Imagenomic’s Portraiture 2; Digital Retouching Plug-In Page 2

With this image I could have used Portraiture 2’s controls to totally remove all of the model’s blemishes and produce an image that looked great, but to my taste was over-retouched. Because I prefer a photograph that looks as natural as possible, you might want to use the plug-in’s Output controls and apply the retouching as a new layer. As a separate layer you can then selectively erase or change layer opacity level settings (maybe both) to blend the retouched with the original background layer image in Photoshop.

For the Imagenomic retouched photograph, they ran Portraiture with the settings shown in this screen capture, creating a new layer with a transparency mask. Then they used a black brush on the layer mask to delete the model’s clothes from the layer and added a hue/saturation layer for color correction.

Most of the time this is the approach I use, but for this image I chose what was behind door number three. I applied a natural-looking retouch using the “Smoothing: Normal” preset and made some additional tweaks with the plug-in’s Feathering, Opacity, and Fuzziness sliders. This left a few skin blemish areas softened but still visible, which I then retouched outside the plug-in using Photoshop’s Healing Brush and Clone Stamp tool. This final touch produced a look that I liked, but the joy of Portraiture 2 is that you can instantly see all changes in the Preview window and apply as little or as much retouching as you prefer.

Because there is no single one way to retouch a portrait I gave my “before” image to Imagenomic and asked them to retouch it. They took a completely different approach: they first removed the two pimples using Photoshop’s Healing Brush and then ran Portraiture, creating a new layer with a transparency mask. Then they used a black brush on the layer mask to eliminate the model’s clothes from the layer and added a hue/saturation layer for color correction. The Imagenomic representative went on to say “Portraiture and Portraiture 2.0 are designed to improve skin tones and work within the parameters and details provided in the original image. It is not designed to add detail where detail does not exist in the original image.” You should be able to see the difference between the original photograph and both my and Imagenomic’s version of my test file, but that is far from the only interpretation that is possible because, like any digital effects, digital retouching is subject dependent.

The most important concept to keep in mind is that creating a portrait is not like baking a cake. It’s a good idea to start with a recipe; when baking an angel food cake you may begin with a cup of cake flour but portraits start with a completely different base, so you’ll need a tool that’s flexible. Imagenomic’s Portraiture 2 is a dream to use and its $199.95 price tag will pay for itself with better-looking portraits and happy subjects. As with all Imagenomic products, a trial version can be downloaded and used free on a 15-day trial basis without watermarking, so you can try it on your own images. And that’s the best test of all.

For more information, contact Imagenomic at: www.imagenomic.com.

Joe Farace is the author of a self-published book titled “How I Photograph Women,” which is available through the Bookstore of www.blurb.com.

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