Cinematic Retouching Deep Dive: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

Cinematic Retouching Deep Dive: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace


Hi everybody welcome to another episode of Exploring Photography right here on AdoramaTV, I’m Mark Wallace and in this episode we’re going to revisit some post-production I did in an episode a few weeks ago, because I sort of got into a little bit of trouble because I didn’t show what I did. So I made this, ah really interesting video about emotional portraiture but because we didn’t have enough time, I didn’t show all of the post-production and instead I just smashed it all together and showed this really quick video clip and a lot of people have written and said “hey what the heck? Can you slow that down and show us what you did step-by-step?” And so first let me just show you this clip that got me into all the trouble. These images look great, straight out of the camera but they look even better with a few Lightroom adjustments, I took them to the next level by jumping over to Photoshop and doing some skin retouching and then I took them over to the Nik software collection specifically Analog Efex Pro 2, to add some texture. Now while I was in Analog Efex Pro 2, I discovered that the images, because of the color contrast, well they just lend themselves to all kinds of fun and so once you shoot your images like this, try some post-production to see the different effects you can get by just using the presets in Analog Efex Pro 2, you can get some startling results and it’s free software so why not play. I created my own Custom Preset and here are my results. Alright well I sort of liked the clip because it was fast based and it had some groovy music but so many people have written to me and asked me to slow it down and show the steps. Now the steps involve Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik software, specifically Nik software’s where a lot of people wanted to know a little bit more because one of the issues with Nik software is its destructive. Once you make changes to an image it sticks and then you can’t go back and change it, except there is a way to make it non-destructive, where you can make changes to see if you like them or not and if not, to go back, reverse it and make small minor changes, but that requires a jump through Photoshop and so that’s what I’m going to show you. I’m going to go back and revisit all the retouching that I did on those images but I’m going to show you the step by step process, so you can apply this to your post-production. So let’s hop in, right now we’re going to be using a technique called round-tripping and this is going to allow us to repeat our process, so if we have future photo shoots who want to do this all over again. We can repeat everything we did in the past. It’s also going to allow us to do non-destructive editing, so if we change our mind about how we’ve done something, we can always go back and change things to the original file without doing any damage. This is a four step process. We will begin in Lightroom, we’ll do our color and tonality changes, then we’ll hop over into Photoshop. In Photoshop we’ll do some basic skin retouching and then take our image into Analog Efex Pro 2. In Analog Efex Pro we’ll use a preset that we can use over and over. We’ll do some custom tweaking, then we’ll go back into Photoshop to save our image, which will then take us back into Lightroom where we can do our final Tonal Corrections, Color Corrections, Cropping and adding advent yet. So let me show you how all of these steps work together, you’ll notice in our final edited images they start out as .DNG files, this is what comes out of my camera, but they end up as Photoshop files. That’s one of the by-products of the round-tripping that we’re going to go from Lightroom over to Photoshop, to Nik back to Photoshop and then back into Lightroom. So they start out as one file form, at the end as a different file format, but because of the way we’re doing this, that’s okay, it’s still non-destructive. We can go back in the future and fix everything up or change things if we want without damaging anything, so what I’m going to do here is; I’ve selected two images and these haven’t been retouched at all, so we’re going to take this first image, we’re going to do all of our processes, all of our four steps and we’re going to do that a little bit slowly, so you can see exactly what’s going on and then really, really rapidly, what we’re going to do is, we’re going to apply all that stuff to the second image, so you can see how we can repeat our process and once we have it set up once, we can do it over and over again very, very quickly. So let’s start with step one. We’re going to go into Lightroom’s develop module. Remember we need to do our Color and Tonality changes and so I’ve already spent a lot of time figuring out all the values that I’m going to be plugging in here, so I’m going to be going through this to save time pretty rapidly, but normally you would take some time to adjust things. The first thing we want to do is we want to change our Color Temperature and our Tonality. Remember we want this blue background to really play with the warm colors, the oranges and the yellows and the reds in Nikki’s hair and clothes. So what I’m going to do here is just to take this Color Temperature down to 3000 Kelvin and then I also know that there is a shift here in our tint and so I’m going to make that 24. Again this took me a little while to figure this out but there we have that blue, really starting to pop. Now what we need to do is, we need to fix our Tonality, so the exposure here, I’m going to take that down by a just over 1/3 stop so -0.35 then I’m going to adjust the blacks down to about 44. I usually start with the exposure and the blacks just to start getting contrast, to know where I need to fix things. Now that the blacks are down this far, we’re going to start to see our shadows becoming blocked up so I’m going to open up those shadows to about 34 which is just about opposite of what we did with the blacks, then our highlights need to be fixed just a little bit so we’re going to take those highlights up to about 31. Remember I’ve played with this over time, so normally I would take some time, to sort of, fiddle with this and see exactly what I want to do. The other thing I want to do is take the Clarity Slider, I’m going to bump that up to about 16, just a little bit more clarity something I wouldn’t normally do with the portrait, but these will you want them to be gritty and really sort of clear, so we’re going to do that here. My default Vibrance is set to plus 15 for this camera so normally you might have to increase that, but that’s nice and vibrant. The other thing we want to do, remember there’s a background here, this blue background, we really want to play with that. The nice thing is in our Saturation Slider here on the HSL we can take that and we can just take this blue slider, take it left or right and you can see, we’re just affecting that blue background, so I’m going to take that up to +38 to really make this blue background punchy. Okay we have done all we need to do in Lightroom. We have done our Color and Tonality fixes. Now we want to do some effects. We want to add some grain and some grit and even more clarity to this, so to do this, what we want to do is do it in a way that we can recreate it and make it non-destructive, so instead of going straight over into Analog Efex Pro 2, we’re going to go into Adobe Photoshop CC 2018, so I’m going to click on that and then this is going to open up in Photoshop. We’re going to give that a second to do that, okay now we’re in Photoshop here, what we can do here, so I’m going to fill this frame, I’m going to duplicate this background layer, so we can do our skin retouching, so I’m going to do command or control J. I’m going to rename this layer to Skin Retouch, okay, now I’m going to go in here, go into full size, normally I would take, you know, as much time as I needed to do all the skin retouching but we’re just going to do a few quick fixes here. I’m using my Healing Brush tool, maybe I’ll get rid of Nikki’s little nose ringy, thingy here just to show you some things. We’re not going to spend any time doing some real skin retouching but this is where you would do that. Okay let’s say that our skin retouching is finished. We’ve got that done, if we need to go back and change anything we’ve got a layer just for our skin retouching. What we need to do next is duplicate this Skin Retouch Layer, so I’m going to do again command or control J, rename this layer to Analog Efex. You can name this whatever you want but this is where Analog Efex Pro effects are going to be applied. So what we’re going to do now, make sure you have this layer selected, we’re going to go to step 3. We’re going to click on filter. We’re going to go to Nik collection Analog Efex Pro, so we’ll click on that. That is now going to open Analog Efex Pro and apply your last used effects or camera or whatever you have, so it’s not going to be exactly what we want, right off the bat. We’re going to have to do some changes and good for us because this doesn’t look great. I need to give you a warning really quickly. If you’re using Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 there is a glitch with Analog Efex Pro and the Nik collection and Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 where things don’t work the way they used to, so go down to your settings in Analog Efex Pro and you need to go here and change one thing and that is, after clicking okay, make sure you have this set to; “apply the flter effect to the current layer. That’s not the default but if you don’t do that, you might have a crash in your editing. You don’t want that, so make sure you go to settings after clicking okay, apply the filtered effect to the current layer, that’s why we duplicated the layer. That should fix that little glitch. Okay after you do that once, you’re all set, forever hopefully. Okay now, what we need to do now is we need to create a Preset that we can use over and over, and over again for all of the photos we want to look the same way, so what we’re going to do here is, we’re to go to cameras. We’re going to go click this little right arrow here and we’re going to go to camera kit. Now we’re going to get rid of all the stuff that’s over here already, so I’m going to get rid of Dirt and Scratches in Lens Vignette and Film Type, whatever you have selected just get rid of it, so all you have are the Basic Adjustments. Now for the look that I want to use for Nikki and this stuff what we’re using is Basic Adjustments and we’re going to be using some light leaks, so I’ll add that and we’re going to be using a Photo Plate okay, that is, those are the three things that we’re going to be using to make the effect that I want. so what we’re going to do here is, I’m going to turn off light leaks and Photo Plate. I’m going to go into our Basic Adjustments and I’m just going to set these to what I’ve already figured out here so detail extraction we’re going to have that at 16. Again you’re going to spend some time doing this to make it look exactly like you want it, so this might take you in reality an hour or more. So I’ve already done that, I’m just going to type in the values that I already have and so our saturation is at 9, you can see exactly what I’ve done here so that’s the Basic Adjustments that we’re going to use on this. Now I’m going to go into my Light Leaks and I am going to use this really dynamic Light Leak, this guy right here and we don’t want it to be so powerful, so we’re going to take that strength down to about 15% and then the other thing I’m going to do with this Light Leak is, I’m going to move it up over here, so it’s just very very subtle that looks good and then the last thing I’ve done here is, I’ve added a Photo Plate and the Photo Plate that I’m going to be using is a corroded Photo Plate, this guy right here and we’re going to set that string to about 53, that’s what gives us that really grungy look. Alright so now we can go, zoom this in 200%, you can see we’ve started getting that really grunge cool effect that we like, now that the basics are set up, I need to save this as a Preset and so over here on the right hand side you’ll see this little button that says Save. I’m going to click that and then I need to name this something so I’m going to name this Nikki Grungy, Nikki Grungy. You can name it whatever you want, then I’m going to click okay. Now all of these settings are set you can use them over and over, and over in the future and they’ll show up in our Custom Area over here and so you see now we have all these different things that I’ve named in the past. The one that is selected is this guy right here; Nikki Grungy and that’s all good, okay. We’re going to use Nikki Grungy on our, all of our future edits of this but one of the things I don’t like about this, is if we go into 100% you can see that this Photo Plate is on her face and so we’ve got texture on her face, I don’t want that and so what I can do here is go into the Photo Plate or whatever different effect that you’ve added and you can click this, this little Disclosure Triangle here to open up the control points, now I can add a control point so I’m going to click on that and go over here right on her face, click and so what I can do is the top slider, I can set the size of this so about that size and then I can say the texture strength so I want that to be zero so I want this to have none of that Photo Plate so I don’t want that texture on her face. If we zoom in you can see that it’s removed it from here. We still have a lot of it over on the edges, so what I need to do is add a bunch of different control points. That’s very, very simple to do. Once you have your first control point set let me go back out here. You can click alt or option right on the control point, drag it over and it copies it so you can just do this really very quickly. Maybe you can make one down here, that’s a little bit larger so I’ll increase the size of that, however take some time to put these all over and we’re not going to save these as part of the preset because your subject is not going to be in the same place or size in the frame and so you want to do this later on. Okay. we’re going to call that good, if we zoom in you can see that now the texture is not on her face but it is blending in on the side. That is great now all we need to do is click on OK and we have just successfully finished step 3. So we’ve gone from Lightroom to Photoshop, into the Nik collection now we’re round-tripping back into Photoshop. Now you see we have this Analog Efex Pro layer right here that we created. All we need to do now is save this, so command S, ctrl S to save. What that’s going to do is save our new Photoshop file into Lightroom and now we can do our 4th step. We can do our final color, and color and cropping, and all of that stuf, so once this is saved we’ll get right on that. Okay this is saved, I’m going to close this out of Photoshop, hop back over here into Lightroom and now you can see here is that file, so here’s the edit PSD. It creates that automatically, we want to do some final tonality changes, you can see here we’ve got all of our grungy effects and everything, I’m going to go into the develop module hit D, to get into the develop module and we’re going to do just our final fixes here, so the things that I want to do here is I want to first fix our, our tonality here, so the blacks we lost a little bit of that juiciness that I like, so I’m going to take that down to about -37, I’m going to take the Exposure up by about a third stop, just to make this a little bit punchier so that’s starting to be exactly where we want to go. I’m going to go back down here to our Hue Saturation and Luminance panel, I’m going to take the orange down just a little bit because we got a little bit orangie, when we did that processing and we’re going to take the yellow, we’re going to take that up, way up, we want that atomic blond kind of look which I really like, so you can play with this. That’s the fun of this kind of imagery, you can make it anything you want. The other thing we need to do, this was a Photoshop file and so it needs to have a little bit of sharpening, so what I’m going to do here is, I’m going to zoom in to 100% just so we can see exactly what we’re doing and then I’m going to sharpen this up to about 39. Again this is stuff that, I’ve already played with, so when you’re doing yours, you might take you a little bit longer to do it, and that looks pretty good, I think when we zoom out that looks pretty good. The other thing that we’re going to do here is we want to add a vignette, so I’m just going to go down here to my Effects panel. I’m going to take this vignette down to about -23, something like that, just burn in the edges a little bit. I’m going to leave everything else, all the defaults set to normal and there you go, we just went from start to finish and now what we want to do, is we want to repeat this process. Well the good thing is we’ve set everything up to be repeatable, so how do we do that? So here is our first file that we started with, this is our DNG file, so I’ll make these a little bit larger so you can see this. What we wanted to do is we want to take the Lightroom step 1, Tonality and Color changes and if, and copy and paste those over to this other .DNG file, so I just click on this, then command click that, then go down to the right hand side, sync settings, I’m going to check everything click synchronize, boom now that’s done, now I can right click, go over here to say edit in Photoshop CC 2018, that’s going to take us to our second step and jump us over now that we’re in Photoshop here, we’ll go and make this really nice. We’ll duplicate this, we will rename the skin “retouch”. Then we would normally go in and do all of our skin retouching. I don’t want to take too much time here, so I’ll just do one little skin retouch right there, okay, let’s call that done. Then what we’ll do is we will copy this layer, we’re going to call it Analog Efex Pro, great now what we’re going to do here is we’re going to go filter Nik collection Analog Efex Pro 2, we don’t have to do all the stuff that we did before because remember, we saved this as a Custom Preset, it’s a little recipe that we can use over and over, so what we’ll do is as soon as this loads in on our custom cameras over here, we’re going to go find Niki, Niki Grungy, there we go, BAM there’s our Niki Grungy Preset, so all that stuff we did before, it’s already there, all we need to do is we need to go into this Photo Plate, now she’s not in the same place that she was before and add our control point, we’re going to add this control point, take this down, make this a little bit larger, there it is and then we can go through very quickly and spend the time to get this right, so we take all that stuff off. I’m not going to spend all the time to do that but you can see where we’re going with this. Once we have that done you can click OK. That’s going to take us back into Photoshop. Now that we’re in Photoshop, I’ll double click this so it fits, all I do is click Save. That’s going to take us back over into Lightroom, that’s all saved, so when it closed that out, zip over here to Lightroom, here’s our Photoshop file from this, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to take this Photoshop file click on that command or ctrl click, then second, sync our settings. We’re going to say check all synchronize blam! Everything we did with that is done, so you can see that this is very, very quick. The other thing that I would normally do here is add a crop, so in the video I think I crop these to 16X9 to make them cinematic, so I might do that as well. There you go I want to apply that to this guy over here, command click, sync settings, synchronize BAM. Now they are synced. There you go. Those are two final processed images. Well I hope you’ve learned a few things in this episode, I think you’ll agree that it’s beneficial to have Lightroom and Photoshop because you can do some things that you can’t do when you have Lightroom all by itself. Thanks so much for joining me, I want to remind you to subscribe to AdoramaTV it’s absolutely free, that way you won’t miss a single episode, also check out the Adorama Learning Center and follow me on Instagram. Here’s my Instagram for you right here. Thanks so much and I will see you again next time.

12 thoughts on “Cinematic Retouching Deep Dive: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace”

  1. Always nice to see your retouching tutorials, but is there any chance you might do Digital Photography: One on One stuff again?
    PLAY ALL

  2. Oh you bad boy Mark. And all it needed was to say, "And in the next video, I'll show you in more detail how to use Nik's software…." You're only human.
    But thanks for this extra video. You must be a very busy man, I appreciate it. Very entertaining and at the same time informative.
    You've helped me over the years to master my camera and photography especially your CreativeLive workshops online speedlites 101.
    Awesome content!!

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