All new!!

Hi there and welcome to our brand new blog! 

From now on, we will bring you frequent content regarding the Retouching Toolkit, as well as retouching, photography, business, inspiration and anything else related to retouching in general.

First, though, allow me to introduce myself!  My name is Kai Gut.  I’m a retoucher from Germany and new in the Retouching Toolkit Team as a community coordinator, and will serve alongside Conny to answer your questions, and share in your success!

 

I’ve been working as a freelance retoucher for more than 5 years now, mainly focussing on the fashion and beauty industry, and working for photographers, magazines and brands.  I’ve been using Conny Wallström’s Retouching Toolkit for pretty much my whole career and I wouldn’t ever want to be without it anymore.

 

The almighty Luminosity Panel

In this first blog, I want to focus on the latest addition to the Toolkit – The Luminosity Panel!

This panel is a powerful tool to efficiently create masks and selections to perfection for reasons like color correction / grading, manipulations or composites. 

This can be done with a blend-if, which is a function that Photoshop has internally, but is a bit awkward and unintuitive to use.

What the Luminosity Panel does is translate that internal feature onto the panel, allowing you to be able to adjust the blend-if in real time on the layer or the underlying layer without having to open and close the blend-if-window for every little adjustment. 

This is paired with eye helps, pre-defined zones to go into a general direction before fine-tuning, and tools for picking a certain luminosity or color from the image as a reference.  Furthermore, this blend-if can be converted into a layer mask that can be worked on.

The other feature is the Working Mask. I absolutely love this!  It’s essentially ‘one slider to rule them all!’

By dragging the slider, I can see in real time what is happening to my mask. That way I can create precise and smooth masks and make decisions based on the most important tool in a retoucher’s toolkit: my eyes.

So basically what I do is drag around sliders until the working mask shows exactly what I want to see – or not see – in my work.

This is topped off with smooth gradients – better than just using levels – so you won’t end up finding artifacts and masking issues of that sort in your image.

 

How I use it

Personally, I mainly use the blend-if for light color grading and color correction, as it is SO easy and precise to apply to the areas I want to adjust. Just a few clicks and I have what I want.

In this example, I used the blend-if in combination with the color wheels, to play around with the colors and find a mood.

 

I did a very simple grade with two color wheel layers. One for the lights, one for the darks.

As you can see, the image is very moody from the start. I wanted to get it even moodier and used the Luminosity Panel to choose the dark areas via blend-if. I tinted them kind of greenish and made them darker. The blend-if allowed me to see exactly which areas I got.

 

Then I did the same with the lights.

Here I made them a bit lighter, added a hint of cyan to make it less red and got my result, quick and easy and most importantly, as precise as I wanted to get it, without having to make a huge effort with masking.

 
What about masking?

When it comes to precise masking, for example around hair in order to replace a background, grade the background, remove something from the background without hurting the (intentional) stray hair, or other similar aspects, this is my go-to-tool!  It takes little effort, compared to creating new layers myself, pick channels, adjust levels, merge layers, paint with black and white and hate the result in the end. 

Thank you for reading my first blog for the Retouching Toolkit!  Stay tuned for more, and feel free to make suggestions about topics you would like for me to cover!

In the next post, I’ll talk about simplifying the toolkit and adjusting it to your personal needs to fit your workflow!

Also, if you want a certain topic covered, please let us know your suggestions and ideas in our Facebook community!

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