Need skin tone help please!

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coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185
Need skin tone help please!

Okay, I'm struggling. First, I edit with Elements 7, so I'm limited to RGB numbers. I know the green should be 20-30 points higher than the blue ... but when I add more green, they look too green. I've tried adding yellow (to make the blue less) and that isn't working either. I feel like my eyes are either playing tricks on me or I just don't get how these two should look.

It's not my favorite picture from the set, but it's one that my friend loves so I want to make it look really good. The whole picture is actually full body for both, but I just cropped to their faces for the purpose of skin help on this thread. Any advice is much appreciated, thanks!

Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture: f/3.2
Focal Length: 28 mm
ISO Speed: 400

IMG_9471 croppped web

mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

Not calibrated here Gwen--but their skin looks really bright. How high does your red value get? Especially on her hands, cheek, and chin. That will affect how the skin tones looks.

And like I said I'm not calibrated, but I see pink weirdness going on--I saw weirdness b/c while I see pink, they look a bit washed out, which may signal not enough red. But you should listen to someone looking at a calibrated monitor. Wink

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

Red is 242 on her nose, 250 on parts of her hand, 241 on her cheek (those are the highest numbers). But I think they look washed out too ... I can't add more red though, as those values are pretty high. So frustrating!

mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

Did you shoot in RAW? Could you re-open the RAW file and adjust the WB? Try clicking on her teeth with the white balance tool and see what it does to their skin--proper WB is all you need to get skin tones just right (you could also click on the whites of their eyes--but her teeth look pretty dang white!).

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

I did shoot in RAW, and opened it back up. When I use her teeth, I'm still getting nearly equal green/blue numbers. When I use her eyes, I'm getting better numbers ... but they look gray to me.

Here's what confuses me - when I use something white with the eyedropper in ACR, I tend to end up with overly cool pictures. So I try to find something more neutral (I read somewhere to try to find a point where the RGB numbers are equal, and the closer to 67/67/67 the better - not sure where that number came from). Anyhow, WB in ACR is something I'm really struggling with, and I can't wait to get a digital gray card!

mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

Gray cards are awesome. I never do a shoot without mine now! It was a total 'ah ha' moment for me with skin tones when I started setting a custom WB for each shoot. I have to make adjustments occasionally, but generally it's spot-on. It took all the guess work out of WB and skin tones!

Sorry this is giving you trouble. I know how you feel!

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

they're on a weathered bench, so I used some of the gray there for my eyedropper ... it was on the warm side, so I cooled it slightly. I've done nothing else (well, I removed the noise) but want to know if the skin looks any better here.

IMG_9471 web crop 2_filtered

mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

I do think it's better but something is off. I wish I were home looking at this on my mac! His skin bothers me more than hers--he looks ashen.

Hopefully someone who is calibrated can speak up soon.

Speaking of, it's so quiet around here! Not that I can say anything about that since I've been MIA for a couple of months, but still. Smile

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

yeah, I totally get what you're saying. It bothers me too. I just did a levels layer, and am playing some more. I'm fine with doing multiple adjustments, but don't want to spend a ton of time on this. I have another 20 from the set to edit, and the bus comes in 25 minutes, bringing noise and distraction to my house. Lol

And it's been way too quiet here!!!! I also posted this on ILP, but I rarely ever get replies there, even when I ask specific questions. (The exception was my thread about how to store fabric backdrops, I got a lot of replies there!)

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

okay, here's my final color edit ... I'm going to convert to B&W because I can't take it anymore. I did the husband's skin seperate here, I added some magenta since I couldn't really mess with the red. What do you think?

IMG_9471 5x7 copy web

EL2
EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

Uncalibrated here. Their skin looks super bright here on my monitor. I'll CC when I get home.

Joined: 03/15/09
Posts: 576

The skin looks really bright to me too. Especially their hands. :confused:

connorsmum's picture
Joined: 11/29/02
Posts: 1160

I agree that the skin is really, really bright. Perhaps bringing the brightness down will bring some of the colour back?

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

I lowered the exposure in ACR ... and that looks much better. But I thought I was done with this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ha ha ha ha

she likes the version I posted above ... but I want to get it right, will continue marching on.

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

okay, here's the exposure change and about the same edits.

IMG_9471 new web

EL2
EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

Edit is a lot better. But their skin tone looks grey/washed out. Maybe warm it up? Do you have the sooc for play?

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

here's as shot sooc ... you can get the original size from flickr

IMG_9471 sooc

thanks for having a play. I'm off to bed, I've been at these for too long!

EL2
EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

Here is my quick play. I am no expert on skin tone. But thought I'd play with the picture. They are a very lovely couple!

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

oh, they look nice! not gray Wink what did you do?

Joined: 03/15/09
Posts: 576

Nice play El! I like it!

Gwen - Your most recent is the best of your bunch, and although the brightness is better, I agree that it looks a tad cool now.

sadieruth's picture
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 6242

Gwen- as you know, I am no help, but I will say that your last edit, is good in my opinion.

EL2
EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

"coolmama72" wrote:

oh, they look nice! not gray Wink what did you do?

I was playing around with the selectve coloring. I remember adding a bit more red on their skin.