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Retoucher
AKMac
Posts: 304
London, England, United Kingdom


https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21186335/Screen-shot-2013-04-07-at-07.35.52.jpg
How do you go about dealing with this everyday problem?
Apr 06 13 11:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Mike Needham Retouching
Posts: 369
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


I tend to deal with the extreme flyaways and anything on the extremities, if there are any obvious crossovers then those go to (only if they are distracting). My philosophy on the whole is - if the photographer didn't get a hair stylist, then the look was meant to be bed hair wink
Apr 07 13 02:15 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
AKMac
Posts: 304
London, England, United Kingdom


https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21186335/Screen%20shot%202013-04-07%20at%2014.08.53.png
Maybe the  previous examples weren't clear. How do you deal with the area where the edge of the hair meets the backdrop. No matter how well the hair has been done, this area always seems to be extra problematic.
Apr 07 13 06:15 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
A-M-P
Posts: 17,919
Orlando, Florida, US


I erase the area fully and draw new hair so it wont look fake.
Apr 07 13 06:20 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
FLEXmanta
Posts: 1,001
Madrid, Madrid, Spain


Personally I've had good results with the following technique. I don't even bother touching hair like that smile It never looks good and I will instantly render the story cheap and do bad for all the professionals involved.

Have a chat with the photographers and tell them that, if the hair is supposed to look messy, then the hair stylist should make it messy as hell. Then, if the hair is supposed to look perfect, then the hair stylist should do his/her job for it to be so.

A retoucher's job is not to finish the sloppy work of the rest of the professionals involved in a production. It's to provide what was impossible for the other professionals to achieve: The colour magic (and changing heads and limbs).

You have a good portfolio and are already in a position to demand things like these to prevent stomach ulcers and headaches.

Sorry for not giving an actual answer to the question you posted. I just thought this deeper thought was more important in the long run.
Apr 07 13 06:35 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
The Invisible Touch
Posts: 706
Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain


FLEXmanta wrote:
A retoucher's job is not to finish the sloppy work of the rest of the professionals involved in a production. It's to provide what was impossible for the other professionals to achieve: The colour magic (and changing heads and limbs).

You have a good portfolio and are already in a position to demand things like these to prevent stomach ulcers and headaches.

100% true

This is why sometimes we have to learn to either say no or at least open our minds

Apr 07 13 06:43 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
kane
Posts: 1,536
Biarritz, Aquitaine, France


FLEXmanta wrote:
A retoucher's job is not to finish the sloppy work of the rest of the professionals involved in a production. It's to provide what was impossible for the other professionals to achieve: The colour magic (and changing heads and limbs).

I respectfully disagree.  A retouchers job is to do what the client pays them to do, if they choose to take the job, even if it is fixing the 'sloppy work' of others.

In answer to the OP - Natalia Taffarel's hair retouching video provides very good techniques for great results.

Apr 07 13 07:01 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
FLEXmanta
Posts: 1,001
Madrid, Madrid, Spain


kane wrote:

I respectfully disagree.  A retouchers job is to do what the client pays them to do, if they choose to take the job, even if it is fixing the 'sloppy work' of others.

Of course. But the OP states in his profile that he's working towards reaching the higher levels of the industry.

Also, in editorial work, the client isn't paying you for the time you are working. They are paying you tearsheets, having a known model in your portfolio, perhaps a big magazine name and some money. 80-120€ per image is pretty much the standard rate for editorial work in Europe, and there's not much we can do now to change that because magazines set that rate, take it or leave it. That amount of money wouldn't even cover 1,5h of work at standard advertising rate or any other job that requires a quotation.

That is why, in editorial, we're not slaves! In editorial, we're not hired to clean up hair, we're hired to do things only we can do. Of course you can do them and base your career on cleaning hair... or you could glorify our profession, work with the people who will get you better jobs in the long run. Usually, top level employers do care about these details, but normally, in top level jobs, if hair is messy, it's supposed to be messy. Only sometimes we're required to fix problems when they f****d up during production.

Apr 07 13 07:45 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
AKMac
Posts: 304
London, England, United Kingdom


I chose examples that exaggerated the problem, but the question still remains - how do you deal with the transitional area where hair meets backdrop. Even when the hair stylist had done a magnificent job, this is an area where retouching work is often required, and it is often difficult and problematic.
I haven't got to the stage where I would feel comfortable in declining work because it involves difficult problem solving. And although I get the point about not being a slave etc, I actually get a lot of personal satisfaction from being able to deal with many problems. Unfortunately fixing hair edges isn't a problem I particularly relish, which is why I want to work on my technique and understanding to the point where I can deal with this sort of thing at speed and effectively. Ignoring it just won't do.
Apr 07 13 11:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
FLEXmanta
Posts: 1,001
Madrid, Madrid, Spain


AKMac wrote:
I chose examples that exaggerated the problem, but the question still remains - how do you deal with the transitional area where hair meets backdrop. Even when the hair stylist had done a magnificent job, this is an area where retouching work is often required, and it is often difficult and problematic.
I haven't got to the stage where I would feel comfortable in declining work because it involves difficult problem solving. And although I get the point about not being a slave etc, I actually get a lot of personal satisfaction from being able to deal with many problems. Unfortunately fixing hair edges isn't a problem I particularly relish, which is why I want to work on my technique and understanding to the point where I can deal with this sort of thing at speed and effectively. Ignoring it just won't do.

Well, then the best thing you can do is to cover all unwanted hairs with background and then paint new hair yourself in a more orderly manner and a narrower hair-background transition. Setting up the brush engine to control size with pen pressure will help, but don't abuse it. A tiiiiny amount of brush scattering will help make each hair less perfect (around 5-15%, depending on hair relative size). Make sure you use matching colours and layer different values of it. Rotating the canvas can help your wrist to do the strokes in the most natural way.

Choosing the right colours is the hard thing here. Make sure you pick a colour that is closest to the colour of the hair where it's thick, but takes into account the light wrap and transparency towards whatever colour the background it. Brush transparency will help you achieve a proper integration with the background, but pick your colour wisely, as the resulting background/hair colour mix doesn't come from using the eyedropper on the hair where it's populated. I normally eyeball a colour, then paint at around 80% opacity against the BG, and then fine tune the colour I chose. This is more important with blond hair. Opacity will help create the illusion of thinner hair at the same brush size.

Analyse how each little hair changes colour depending on how light shines through it or how it reflects the light source. After all, hair has subsurface scattering, just like skin, and is specular so it will act like a mirror sometimes.

Always remember noise is your friend. Add noise, abuse it! My print versions have so much noise that I can't use them for web, cause it'd be ridiculous. On paper they look amazing. My web versions do also have noise, but it's a little sharper and not as noticeable. The bottom line is that noise will help in disguising whatever hand painting business that took place in your retouch.

This is one of the things that pushes me to reject beauty jobs when I have a choice smile I hope you soon get to the point in which, if hair is messy, then it's probably meant to be so.

Apr 08 13 02:00 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
AKMac
Posts: 304
London, England, United Kingdom


Thanks for the above observations and advice. I've often used a similar approach, but you've taken it to a higher level. I guess the amount of noise is a trial and error thing, or are there rules of thumb?
Apr 08 13 08:27 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
FLEXmanta
Posts: 1,001
Madrid, Madrid, Spain


AKMac wrote:
Thanks for the above observations and advice. I've often used a similar approach, but you've taken it to a higher level. I guess the amount of noise is a trial and error thing, or are there rules of thumb?

Trial and error and experience. You really get to know your numbers once you see the results on the magazine after the whole offset process...

Apr 08 13 01:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
AKMac
Posts: 304
London, England, United Kingdom


One more question on the subject of noise - If you replace the BG with a solid colour or gradient, is there a good way of adding noise which matches that of the rest of the image? I have been just going by eye, and, if necessary resizing noise on an overlay layer if it is too coarse or too fine.
Apr 09 13 12:38 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Greg Curran
Posts: 204
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I still believe that most of the hair problems could be taken care of with a brush and some hairspray, thats why they are called stylists.  It is the same with poor fitting clothing, people always use the words, "they will fix it in Photoshop" instead of doing their job and having it correct from the start and creating an even better image.
Apr 09 13 05:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Joan Morgades
Posts: 311
Reus, Catalonia, Spain


FLEXmanta wrote:
It's to provide what was impossible for the other professionals to achieve: The colour magic (and changing heads and limbs).

I would like to know just a little about this!!. Is it possible?

Apr 09 13 08:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Oscar Partida
Posts: 729
San Diego, California, US


Joan Morgades wrote:
I would like to know just a little about this!!. Is it possible?

I think he meant that Sometimes you create one image from multiple files..example : maybe the arm looks better in image A, head the head looks better from image B, dress looks better in image C, and legs are better on image D'...so what you do is take the best pieces of each image and create one New image
Color magic is toning and giving a mood to an image in post

Apr 12 13 09:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,025
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


AKMac wrote:
Maybe the  previous examples weren't clear. How do you deal with the area where the edge of the hair meets the backdrop. No matter how well the hair has been done, this area always seems to be extra problematic.

Since I'm the one who does the retouching most of the time, I keep an eye on the hair (as well as the makeup) and have the stylist or MUA freshen things when possible.

When I have something like your example, with a solid background, I try to reshape the outline of the hair by cloning the background in place of the out-of-place hair. Generally I just clone away the worst of it, and I don't always try to make the shape "perfect," with no outlying strands of hair, because in many cases it would be obvious. Sometimes the Patch tool is also involved.

The trick is to work slowly on one area at a time, stop periodically and give that area a close look at various magnifications. If I'm satisifed at that point, I save the file. Then if at a later stage I feel I've gone too far in another area, rather than undo, I just close the file without saving it, reopen it and start that area over.

In one case the style was a round bun, much wider at the center than at the top and bottom of it. Kinda onion shaped. It was a portfolio shoot, and the stylist had to leave before the end of the shoot. After a while there was an area where, from a certain angle, the bun appeared to have been "mashed in." Fortunately the model had black hair and that area was on the shadow side, so it wasn't possible to see every hair.

In that case I used the Patch tool (and later the clone stamp) to fill in the mashed area and reshape the bun. Out of respect to the stylist, whom many consider to be the best hair stylist between Chicago and Las Vegas, I sent the photo to the stylist before sending it to the model. The stylist wrote back, "It looks just the way I left it."

It's really problematic when the background is something other than a solid color backdrop - like a building on a windy day, for example. There have been times when I just thought, "That would be a great shot except..." and moved on to the next one.

Some things just can't be fixed. At least not at the current level of my Photoshop skills. (I'm working on it.)

Apr 12 13 09:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Joan Morgades
Posts: 311
Reus, Catalonia, Spain


Oscar Partida wrote:

I think he meant that Sometimes you create one image from multiple files..example : maybe the arm looks better in image A, head the head looks better from image B, dress looks better in image C, and legs are better on image D'...so what you do is take the best pieces of each image and create one New image
Color magic is toning and giving a mood to an image in post

Thanks, Oscar wink.

Apr 14 13 11:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
TMA Photo and Retouch
Posts: 702
New York, New York, US


I usually end up using cloning or liquifying the edge of the hair to fix the unruly flyaways.

In your example I would judge where I wanted the actual hair line to be...somewhere within the green boundaries.  This would be the new edge where the hair and the background meet and transition nicely.  The new hairline is not going to be a straight line...it can curve with the flow of the hair.  I would mentally say that left of this line is head hair...and to the right of this line is the background.  I would sometimes clone to create this new hair line and have all the frizzies on the right be covered over with the background color or texture.  I can also do this with liquify too by freezing the hairline I want...and pushing and crushing all the frizzes into that hair line mask.   This gives me good hair on the head...a hard edge at the boundry...and the background color replacing most all of the frizzies. I might use the push tool to push all the frizzies against the freeze line mask so they all collapse into it.  Now, I end up with nice hair on the head, a new somewhat hard line defining the new edge, and nice background color...BUT...BUT...this edge is often too hard and too clean and too sterile to look real.  It looks like someone cut the edge with some sizzors or a razor.  So, to get that new hard edge to look somewhat real again...I have to add in a few well placed wisps or strands of hair at the edge that look nice and controlled and not like a rats nest. I just need a few strands of edge hair to make that hard edge look soft and natural again.   

Over the years, I have created several photoshop brushes of just a few hair edge strands.  These few strands of edge looking hair...when placed at the boundry...add back in the look of hair that has been styled and has only just the thinnest natural fuzzy edge to it...and not the unruly rats nest that was there.  Sometimes, these new edge strands need to be warped into place, and sometimes blended in, and sometimes they need to be color matched...so they look good like the real hair.  You can do that with a clipped curve layer to control the perfect matching.

So... I end up with a good head of hair...a hard boundry that has been softened with several manageable and controlled strands of hair at the edge... to make it look natural and real again. Easier said than done sometimes! 

Hair is sometimes very hard work.  Sometimes I leave it if I dont have the time or the will to put in all the effort.  Luckily I have saved some nice clean hair strands that I can re-use over and over again to add back that soft natural look to a hard clipped edge...so it looks natural again.  Its easy to have a bad hair day yourself if you work on things like this...LOL.
Apr 14 13 05:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Peano
Posts: 4,106
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


May the Lord deliver us from the "high end" people who make such a grand aesthetic project of this. It's a simple problem simply solved: 1) Paint over the frizzies. 2) Paint in a cleaner hairline. That's ALL there is to it.

http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af171/retouch46/Forums/hair2-1_zpsf5665b1e.gif

http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af171/retouch46/Forums/hair1-1_zpsa4c932a3.gif
Apr 14 13 06:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
AKMac
Posts: 304
London, England, United Kingdom


Peano,
I agree that what you've outlined is the fundamental principle, but 90% of the effort is in refining this approach to make it work visually, to be perfect and to stand up to scrutiny. I don't agree that "that's all there is to it"
Apr 15 13 11:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Peano
Posts: 4,106
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


AKMac wrote:
Peano,
I agree that what you've outlined is the fundamental principle, but 90% of the effort is in refining this approach to make it work visually, to be perfect and to stand up to scrutiny. I don't agree that "that's all there is to it"

When I said that's all there is to it, I didn't mean to suggest that the process was quick or effortless. But regardless of how much time, effort, and skill you put into it, the technique is to paint over the frizzies and draw in a new edge. That's literally all there is to it.

Apr 16 13 05:18 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Peano
Posts: 4,106
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


dp
Apr 16 13 06:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Julian Marsalis
Posts: 1,191
Austin, Texas, US


Looks for the magic fix hair button...
Apr 16 13 07:10 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Kristiana-Retouch
Posts: 287
London, England, United Kingdom


Peano wrote:
May the Lord deliver us from the "high end" people who make such a grand aesthetic project of this. It's a simple problem simply solved: 1) Paint over the frizzies. 2) Paint in a cleaner hairline. That's ALL there is to it.

+1
In my head I separate this in 3 parts:
1) paint/clone/make proper background over frizzy hair (making new hairline)
2) draw proper hair strands to put back frizzy hairline the way it should be according to new hairline (making it realistic)
3) masking where needed

Apr 16 13 03:37 pm  Link  Quote 
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