Gimped! is finally getting fixed. I'm very sorry it has taken so long, but I promise I will explain the long story once I get it running again. Please be patient as I re-build the site to be better than it ever was. Thanks everyone!
This is the photo that I use in this tutorial. Feel free to use it to practice.
How not to do it
I’ve seen several (and I mean several) tutorials on how to retouch skin using Gimp, but I have never once found a lesson that produced a result that I was happy with. Most of them ended up making an image by duplicating the layer, blurring it, and then masking off what they don’t want to blur. Sometimes they’ll get “fancy” and they will make use of the clone stamp to get rid of the zits first, but I have never seen someone use this method and create a genuinely good skin retouching result. Here is an example of this simple method, and as you will see, It’s not very good.
The right way to do it using Gimp
As always, my ultimate goal when editing any photo is acquiring absolute control of what matters. In the this example, you’re able to remove some of the blemishes and other unwanted features of the skin, but in the process you are blurring out every shadow, pore, and any other feature as well. If you could directly remove features without sacrificing other facial features, you’re good to go. That is exactly what this process does.
How it Works
In the Photoshop and Photography realm, the method I’m going to show you is often called Frequency Separation. What happens with this method is you end up with 2 layers, a “color” layer and a “texture” layer. Each of these layers do two very different, but very important things. The texture layer defines all of the edges in your photo, but lacks any color information while the color layer defines all of the color in your photo, but it lacks any edge information. Together, these two layers create an identical copy of your image, but they separate the edge data and the color data, allowing you to control what matters when it matters. With this extra control, you will be able to create a much more desirable result, like what you see here.
Gimp Video Tutorial – Retouching Skin Using Gimp
In this gimp video tutorial for photographers, I’m going to show you how I removed blemishes using gimp using the image shown above.
This is the photo that I use int his tutorial. Feel free to use it to practice. (Credit, Maria Amanda)
How not to do it
I see great photos get poorly edited like what you see to the right fairly often. This is usually because the person doing the edits used a quick method of “enhancing the eyes,” but it never looks very good. Hover over the image to the right to compare the original to the final version.
This alien-eyed look is popping up in more and more “professional” photos each day. You see, in most online photo editing lessons, when people say “how do I make my eyes look cool like the other photographers?” everyone defaults to the dodge/burn tool, used in the example shown here. They default to this tool because it is the fastest way to make your eyes “pop out,” but it really doesn’t create the most realistic results. Why? Because the method that they are using is not amenable to tweaking. almost everything is done on a single layer, and making adjustments later does nothing but further destroy the data on your image. My first recommendation to anyone touching up photos? Put the dodge/burn tool down, and never touch it again. Even if you get good at using it, and truly master the art of editing eyes using this tool, it will never be the most robust way of doing this.
The right way to do it using Gimp
In this example, you’ll notice that the enhancements are much…much more subtle. They are subtle because I was able to adjust my image until I got the eyes to look exactly like I wanted them to look by simply adjusting the opacity slider on a few layers. Here’s the really cool thing though…I can make changes to these eyes far beyond what the dodge/burn tool can do, and I can do it in minutes. If I wanted to make the eyes brighter, it’s a simple adjustment. If I change my mind and want to make them darker again, it’s the same simple adjustment! Below are 4 more variations of the eyes of the same image shown above. It took me literally…literally 1 minute to make the tweaks on all 4 of these photos, and that includes the time spent exporting each file!
Gimp Video Tutorial – Editing Eyes using Gimp
In this gimp for photographers lesson, I’m going to teach you how to edit eyes using Gimp. We will rely on layer modes, layer masks, layers, and the IWarp filter to do this in a very robust manner. Here’s the general process that we’re going to do:
Duplicate our background layer
use IWarp to transform the shape of our eye
use a collection of layer modes to modify the color and brightness of the eye.
This Gimp Video Tutorial talks about a very cool discovery I recently made while writing my upcoming book on layer masks. I was digging through Gimp’s documentation, and discovered exactly how Gimp looks at colors to determine how light or dark parts of any image is when you desaturate it.