This is my base image for this exercise, an Image of Shellie Marie taken at the studio workshop. This is a jpeg rendered from the base RAW file with no processing done other than the base conversion to jpeg.
Step 1 Imperfections
Step 1 is to remove all the imperfections and blemishes from the skin. Shellie is a great model and has really good skin so there is not too much to do, I did take the liberty of removing the nose piercing and removing the scar from an old lip stud as well as removing any other small imperfections ans scars.
Step 2 Skin Smoothing
For the skin smoothing I have developed a technique that does not turn the skin into plastic or melted candle wax. to do this I add back the texture of the sking using a high pass method that works like this:1 Duplicate the image layer and change the blend mode to overlay2 Invert the blend layer with Ctrl I
3 Add a high pass filter set to 10
4 Add a Gaussian Blur set to 3.7
because of the invert the filters appear to have the opposite effect so the high pass filter smooths and the Gaussian Blur brings back the texture. then you add a black mask and paint the layer back only on the skin avoiding the eyes nostrils and mouth.
Step 3 Lighten the iris
To do this i use a levels adjustment layer. I use these a lot I am not going to adjust the levels just change the blend mode. so for this I change the blend mode to screen which makes the whole picture much lighter.I then add a black mask so that the picture returns to normal and paint white into the mask only over the iris.Shellie looks a bit freaky like this but I have not finished yet there are still a few more steps.
Step 4 Darken the Pupil
I used a similar process here I added a Levels Adjustment Layer and changed the blend mode this time to Multiply.This darkens the whole image, however I need really black pupils so I nudge the dark slider in the levels control a little to make the image darker.When I am happy that the pupil is dark enough without loosing the detail I add a black mask and paint white over the pupils to revel darker pupils.
She still looks a little possessed but we are going to add some details and tones to make her look better in the next few steps.
Step 5 Darken the Iris outline
In this step we are going to emphasize that lovely dark outline Shellie has around her iris.To do this I first create a levels adjustment layer switch it to multiply and darken it down as with the pupil.Next I use the elliptical selection tool to select both irises, this is made easier with the space bar that allows you to move the current selection and the shift key that allows you to add the second eye have a play you will see what i mean.
once selected I use the selection modify menu to add a 3 pixel feather to the selection.
Remember we did this selection on top of a masked out levels adjustment layer that turned the image very dark so when you hit the delete key it will remove the black mask from your selection and you will have two black discs over her irises with a nice feathered edge. do not deselect this yet. use the select modify menu to contract the selection 5 pixels switch the selected colour to white and hit delete again and it will put back the black in the iris leaving a ring of black around the iris.
Now in this image her iris in both eyes is slightly covered by the lid so we must paint black back into the mask to remove the parts of the circle that extend into the eye lids. sometimes you need to do this top and bottom.
Lastly its a bit dark now so change the layer opacity to about 70% this can vary depending on what looks best when you do it.
Its looking better but its still not quite right so next we will add some more detail.
Step 6 Adding Dark Detail to the Iris
This step requires a special brush, I have a set of eye touch up brushes that came with a Photoshop retouch book. the one I used here is a circle of little dashes radiating out from the center.To use this I created a levels adjustment layer and set the blend mode to overlay. This darkens the image but keeps the detail underneath more than multiply.I masked it out with a black mask then used this brush to paint the lines in on the iris.
Step 7 Adding Light detail to the iris
For this the process is repeated except that the brush is rotated 5 degrees and the blend mode is set to screen to lighten the effect.Once the two layers are in place you need to change the opacity of the two layers so that the end result is not too harsh, in my case the light layer is at about 60% and the dark layer is around 47%
Step 8 Whiten the Eye
The next step is to lighten up the eye white, in Shellie’s case she has no unsightly red veins in this image so its a simple lightening.This is done with a levels adjustment layer set to screen then lightened severely. this will be way to much and she will look like an alien but I will take care of this in a moment.
Add a black mask and paint in over the whites of the eyes, then change the layer opacity until the effect is more natural. Get this wrong and she looks like something out of StarGate.
In this image I actually blended two of these layers to lighten up the shadow cast on the white of her eyes by her lashes.
We are almost there, the thing that is annoying me at this point is that the shadow over her eyes is too dense.
Step 9 Lighten the whole eye
For this I just added a levels adjustment layer and used it as designed rathe than change the blend mode I simply lightened it until the eyes looked right.of course the rest of the image looked rubbish so I masked it out in black and painted in white with a soft brush with its opacity set to 10%.
By continually painting over the dark parts I wanted to fix and avoiding everything else the image ended up as shown here.
This is very nearly the final image but I need to do one more thing.
Step 10 The final Crop
So here it is the final image all i did in this step was crop the image to a size and shape that I found more pleasing as a composition.
The question in the module is at what point do I think that lighting the face and changing eye colour becomes changing reality.
My honest opinion is I don’t care! as soon as I took out the nose piercing, removed the scar on her head and took out the scar from the lip piercing I changed reality. Shellie has a dimple on her lip from a lip piercing, i removed that in step 1, at this point it is no longer a documentary picture of Shellie, but its not meant to be, ask Shellie which she prefers.
My answer is yes I tampered with reality from the get go no I have no moral dilemma about that I DON’T CARE, I try to make art if I was a painter or sculpture, this would not be a question. This image is useless as evidence in court to prove that Shellie has never worn jewelry through her lip built I did not take it for that. Its a studio image to produce a picture of what society deems to be a beautiful woman, and in no way will I open that can of worms.
at the end of the day I love the image of Shellie and so does she. If I display this or enter it in club competitions people will judge if they like it or not and the best thing about western society is that they are all allowed and opinion and I defend their right to hate my work.