- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Sybex; 2 edition (August 9, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470592125
- ISBN-13: 978-0470592120
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#110,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #27 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography & Video > Equipment, Techniques & Reference > Lighting
- #51 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography & Video > Equipment, Techniques & Reference > Handbooks & Manuals
- #68 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography & Video > Equipment, Techniques & Reference > Digital Editing
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Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies 2nd Edition
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From the Back Cover
What is the color of skin?
You may think you know, until you try to reproduce what you see. Differences in software, hardware, lighting, calibration—everything has an impact on color. And that's all before you confront the differences between people: young, old, male, female, different ethnicities, wearing makeup or not, wrinkled or tattooed—even their notions about what looks good!
In this new edition of his hot-selling guide, top Hollywood photo-illustrator Lee Varis guides you step by step through the maze. Find out how he lights, captures, color-corrects, and retouches images of people in all their variety—using the very latest Photoshop and Lightroom tools—and discover his secrets to making people look compelling in their own skin.
Understanding the basics of digital capture and workflow
Starting with the right hardware and software settings
Developing your digital color "chops"
Mastering Rembrandt lighting, natural lighting, and other lighting techniques
Overcoming common digital skin problems, such as too much red
Composing shots, posing models, and taking formal portraits or candid shots
Trimming the fat, lighting up the eyes, and filling in wrinkles
Using new blur filters, creating a grunge look, and adding dazzling effects
Sharpening, soft proofing, and simulating, so you can print with success
Discovering what can and what can't be done in post-process
Learn new camera calibration techniques
Understand lighting for many different effects
Discover color-correction techniques for every type of skin
Learn new special effects like HDR Toning in Photoshop CS5
About the Author
Lee Varis is a photo-illustrator working in Hollywood. He has been involved in commercial photography for three decades. His images have been featured in National Geographic, Newsweek, and Fortune magazines, and both his writing and photography have been featured in trade journals such as PDN, PEI, Design Graphics, and others. His work has appeared on movie posters, video box and CD covers, and in numerous brochures and catalogs. Varis conducts seminars and workshops for APA, PPA, ASMP Maine Media Workshops, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, and LIGHT Photographic Workshops. He is the president of LADIG (Los Angeles Digital Imaging Group).
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Top Customer Reviews
I just finished reading Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies, a wonderful book for Adobe® Photoshop® enthusiasts. Although I would only consider myself an intermediate user of Photoshop, I found Lee Varis' book immensely helpful, and I highly recommend it to all those who photograph people.
Chapter 1: Digital Imaging Basics is a brief introduction to digital imaging basics. It quickly covers chips and pixels as well as dynamic ranges. Furthermore, Varis covers JPEG artifacts, cameras, memory cards, computers and monitor calibration. He finishes the chapter with a discussion on Photoshop preferences.
Chapter 2: Color Management Workflow, and Calibration is as the title suggests. The first few pages provide a high level overview of workflow management. Then Varis discusses color and light calibration. I must admit, he does have a rather funky looking set up of test targets that include the GretagMacBeth 24 patch plus Styrofoam cutouts and black traps. Varis provides a lengthy and detailed discussion on his calibration method. He also mentions that he prefers 8 bit processing as opposed to 16 bit. Moreover, he comments on the popular expose to the right practice.
::::The idea is good theory but bad practice because the histogram cannot tell you where you are placing your tones with any precision, and it can't tell you whether the histogram is appropriate for the subject. (What picture goes with this histogram?) The camera's histogram is only a general indication of the distribution of values in the camera-generated JPEG. It is usually a composite of all three channels. The RAW data has a much wider distribution of tones that will vary in each channel, so you may not know if you are clipping important data in the Red Channel simply by looking at the histogram display on the camera.::::
Chapter 3: Lighting and Photographing People is an overview of lighting. Varis uses different configurations of lights and reflectors to demonstrate various effects. The photographs contained in the book are helpful to understanding the concepts discussed.
Chapter 4: The Color of Skin teaches the reader about proper skin tones. Varis introduces how to use curves effectively as well as how to adjust skin tones by using the CMYK values. He then finishes the chapter with a discussion on cultural and personal preferences. What one group of people might desire, others might oppose. So it is important to understand your audience.
Chapter 5: Tone and Contrast: Color and B+W is an extremely interesting chapter because it discusses how to create B+W conversions and how B+W conversions can create better color photos. The first few pages discuss the channel mixer and split channels to obtain stunning B+W conversions. Next, Varis teaches the reader how B+W image can be used in luminosity blending to darken, lighten, and recover detail. I enjoyed part of the chapter because it opened up new avenues for processing my photos. Last, he discusses hue, saturation and toning effects.
Chapter 6: Retouching is a thoroughly enjoyable chapter. Varis begins with a basic retouching where he uses the healing brushes to smooth away wrinkles. But then he kicks it up a notch by subtly using the dodge and burn tools to make the image just that much better. He then goes on to show how to use Hue/Saturation Repair to address red blotchy skin. I found the before and after pictures were amazing. Varis then walks his readers through an example of an attractive woman in her fifties. The before and after pictures are remarkable. He then shows a similar set of before and after pictures for a beautiful young model likely in her twenties. He wraps the chapter up by discussing some thinning techniques as well as some further skin processing.
Chapter 7: Special Effects provides some useful tricks to generate interesting images. The four main themes of this chapter are soft focus, film grain and mezzotint, cross-processing, and tattoos. A substantial portion of the chapter is devoted to soft focus, which includes depth of field effects. Because photographers often want to create a softer, less harsh image or part of an image, I found this discussion helpful. I am not one for film grain and mezzotint. Similarly, I am not wild about cross-processing where you get unexpected colors in unexpected places. The last section on tattoos was interesting, even though I am not a tattoo fan. I liked the last part of the tattoo section where he described how to use Photoshop to create a fake tattoo.
Chapter 8: Preparing for Print focuses the following key themes: sharpening, color management for print, soft proofing, desktop printing, and creative print finishing. I am going to comment on the first and last items. Varis' sharpening discussion is very helpful. Prior to reading this book, I simply used unsharp mask and was done. Now, when I want to get a sharper picture, I use multiple sharpening layers in luminosity blending modes as well as darkening and lighting blending modes. This technique has the advantage of offering better control of the halos. Creative print finishing provides some options for designing captivating borders or edges to the photographs. In his examples, Varis shows how the edges provide added pizzazz to the already great photo.
Chapter 9: Parting Shots is a short chapter that provides some further high level commentary on workflow. Varis then walks the reader through the companion CD. I suspect most readers have already opened the CD and have been using the files all along, so this information is superfluous at this point. And last, he reminds readers that digital photography is still in its infancy. Much of what we have just learned is likely to become outdated soon. I believe, however, that if we understand and have developed a sense of adventure to experiment, our newly gained knowledge will help us as newer technologies and techniques emerge.
Being an intermediate, at best, Photoshop user, I found Skin to be a valuable resource. I enjoyed learning by working through the examples. I also enjoyed seeing how just some subtle steps make a significant difference. I highly recommend this book.
Eismann has written books on retouching and masking that are absolutely essential. Caplain has written the bible on Photoshop montage. Varis has written the last word on on photographing people in the digital age.
One aside: all three of these authors are to be thanked for not attempting to be comedians along the lines of Scott Kelby, Deke McClelland and Russell Brown. Where this business of Photoshop authors trying to be "funny" started is unknown, but it is a ghastly thing when the author truly isn't funny.
Anyway, Varis covers the waterfront here, when it comes to photographing people. Everything. Color. Lighting. Correction. Retouching. Printing. In all, this book is about making the most of the people you photograph.
Profusely illustrated, Varis takes the reader step-by-step through each and every process.
There are a lot of Photoshop books out there, but few truly great ones. This is one of the few.
reference. Although the author, Lee Varis, is a Hollywood
photo-illustrator, Skin is much more than a guide in how to remove a
pimple and a double chin. Frankly, I think the book sells itself short
by implying that it is a source which only applies to photographing
people. It covers every aspect of photographing people that an amateur
photographer would ever need, but many of the techniques described
apply to all aspects of digital photography. The CD which comes with
the book is filled with additional photographs and is very helpful as a
back-up, visual aid. The multitude of subtleties (Did you know that
larger pupils make a person appear "warmer and friendlier"?) which
separate a nice digital portrait from a fabulous one are described in
depth and in a language easy to understand. For the curious who have
always wondered how some photographers can make their subject look so
much better than they do in person, or for those who have entered the
world of digital photography themselves, Skin is a "must have"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It has tips for every good beginner.