

    248
    Jun 22, 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    Ray, Gale, and Mark ...

    Thanks very much. I appreciate it.
     
  16. snugelbune

    snugelbune

    313
    Mar 15, 2006
    NYC suburbs
    And I thank you BIG TIME!!!

    Peano, thanks, and no I didn't know a good way to get the fake tan off of dad's face, so your brilliant tutorial will help with that. A bit of a challenge getting a good mask but the click, shift/click thing made that SOOOO much easier. I never knew that little trick and it will save me a lot of time and frustration in the future.

    WOW, you guys are all awesome and the way you showed me as well as told me how to make the changes is help beyond anything I could have hoped for.

    Thanks very much!

    Michelle
     
Loading...
Similar Threads Forum Date
Advice needed: Removing people from close background Retouching and Post Processing Mar 9, 2015
Software For Background? Retouching and Post Processing Jul 13, 2014
Red River Paper link to ... Retouching and Post Processing Jun 26, 2014
How to remove the background in Photoshop Retouching and Post Processing Jan 11, 2014
photoshop Topaz background Retouching and Post Processing Jan 25, 2013