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I’ve recently been given the task of creating new avatars for the team at James Good. It’s the kind of thing we want to get just right in order to produce a consistent set of images we can use to represent ourselves proudly. Once I take the image that ticks all the boxes and captures the person’s personality, it’s time to retouch and make any enhancements I think necessary.
With portrait retouching it’s really easy to take it too far and create a fake looking photo. Despite the work that went into this example, it’s looking good. The overall ‘before’ and ‘after’ really shocked me! To begin with I made all the obvious tweaks and adjustments like correcting skin tone and removing any distracting blemishes. Because Ed forgot his hairbrush, I had to spend a little time painting out all the flyaway hairs in the photo. Looking at the photo, I noticed that the background wasn’t as bright and colourful as it had been earlier in the shoot. So I took a section of an older photograph where the background was brighter and found a way to blend it in successfully with this image. Again, I tried not to take it too far but it helped give the photo a nice splash of colour to pick it up.
The next step in the retouching process was to open up his eyes and give him a smile. My initial plan was to somehow pull parts of his face around to force his eyes open. It was apparent pretty early on that it wasn’t working, so I found another image in the set where his eyes were nice and wide-ish. I then took these eyes and worked them into the photo, making sure they looked realistic. Having so many photos taken at the exact same angle made it easy to do this accurately. I used the same method for his mouth, although I didn’t exactly succeed in finding a smiley Ed, but with changes as drastic as this you have to be subtle in the way you integrate it into the image. The smallest nudge of an eye could make him look completely alien!