Travails with my camera

How hard can this airbrushing lark be.

Someone showed me a few weeks back how to airbrush a photo in Adobe Photoshop. I’m too tight to pay £700 for Photoshop (and I don’t have either Windows or Mac OS to install it on). So I thought I’d try using the latest 2.8 version of GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), the top open-source graphics manipulation software.

airbrushing-pre

Airbrushing Skin

Using raw images, this is relatively simple. Import an image into Gimp, in the layers box, duplicate the layer and turn the lower layer off (this protects your original image). In the file menu, click Open as Layer and re-import the same image, however this time ramp up the de-noiser. Right click on the new layer and select Add Layer Mask. Choose a black mask and paint in the skin. Once that’s done, adjust the opacity to taste.

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Removing Blemishes

Gimp has a blemish removal tool called Heal. Access it by clicking ‘H’. It works really well, you choose an area of unblemished skin near the blemish, and paint in the fixed skin.

Teeth Whitening

Using the lasoo tool, draw round the centre of the lips. Ensure you’re working on the layer you duplicated originally and choose Colours – Hue and Saturation. Adjust the yellow channel to whiten the teeth.

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Changing Eye Colour

Switch on quick mask and paint in the irises. Open Colours – Colorise and adjust the iris colours. Something similar can be done to reduce bloodshotness of eyes using a similar trick to teeth whitening.

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Changing Body Shape

Tools – Distorts – IWarp allows the body shape to be changed, a la Photoshop’s liquefy filter.

Adding Highlights and Shadows

Set the foreground colour to 50% grey (click on the foreground colour and change the V Box to 50). Add a new layer with the foreground colour. Set the mode to soft light.

Paint on highlights and shadows in the skin using the dodge and burn tool.

Repeat with mode set to overlay for non-skin areas

airbrushing

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