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  #1  
Old November 1st, 2008, 06:18 PM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Default Challenge: Outdoor photo needs creative retouch? (WARNING Explicit nudity & fetish!)

Hi everyone,

Please be aware that this photo has a certain amount of bare skin showing on the woman portrayed. If you find it offensive, please close the thread. Do not be offended, but the challenge outlined here is probably not for you to work on...

My challenge is that my retouching technique is not up to par in order to get the large amount of foliage and branches cleanly out of the picture. The branches and foliage take away the viewers attention from the main subject, the woman in the fetish boots...

As goes without saying, copyright for the original and retouched work remains with undersigned.

I look forward to any and all questions and suggestions. I do appreciate the very professional input I have received so far on highlighting the subject of this photo, and on giving the proper balance to the connection between "Mother Earth" and this unusual model. If you are interested you can work on the posted image or I'll send you a large tiff file on request.

Rene-Frank Granaada

Before:



Indication of after:



* If you are a professional retoucher and would need to get paid, don't feel reluctant to involve yourself. If anyone feels that they have the matching skills and time to do this, please PM me sample(s) of your work (with before and after), so that I can choose for someone to help me out with this. If you feel that you need to attach certain conditions to your input, please let me know.

Last edited by Asher Kelman; November 1st, 2008 at 07:03 PM.
  #2  
Old November 1st, 2008, 07:16 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I think it might be helpful to let people who are not familiar with your work know that this work is part of a series in which you have removed "expressive, dominating" women from their normal interior surroundings and viewed them as part of not a man's world in the market of "Fetish" but rather in the natural world of mother worth.

These pictures are taken with a wide angle lens and distortion is created exaggerating and even caricaturing the women, but not I'm assured implying disrespect. To me it's almost as if René is trying to save them and replant them in fresh earth!

In any case, much of his work is devoted to natural things and this is manifest in his major work with Native American tribes. He has been privileged to be their guest over extended periods of time in which he has interviewed and photographer over 70 grandmothers. Some of the photography in this series I consider important an worthy of attention. We'' come to that later.

For now, we wish to see if we can help him past the physical technique. feel free to not follow the rough edit which I made following discussion over the phone with René. That is a crude sketch of what René has described as a circle of some freedom around the girl and the tree. So this to be used only as a rough guide.


Thanks for your participation. If you use a full size file from René and he likes and chooses your work, feel free to try to agree to some nominal payment! However it's not necessary to so that. Any ideas would be helpful.

Asher
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  #3  
Old November 1st, 2008, 08:48 PM
Kathy Rappaport Kathy Rappaport is offline
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Default I don't see it

I have studied these and in my opinion if you do much to the skin, you will distort the tattoo's color - the tone appears to me to have the golden glow you would want from a photo taken during a sunset. In a different setting, I might say otherwise but I really like this as it is. I don't find it degrading at all and believe me when I say I would be the first to yell.
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Old November 1st, 2008, 09:15 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy Rappaport View Post
I have studied these and in my opinion if you do much to the skin, you will distort the tattoo's color - the tone appears to me to have the golden glow you would want from a photo taken during a sunset. In a different setting, I might say otherwise but I really like this as it is. I don't find it degrading at all and believe me when I say I would be the first to yell.
Hi Kathy it's not the model rather the background foliage that needs removing as shown in my sketch in René's first post. The ideas is that there should be space around her and she would be encircled by sparse branches on either side with sky replacing much of the shrubbery behind her. At present, the complexity of the extra branches and mass of shrubbery detracts from what could be harmony between the girl and the tree.

Hope you might take a stab.

Asher
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  #5  
Old November 2nd, 2008, 09:28 AM
Kathy Rappaport Kathy Rappaport is offline
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Default Oh...

Now I see it...I only looked at the one edited image. PS edits are my weakest point....I'll leave this to those better skilled in masks, layers and blending ....
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  #6  
Old November 2nd, 2008, 10:59 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Hi Ben,

I also posted this in Retouchpro.com and here's a reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chillin View Post
Besides removing some things, I used few gradient patches.
http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a2...ml_chillin.jpg
Chillin,

Thanks for taking up the challenge. You can also post directly in OPF if you register.



I do like the clean result. The result is impressive a makes the form of the picture work I wonder about two things. First the edge of the bushes to the right might be softened by adding few branches from the lower left of the picture and flipping them horizontally. Would you think it would be more striking if we added a space below her right leg either removing that diagonal trunk and some somehow defining her high shoes against the background?

Thanks so much for being so helpful.

Asher :)
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  #7  
Old November 2nd, 2008, 11:46 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is online now
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Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Would you think it would be more striking if we added a space below her right leg either removing that diagonal trunk and some somehow defining her high shoes against the background?
Would probably be more practical to do that with respect to her right leg.

Best regards,

Doug
  #8  
Old November 2nd, 2008, 04:42 PM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Hi Asher,

I am getting used to how the photo now looks, it adds to focusing on the fetish model. Your last suggestions "the edge of the bushes to the right might be softened by adding few branches from the lower left of the picture and flipping them horizontally" is correct in my view, in order not to make the picture feel too "bare". As to "added a space below her right leg" I thinkremoving the diagonal trunk kind of uproots the tree, just the upper layer of the yellow rocks, leading to the left where the grey meets the boot seems better.

Rene-F. Granaada (maker of the original photo)
  #9  
Old November 26th, 2008, 07:24 PM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Default Before and after

Here are the results how the picture looks before and after it was cleaned up by Uros Slapnik, I think he did a tremendous job, and I hope that he will follow my advice and become a member of OPF, as I think he is very talented at retouching and repairing.

I am indebted to him.

Rene-Frank

Before


After
  #10  
Old November 26th, 2008, 08:26 PM
Rod Witten Rod Witten is offline
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As an aside, now that we have accomplished the Slapnik version (which is very good IMO), can someone tell me if there is positive connection between "Mother Earth" and the model? All I see is the contrast between Nature and the plague of modern humanity on the earth.
  #11  
Old November 26th, 2008, 08:29 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Hi René,

A much cleaner presentation! I like it better! Now some fine points.

  • The edge of the tree to the right should not be sharpened in the final file. One has to share out sharpness qualities and in general, important things are lit and sharper then environmental structures in which your subject is set. This is far from any absolute rule, but does follow how our brain perceives things. We can grant importance to objects that could eat us or provide sustenance or else new opportunities for reproduction.
  • The left edge of the bush on the right could have some of the fine structure of the tree in the distance on the left. Just a few wisps on the edge to soften it.
  • Now there's another challenge that is harder. That's the skin of the girl. One can use the dodge and burn tool to lessen folds and increase the dimensionality, as the light has not been gentle to her. Find out if he can do it.
  • Color of sky: Your choice is your taste. I wonder if its not so powerful that it takes away from the girl. I'd like other opinions.
  • Separation of the girl from the tree: one would like to see her a a separate dimensional figure in front of the tree. Now she still blends with what's around here. We don't want her to look like a cut out girl has been added to a landscape. Still she should stand as an individual physical being. Look at the Frank Doorhof photograph of the Irish Girl in front of the castle. Now, of course, she's so far in front of the castle and better lit. In fact someone complained about that, LOL! You have to obtain that separation in the very short distance you have. Dodge and burn tool and masking.
What files was this done with? Is this a high-resolution scan of film or is this from your Kodak 14N camera? In any case, did he work with the native files?

Great improvement. The point here is to end up with a far better print. More than that is to be able to plan a shot and sketch it noting things that are in the way of clash. It's obviously easier to plan than to correct. However, some of the most important photographers use touch-up artists!

Look at Fahim's post on Mount Everest. The Sherpa’s are always in front of the great heroic mountaineers who conquer the great mountain. In a way, lighting technicians, camera techs and touch up artists are the corresponding unsung heroes of a lot of great photography.

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; November 26th, 2008 at 09:07 PM.
  #12  
Old November 28th, 2008, 12:42 PM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Aher, advice taken.. we are working on it..more later
  #13  
Old December 3rd, 2008, 10:46 AM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Default colors for less distraction and more focus on the model

Here is a more final version I think, where I have played around with the channels in an adjustment layer, and tried to make the model stand out more from the tree and soften the outline of the trees to the right somewhat.

After



Rene-Frank
  #14  
Old December 3rd, 2008, 11:06 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rene F Granaada View Post
Hi everyone,

.......My challenge is that my retouching technique is not up to par in order to get the large amount of foliage and branches cleanly out of the picture. The branches and foliage take away the viewers attention from the main subject, the woman in the fetish boots...

I look forward to any and all questions and suggestions. I do appreciate the very professional input I have received so far on highlighting the subject of this photo, and on giving the proper balance to the connection between "Mother Earth" and this unusual model. If you are interested you can work on the posted image or I'll send you a large tiff file on request..........

Before:



Indication of after:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rene F Granaada View Post
Here is a more final version I think, where I have played around with the channels in an adjustment layer, and tried to make the model stand out more from the tree and soften the outline of the trees to the right somewhat.

After



Rene-Frank

Hi René,

I like your latest result. The considerable extra work seems to have paid off well. This is really getting at the essence of the picture. Are you satisfied we still have "mother earth" ? I think you do and there's harmony too!

Asher
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  #15  
Old December 3rd, 2008, 11:39 AM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Default Also trying working with Curves in PS

Hope to show the result of that later, the contrast should look slightly less "artificial".

That should address the issue of finding the right balance between harmony with and contrast to "Mother Nature".

More later

Rene-Frank
  #16  
Old December 3rd, 2008, 01:31 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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René-Frank,

You have a comment here too that you might want to look at.

Asher
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  #17  
Old December 3rd, 2008, 06:53 PM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Default here an even more tonally contrasted version through working with curves

I posted the comments in the "Retouching Pro Forum" about the ISO setting being low(est 160 ISO) for that model Kodak camera, but it is known that the software/firmware with those DCS Pro camera's produces a certain amount of noise.

Here is another version of the same photo produced through working with curves in R, G, and B.
I tried to avoid getting too much banding in the blue, by reintroducing some noise through a new adjustment layer in overlay mode, with a fill with overlay neutral color, 50% gray, and by adding a filter with (and experimenting with the amount of) noise in that layer (you can only see the effect clearly with a magnification of 200%).

Here is the result, it is quite stark.



Rene-Frank
  #18  
Old December 5th, 2008, 02:25 AM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Asher, For anyone whos has access to the thread at RetouchPro forum, here are some comments I wrote there with regards to some of "designsex" comments. It may help by providing some clarity as to my original intentions when creating the photograph...

Quote of designsex:

"had a little tinker with the image i didnt do much (my wacoms 8 miles away) and im sat on the sofa ... im not really sure about the image but the photo isn't really explaining it's self but i thought i'd get my hands dirty with you lot as im new hear .. and im expecting a lashing now

www.designsex.co.uk/touchy/screeny.png

id like to see this girl on a bike or a bonnet of a car ... i'd like to see a sweet girl against that tree with something more sinsear

but as always each to there own"

And here the main body of my comments:

Desingsex, hello, Rene here, I had a look at how you worked on the photo and how you cropped it. and it does not do for me what i set out to do when I took the photo... which is about the connection there is between every woman for the "eternal" feminine part in her to what Native Americans call "Mother Earth", whatever that woman's personal tastes in life... so, to put it simply, the picture has two subjects (actually 3 if you also count the dead tree, slightly symbolic for her decadence), and the nature is as much a subject in the photo as the model/woman with the fetish boots. If you crop it that much you lose that whole idea, and the landscape just becomes a "slightly" out of place backdrop for a fetish model. Besides showing the relationship, I also want to show the contrast, I did create a version with a much starker looking sky on OPF, where the original thread is located.
I know this is not all that simple but it is not meant to be a simple photograph...Maybe I am asking too much from the viewer, but this is the idea I meant to put into it.
  #19  
Old December 5th, 2008, 12:57 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by designsex

"had a little tinker with the image i didnt do much (my wacoms 8 miles away) and im sat on the sofa ... im not really sure about the image but the photo isn't really explaining it's self but i thought i'd get my hands dirty with you lot as im new hear .. and im expecting a lashing now

www.designsex.co.uk/touchy/screeny.png

id like to see this girl on a bike or a bonnet of a car ... i'd like to see a sweet girl against that tree with something more sinsear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rene F Granaada View Post
...... Desingsex, hello, Rene here, I had a look at how you worked on the photo and how you cropped it. and it does not do for me what i set out to do when I took the photo... which is about the connection there is between every woman for the "eternal" feminine part in her to what Native Americans call "Mother Earth", whatever that woman's personal tastes in life... so, to put it simply, the picture has two subjects (actually 3 if you also count the dead tree, slightly symbolic for her decadence), and the nature is as much a subject in the photo as the model/woman with the fetish boots. If you crop it that much you lose that whole idea, and the landscape just becomes a "slightly" out of place backdrop for a fetish model. Besides showing the relationship, I also want to show the contrast, I did create a version with a much starker looking sky on OPF, where the original thread is located.
Hi René-Frank,

I think the Designex' crop is not so severe that it would definitely take out the element of mother earth. However, that's up to you. One way of seeing this is to print the image large. Then, the earth may have it's own presence with less. Of course, I don't know, since we have not seen it. for sure, the size of the print alters the perception of things. For example, in Nathaniel's Washer Woman photograph, the Iconic stone arch formation of a woman apparently washing clothes in a large sink, can hardly be discerned in a small print. However, printed 6 feet hight, the figure would now be perhaps 10 inches tall and all the details could be clearly appreciated. With that, the image has a different value, especially to those who have not seen much of this natural monument before.

Asher
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  #20  
Old December 6th, 2008, 09:18 PM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Default This is how I want this photo to look....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Hi René-Frank,

I think the Designex' crop is not so severe that it would definitely take out the element of mother earth. However, that's up to you. One way of seeing this is to print the image large. Then, the earth may have it's own presence with less. Of course, I don't know, since we have not seen it. for sure, the size of the print alters the perception of things. For example, in Nathaniel's Washer Woman photograph, the Iconic stone arch formation of a woman apparently washing clothes in a large sink, can hardly be discerned in a small print. However, printed 6 feet hight, the figure would now be perhaps 10 inches tall and all the details could be clearly appreciated. With that, the image has a different value, especially to those who have not seen much of this natural monument before.

Asher
Asher, In hindsight I agree to some extent with regards to the crop, and I slightly adjusted the color, so here is as far as the concept goes, my "interpretation" of my own photo, this has been quite an experience for me, looking at my own work, through the eyes of others.... thank you everyone...

Rene-Frank


  #21  
Old December 16th, 2008, 02:53 PM
David Thomasson David Thomasson is offline
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Yet another version ... less is more? The tree branches looked a bit flat, so I added some light and shadow to round them out little. Put the bottom in shadow because I found the bright detail down there somewhat distracting.

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Old December 16th, 2008, 03:41 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Thomasson View Post
Yet another version ... less is more? The tree branches looked a bit flat, so I added some light and shadow to round them out little. Put the bottom in shadow because I found the bright detail down there somewhat distracting
Well, that's sure nice!

Best regards,

Doug
  #23  
Old December 16th, 2008, 04:29 PM
David Thomasson David Thomasson is offline
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Originally Posted by Doug_Kerr View Post
Well, that's sure nice!

Best regards,

Doug
Thank you.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 02:43 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Thomasson View Post
Yet another version ... less is more? The tree branches looked a bit flat, so I added some light and shadow to round them out little. Put the bottom in shadow because I found the bright detail down there somewhat distracting.


The one twig going into her head should be removed! Also could you try replacing the sky, yes against René-Frank's intuition, with a more agreeable sky. The strangeness from the sky shouldnt overwhelm the woman!

Asher
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  #25  
Old January 25th, 2009, 10:51 AM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Default present rendering of photo does not respresent theme of Wildflower series

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
The one twig going into her head should be removed! Also could you try replacing the sky, yes against René-Frank's intuition, with a more agreeable sky. The strangeness from the sky shouldnt overwhelm the woman!

Asher
I somewhat agree with Ashers comment on the sky, which is why I originally wished and still want a somewhat warmer looking sky. One more point pls for anyone working on this photo. Looking at the picture now, I feel that this is so far from the original picture that I had in mind where, no matter what the looks of the girl, she is still part of womanhood, with a connection to the warm (with some of the orange original glow from the sunset on the rocks) NM earth underneath her. That aspect has been totally lost in the way this photo has been altered/rendered, so starkly,thus completely ignoring the dual theme of the series (women AND nature), so sorry guys, but this not my photograph, unless you manage to give it back some of it's original warmth connecting the two.
Also the tree has become extremely barren.

René-Frank
  #26  
Old January 25th, 2009, 10:59 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rene F Granaada View Post
I somewhat agree with Ashers comment on the sky, which is why I originally wished and still want a somewhat warmer looking sky. One more point pls for anyone working on this photo. Looking at the picture now, I feel that this is so far from the original picture that I had in mind where, no matter what the looks of the girl, she is still part of womanhood, with a connection to the warm (with some of the orange original glow from the sunset on the rocks) NM earth underneath her. That aspect has been totally lost in the way this photo has been altered/rendered, so starkly,thus completely ignoring the dual theme of the series (women AND nature), so sorry guys, but this not my photograph, unless you manage to give it back some of it's original warmth connecting the two.
Also the tree has become extremely barren.

René-Frank
You're in charge,

You must specify, "don't lose the orange glow of the of the sunset on the rocks and reflecting on her". Next these can be put back! The sky anyway is not NM sky originally. no way that is any sky. So one cannot talk of nature here as a standard if the sky is purple/magenta.

For retouching, the photographer must control what's done.

asher
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  #27  
Old January 25th, 2009, 11:05 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rene F Granaada View Post
...One more point pls for anyone working on this photo. Looking at the picture now, I feel that this is so far from the original picture that I had in mind where, no matter what the looks of the girl, she is still part of womanhood, with a connection to the warm (with some of the orange original glow from the sunset on the rocks) NM earth underneath her. That aspect has been totally lost in the way this photo has been altered/rendered, so starkly,thus completely ignoring the dual theme of the series (women AND nature), so sorry guys, but this not my photograph, unless you manage to give it back some of it's original warmth connecting the two.
Also the tree has become extremely barren...
Hi René-Frank,

To be brutally honest, this has made me LoL in a sad way. I have been following this thread from the beginning and saw how it had gotten distorted along the way. Take this out, take that out, change this, change that.... I can tell you one thing, it is your art and only you can make it. It is not a community project, is it? Go back to the original and start from there if you need to. If not, leave it as it was, I've liked it as such. If you really need to change things, go back and reshoot. But whatever you do, follow your own artistic instinc and intent.

Cheers,
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  #28  
Old January 25th, 2009, 11:19 AM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post
Hi René-Frank,

To be brutally honest, this has made me LoL in a sad way. I have been following this thread from the beginning and saw how it had gotten distorted along the way. Take this out, take that out, change this, change that.... I can tell you one thing, it is your art and only you can make it. It is not a community project, is it? Go back to the original and start from there if you need to. If not, leave it as it was, I've liked it as such. If you really need to change things, go back and reshoot. But whatever you do, follow your own artistic instinc and intent.

Cheers,
Thanks Cem!

Yes, I agree, it is not a community project....
The color of the sky came out too artificial, I agree, but without the bushes on the upper right still in the photo (in a soft green version) it does not do justice to the original. Also this photo is to be printed large, and in a large printed version the woman is quite seperate from the (detailed) background....

Rene-Frank
  #29  
Old January 25th, 2009, 06:35 PM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
You're in charge,

You must specify, "don't lose the orange glow of the of the sunset on the rocks and reflecting on her". Next these can be put back! The sky anyway is not NM sky originally. no way that is any sky. So one cannot talk of nature here as a standard if the sky is purple/magenta.

For retouching, the photographer must control what's done.

asher
Dear Asher,

As far as I am concerned the version produced by Uros Slapnik which is visible on page one of the thread already represents the version that for me incorporates the changes that show the photo as to what might be a better rendering of the original. I am not looking to have anymore retouching done to have a better representation of the theme. And as far as prints go, I tend to go with Cem's comments, I am not convinced, that on a 24x30 inch print, as I own, that even the Slapnik version has my preference over the original... So Asher, as the photographer/creator I am in charge, I do not feel more adaptations are needed, and this is really all I want to say about it.

Thanks everyone for contributing.

René-Frank
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Old January 25th, 2009, 10:31 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rene F Granaada View Post
Dear Asher,

As far as I am concerned the version produced by Uros Slapnik which is visible on page one of the thread already represents the version that for me incorporates the changes that show the photo as to what might be a better rendering of the original. I am not looking to have anymore retouching done to have a better representation of the theme. And as far as prints go, I tend to go with Cem's comments, I am not convinced, that on a 24x30 inch print, as I own, that even the Slapnik version has my preference over the original... So Asher, as the photographer/creator I am in charge, I do not feel more adaptations are needed, and this is really all I want to say about it.

Thanks everyone for contributing.

René-Frank
René-Frank,

Reread. My admonition is for the entire path already taken, not the future! At each step on the way the photographer must have exerted constant control and direction. If not, the picture will always move off to other coordinates. That's simple.

We can only suggest and offer possibilities. There's a huge difference between "might" or "could" which is our job is and "must" or "should" which are limits you make clear all the way.

If you want to go backwards at any stage, or change directions, that's your choice but you are the one to give guidance and then take account and be accountable. That's the only way to use a retoucher.

Asher
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