Uninformed Comment

Photoshop glamour tips

Posted in Humour, Photoshop by uninformedcomment on January 16, 2010


with guest columnist

Doctor Clonebrush

In my line, I have been privileged to work on glamour shots of many famous Hollywood starlets – see my separate article, Searching with Google Images, for tips on how to get into this field.

As you may know, there is an art in taking a so-so photograph and giving it that “Hollywood treatment”, and this article is here to share that art with you, the humble reader.

The original

Often, the photograph you download shows the starlet in a less than flattering light, but a few simple steps can transform a mundane snapshot into a top-quality “glamour” picture that the starlet would undoubtedly be delighted to see, if they ever saw it.

In this tutorial, we shall be giving this photograph of well-known actress and archeologist Angelina Jolie the “Hollywood treatment”:

This shot is far less than perfect.  Note the wrinkles around her mouth, the cluttered background, the many visible skin pores and warts, not to mention the rather washed-out lighting.  Poor Angelina needs our help!


1. A “blue sky” background

We’re going to whisk away Angelina from the ugly TV studio and place her under a serene blue sky, the better to show off her beauty.

With a sky blue colour (I used #40BEEE), paint around her head to create your sky.  Use a soft brush near her hair to retain its springiness:

Again, be careful not to blot our too much of her hair. You don’t want her to end up looking like Sinead O’Connor!


2. Whiten her teeth

Next, we turn to her teeth, and do what her dentist apparently cannot – obliterate all traces of her nicotine-and-red-wine lifestyle.

Select a nice white (I use #FFFFFF, but see also the post about Overclocking Photoshop Colours for how to get #GGGGGG) and gently brush over any blemishes, stains, chipped enamel and cracks:

There!  Just like pearls!


3. Brighten her eyes

I bet you’ve been wondering when we’d get around to her eyes.  Yes, they’re a curious, dead, grey, devoid of life and joy.  We must do something about this.  Let’s make them sparkle with glee!

Carefully select the irises using the “magic wand” tool, and then increase saturation to bring out that colour.  Feel free to adjust the hue also; in this example, I’ve given her a little more blue to reflect that sky:

Notice how her eyes now match her earrings.  Angelina may have forgotten to colour-coordinate that morning, but no matter – with the wonders of digital photomanipulation, we can correct her mistakes.


4. Ruby-red lips

Now to bring out those gorgeous, pouting lips.  Use a hard brush in Quick Mask mode to select her lips, then increase the saturation and play with the hue, just the same as with her eyes.  Well, not quite the same – we made her eyes blue, but we want her lips to be red:

Special tip: don’t forget to select only her lips.  Do not select her teeth as well, because they should not be red.


5. Touch-up her skin

Next we need to deal with those ugly skin pores, that pockmark the poor lady’s face, and give her skin a sheen and lustre befitting a Hollywood starlet.  We can also obliterate those “laughter lines” that make her look so old.

Select the clone tool, and carefully dab away at unsightly spots and creases, until you’ve achieved a smooth finish.  Pay special attention to the eyes, cheeks and turkey-neck, and don’t stop until the last blemish has been spirited away:

There!  She looks thirty years younger already, don’t you think?

But we’ve not finished yet.  I don’t think Angelina would be satisfied if we left it there.


6. Soft focus

Lastly, use Quick Mask, your brush and eraser to select all of her head except the eyes, ears, nostrils and mouth.  Then use Gaussian Blur to give her skin the “soft focus” look, as seen in countless romantic films like Educating Rita and Saving Private Ryan:

Finally, our work here is done, and Angelina is transformed from the hungover has-been in the original photo into the silky heart-throb she was in Tomb Raiders by Eidos!


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