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The Accurate Reproduction Of Skin Tones - part 4 of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

by Mike McNamee Published 01/06/2005

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Under coloured hats

Too close to green foliage

Too close to brightly coloured garments

Avoid ladies cheeks if a blush foundation has been used

Good places to test are just above the cleavage and the upper forearms of the dominant light side of the figure.

In reality this is just the starting point. The Lab a;b values are then measured and checked against the chart to ensure that we have not been fooled by surrounding colours in the image (they are important though, and have to be considered).

If a boost to the colours is desired the RAW file can be reprocessed. The saturation slider in the RAW processor is proportional, that is the higher the start saturation the bigger the amount added when it is boosted. For example a 30% saturation becomes 40% with a +50 but a 60% saturation is lifted to 100%. The table below shows the major points:Chart

Thus for a modest boost, typical for "improving" a Caucasian flesh tone, a saturation increase of 10% would be appropriate and need a +25 to +30 point setting. Experience should tell you your values after some experimenting. Remember that the lighting ratio in the studio or overall scene contrast outdoors will affect this judgement.


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Adjusting the Image

The most serious weakness of RAW files is the paucity of colour measurement numbers available as you tweak the handles. Whereas in Photoshop itself you can have RGB, CMYK, Lab or HSB, in RAW you are stuck with RGB, the least useful of all! This forces the photographer away from finalising adjustments in RAW to using Adjustment Layers in Photoshop. We recommend Adjustment Layers rather than straight image adjustments so that you can blip the correction on and off to prevent colour fatigue and chromatic adaptation conning you. As you will see later it also opens up the possibility of selective colour corrections of both colour range and in different parts of the image.


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1st Published 01/06/2005
last update 06/11/2019 11:04:11

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