Exercise: Enhancement

This exercise explores the next level of intervention and allows you to make changes that many would say go beyond reality.  At the end of the exercise,  you’ll be asked to make up your own mind.

Note that an increasing number of image-processing programs offer local correction at the stage of raw conversion, often by means of an adjustable paintbrush. Where this is available, the size and the feathering (softening the edges) of the brush is adjustable.

Photograph a close up, head and shoulders portrait, in available or natural lighting, without using flash or any other photographic lighting. The face should be in shade, not receiving direct light, should be towards the camera and with both eyes clearly visible.

Prepare to make two selections, one at a time, each with its own adjustment. The first should be of the entire face, which you should adjust by increasing the brightness and increasing the contrast. The effect will to draw attention to the face. This is absolutely standard dodging, and your aim should be for it to appear natural.

The second selection and adjustment should be of the eyes only (limit this to the iris and pupil, not the eyelids or surrounding skin).
First, exaggerate the colour of the iris by increasing saturation and brightness. You may have noticed an increasing frequency in magazines and poster advertising, especially for make-up and other beauty products, for eyes to be brighter and more colourful.
Digital enhancement like this is one way of achieving the effect. Next, try changing the hue. Save both versions.

At what point between lightening the face for visibility and altering the eye colour do you consider that you have tampered with reality? Or, are you satisfied that all of this is legitimate?

For this exercise, I managed to get a quick photograph of my cousin, as he reluctantly allows me to take his photograph. It was approximately 19:00hr which meant that the sun was just setting, allowing me to snap a few photographs without any direct sunlight in the image. I asked him to stand against the garden fence, as this would stop any sunlight from behind causing any lens flare, however, he was taller than the fence, which meant that he had to bend down slightly.

Before I started this exercise, I decided  to have a read through my Practical Photography Magazines, as they have techniques and step by step guides on how to use processing software. I was unsure of how to change eye colour, and needed help to learn what tools I would need to use.

In July 2014 issue of Practical Photography, Tim Berry wrote an article and step by step guide to help brighten eyes. He writes ” Shooting a genuinely engaging portrait is no easy task. How do you convey personality, emotion or a whole story in one image? Well, as the saying goes, its the eyes that are the window to the soul…The eyes serve as main focal point of a portrait…They are the most important element”

I couldn’t agree more with this statement. The one thing I look at in a portrait is the models eyes. Its usually the first thing that draws my attention to the photograph or painting. I believe that the eyes are the key to a portrait, as they grab the viewers attention, which then holds you and makes you study the photograph even more, and you then begin to wonder what the story is behind the image. Making sure that you have clear, bright eyes is the main thing, as without these, sometimes the portrait may not have the same effect on the viewer.

I used two articles in two Practical Photography magazines, to help me learn how to alter eye colour, however, because my processing software was different to that it the magazines, I decided to research my Photoshop Elements 9 on google for more help.

I will include the magazine articles at the bottom.

Part One: (Adjust the Brightness and Contrast Only)

Original Image:

IMG_5378 - original copy

With a copy of this image, I opened it in Photoshop Elements 9. I made a duplicate background layer. I cropped the image as there was a slight line of light above the top of the image, where he was taller than the fence, even though he was bending down. I cropped it so the light was taken out, and cropped it so the image was in proportion (Cropped some of the right hand side out).

I then opened an adjustment layer with the brightness and contrast option. I adjusted the brightness and contrast of the image ever so slightly, just enough to lighten his face, but I didn’t want to cause any highlight clipping.

Working

Adjusted Image:

IMG_5378 - Brightness only

Part Two: (Increase the colour of the iris only)

First, exaggerate the colour of the iris by increasing saturation and brightness. You may have noticed an increasing frequency in magazines and poster advertising, especially for make-up and other beauty products, for eyes to be brighter and more colourful.
Digital enhancement like this is one way of achieving the effect. Next, try changing the hue. Save both versions.

I decided to take the image above which I adjusted to be lighter, as his eyes were dark, and I would have trouble selecting the iris area on the original image.

Original Image:

IMG_5378 - Brightness only

For the first part of this, I began by opening this image in Photoshop. I made a duplicate background copy. I zoomed into the left eye first, I then selected the quick selection brush tool. I used the brush tool to select the iris area, I then used the same tool to de-select the pupil section. This took me a while to use as it was so sensitive, and trying to select the iris was harder then it looked. Once I had selected the iris and de-selected the pupil, I then opened a new adjustment layer, and chose the brightness and contrast option. I adjusted the sliders until I was happy with the result. Once the left eye was done, I opened a duplicate background copy, then proceeded to do the same as above for the right eye.

eyes brightened

brightened before

brightened after

Adjusted Image:

IMG_5378 - Bright eyes

When looking at the results, you can definitely notice a difference. I prefer this version of the photograph. When I look at a portrait, the first thing I am drawn to as a viewer, is the models eyes. The adjustments made to the eyes were ever so slight, yet it has made a huge difference, and has made the photograph better.

In regards to whether or not this is a legitimate adjustment to the photograph, many may argue that because I have altered the original eye colour, it is not legitimate, and is infact wrong. However, the adjustments made to this image have only lightened the pupil area. They have not altered the colour of the pupil as such, as it is infact the same eye colour, only just a bit lighter. It has helped this image and I would argue that this is a innocent legitimate adjustment.

Second part of this exercise: Adjusting the Hue of the pupil

I took a copy of the brightened eyes photograph ( Image above ) and opened it in Photoshop.

IMG_5378 - Bright eyes

I began by making a duplicate background copy. I then used the same techniques as before. I zoomed into the left eye first, and used the Brush tool and selected the pupil whilst de-selecting the iris. I opened a new adjustment layer and chose the Hue and Saturation option. I then made sure the option of colorize was selected. I then began adjusting the colour, lightness and contrast. Once the left eye was done, I made a duplicate background layer and proceeded to do the same with the right eye.

I started with Green.

One green eye

Two green eyes

I have only altered the colour saturation slightly, as I wanted the pupils to look as realistic as possible, but I still wanted to make sure that the colour could be seen without having to zoom into the image. When it came to the lightness slider, I noticed that the left eye needed to be lighter than the right eye, as it was just a fraction in the shade.

IMG_5378 - Bright eyes - Green Eyes

I then chose Blue

One blue eye

Two blue eyes

IMG_5378 - Bright eyes - Blue Eye Colour

Final choice was Purple

One purple eye

Two purple eyes

IMG_5378 - Bright eyes - Purple Eyes

I only decided on three colours, as the possibilities are endless, and I could alter the pupils for every colour possible. I do enjoy doing this, even though it took me a while to get used to how the tools and layers worked. I have learned some new skills with this exercise, and I will definitely be using them again in the future.

At what point between lightening the face for visibility and altering the eye colour do you consider that you have tampered with reality? Or, are you satisfied that all of this is legitimate?

In regards to lightening the face for visibility purposes, I have written my opinion above. With regards to changing the eye colour, I am not convinced that this is a legitimate adjustment. I believe that it is innocent if you are altering your image for your own personal use, or for family or friends. However, I believe that if you intentionally alter the colour of the eyes, in order to market your image, sell your image, or promote a brand or product, then this is false advertising, and is infact fake. You have infact tampered with reality and it is not an innocent adjustment.

Overall Opinion:

I have enjoyed this exercise. I have learned a new skill that I was previously unaware of how to do. I am pleased with the results of the images. If there is one thing I could change however, is I would like to become better at using the brush tool to select the pupils, as I found this quite difficult as the tool was very sensitive to use, which meant that I have included some of the eyelid in the selection, leading to areas of the eyelid, slightly altered.

I did have trouble choosing whether or not to use the Lasso tool or the Brush tool. I found the lasso tool to be quite difficult, especially the magnetic lasso. It is something that I will try to use more of in order to gain more experience, as I believe that it could be a good tool to use in the future.

References:

  • Practical Photography Magazine. July 2014. Page 96-97

(Editing Suite-Basic Skills) Basic Eye Brightening Article By Tim Berry

  • Practical Photography Magazine. August 2013. Page 88-89.

Dramatic Portraits Article, By Tim Berry.

  • Photoshop Elements Changing Eye Colour. By David Peterson.

http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/1747/photoshop-elements-changing-eye-color/

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