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Gear Day

Lesson 1 of 5

Alien Skin Demo with Sue Bryce

Sue Bryce, Jared Platt, DPReview Staff

Gear Day

Sue Bryce, Jared Platt, DPReview Staff

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Lesson Info

1. Alien Skin Demo with Sue Bryce

Lesson Info

Alien Skin Demo with Sue Bryce

We're going to start off, as I said, with soup, rice and the wonderful folks at alien skin. Now the fun part is we actually have supervised live with us on skype, so what's going to start talking to our su? How are you doing high big grass? How you my friend has tickets so good to see you because it's been forever and I'm just pleased to look at your face. I know you can't see mine, but I'm thrilled the ceo and that amazing wall behind you that is insane! I saw you posted on instagram about it and how much work it came in or came into making it. Can you talk about it a little bit? Seventeen hours, many years of collecting silk flowers, maybe seven years with in a box and seventeen hours of labor, but it's it's going to stay in the studio and I am silly love it and I still haven't photographed on it yet it's so gorgeous just looking at you on it is amazing, so I can't wait to see what you do with it quite therapeutic. I lie in the studio and look at it in the afternoon, it makes me feel...

all then see it's it's, good function way as well, you know, forget just the photos you're taking with it, it just looks good so you are here to talk a little about alien skin now you've talked about in the past that you've used it, it's one of the tools that you use to create your images. So how how did you come about choosing alien skin as part of your work fluff? About two and a half nearly three years ago, I met laura jaded, a workshop in australia, and we were both are teaching the same workshop together and she was using it, so I bought it that night and I abused it every day since. So I was the one when I went on creative live and showed everybody who follows may I called aliens can and said, hey, I really love your product and I was like, can I feature it? And they're like, sure, so it's on my daily wick play, when I wanted to do with this video was show you how I actually take a shoot from actually taking the shot, how I lit it to get the old masters look and then take it through to the old masters look in any skin that is perfect because that's, what it's all about is using it as a tool as part of your work flow to really just finish off the image where you do the work ahead of time, make it right. And then do it in the end, eh? So you've been using alien skin for a few years a little bit about the evolution of it. Yeah, I think it's gotten better and better that it's definitely becoming even more user friendly exposure. Sivan is the go to right now and just being able to open multiple files in the window, it's processing very much light, light room and the new there's a new feature which has got textures in the air, which, putting textures in the background is absolutely incredible, but I'm actually I don't talk about I mean, skin in the sense that I might go, I wantto be sponsored by alien skin. I talk about it in the sense that I actually use it daily. I don't think I have shot a single image in the last three years. They haven't process really and skin I was never someone the board actions, because I felt like you had spend money on actions, and there was one that you would use, but alien skin, I pretty much have a go to list of over fifty that I use, and I don't use any other actions so well and it's kind of become a little bit part of your just your aesthetic and what people come to expect from you, is that look. That, and part of what you do is you use aliens going to achieve that. Part of it is the lighting part of opposing. Part of it is all the things that you teach in your other creative live workshops, but that that kind of finishing touch that just little something that it adds on dh some of those things, like you mentioned the new things recently, like the textures that's that seems like a big thing for you. Yeah, I love it. I am I like my portrait's to look a little bit painted, lee, but without being overdone. S o I team tio choose times that they're a little more towards monochromatic, so we're very choosy, yellow tone or a cold sciencetimes. I tried to take my colors towards, you know, a tonal range that is away from a skin tone, but keeps the whole image cohesively together and then the whole shoot. So I just when you see this shape, you'll watch it. I actually shoot the strike, I shoot with a stroke, which is something I don't really does. So thanks to felix, I shoot this with a strobe. I changed the background from a black the flip to a gold background, and the finished result you'll see is quite beautiful, it's almost timeless like an old masters painting and the comments, I get a lot on my block and facebookers, your work is very painted, lee and I don't do any painting in british are poor it's all done really, with just the aliens gin tony at the inside, take you right through even double to retouching to show you how much I retouch it. So it's a great little video. Yeah, and I love that so many people are looking for that, like you said, the painterly effect on it, it really does stand out so we are gonna have you recorded this video it's about twenty eight minutes long, so we're going to watch that assumes we're done here with sue. Do you want to go ahead and set it up for us? Tell us a little about what we're going to see. I basically wanted to shoot something that looked a little old masters what I've been trying to do in my shoots, especially if I record for any education, is I have to keep taking people back to the basics and tim's off, you know, a background should cost thirty dollars, or it should be something that's really accessible, I shoot on, you know, my camera, that is. And that everybody else has and I tried to keep it really simple the new strobe that I bought was definitely a financial commitment it was you know, up there and this even hundred dollar range I got a deep dish alan crime opted box which is fifty two inches wide so it's huge and it was a big expense with the strobe and the c stand I came in just over nine hundred and you know, I want tio when I teach photographers I want to say I could have created this look with natural light because you know that I can but it also I need to be able to learn to shoot with a stroke but I have never ever taken the time to learn how to shoot with the strobe up until now, twenty six years in august I've been shooting um I started with the striped hated it went to natural light never went back and I just feel like people you know, I always want to further my education I want to be able to shoot at night I want to be able to shoot a low light and I also want to be a to teach people I had to shoot a sitting way in artificial light and to me what I've done is I've shot honest drive but I'm shooting at two point eight one point two now that kind of everybody's like want I'm wide open and the reason I'm wide open is I want the fall a way that I get from natural light that dreamy look but I want out official strobe so yes I am shooting with a filter in order to get that light and then I want to pose old master style she's wearing a vintage negligee which cost me about fourteen dollars at a vintage and store and she's got beautiful here and make up the stunned by my team and then I just wanted it to look quite old master so I start on the cheap background and then I go to the more expensive background which is the only event and yeah I just want tio show people how to create really beautiful work with the most basic kit possible and it is certainly a beautiful look and I show hopefully they show all of the images at the end but I will block the whole shoate in the next week so that you can see them and yeah beautiful well I want to say thank you so much for doing this and also for for joining us this morning and it wasn't to see your face like I said I wish I was the arrests have a great day I agree thank you so much all right everybody we are going to play that video so go ahead and take it away we'll be right back after hi, everyone, I'm surprised and today you're joining may for a shoot from preparation should tio postproduction eating alien skin? I am showing you this incredible sit up off read on black. I'm shooting today with one two fifty alan crime strobe with a deep dish, fifty nine inch octo box modifying I've got a double diffuser on I am figuring the light to my model, which is about three feet from here, she's about two feet from the backdrop, the backdrop I've chosen it's just black the flat, and don't worry about the light that's hitting it because this flashes going to negate that highlight. I've got a white the flat in this way, bouncing light back so you get a beautiful, nice, even lie on her face. Now often, whenever I would see people shoot especially very pale skin, he says, beautiful pal skin and read on the black, it can just look very black dean's white on black, and what I'm going to do today is soften this life as much as I can. Oh, and then I'm going to take it into alien skin, and I'm going to show you the amount of editing possibilities to create a beautiful, painted lee old style portrait, which looks very beautiful, so to get started this is my sit up, I'm currently thinking my flesh at two fifty is my show speed and I'm shooting at two point eight with an ice so of one hundred I won't either sit nice and tort isa come up onto this cheek and then if you put this hand here and use this to you can put your foot up the few years this hand here let this hand hang and drop this shoulder down so what I'm doing is creating a beautiful shape in her hit line and living her hands pull away from the body just either so slightly and pushing your chin towards me and ford all right I'm going to shoot this horizontally fist just relax your mouth bottom left up good girl there it is ok I love this I'm just going up my aperture I'm a two point eight I'm at two hundred and now beautiful that's where I want to be a okay so I need you to extend your chin towards me teacher and push forward and up now really relax those eyes form a beautiful good girl chin down ever so slightly that's exactly right beautiful really with beauty full on form a good builder it isthe stay right the I love this ok drop the shoulder down and connect the shot of the go perfect can up relax your mouth really give me those eyes okay push each in food ever so slightly good girl and I'm going to go vertical and take this shot here. I'm just going to crop up at the top of the name. Perfect. Exactly. Right. I love this girl. Gorgeous. And just like that, I have exactly what I want. I retouched everything first before it goes to any in skin. I look at any in skin is being my finished product. So right now I want to take you through and eat it and just talk you through. I tried to make my eat its two to four minutes, and the reason I do that is I run a business and I have to be realistic. I would love to spend an hour on each photograph, but I have learned sitting tricks that speed me up to get me through an entire shoot so I can present it and sell it to my client in really be cost effective. In my business, a lot of photographers are really over retouching and spending too much time. So let me talk you through this process and we can discuss some little short cuts lively, and so I'll choose an image he would go. The first thing I do is I use the healing tool. I used the healing tool for any stray here's in lines on the face that a very obvious because it's fast and it's so quick. And it blends really beautifully basically I'm just going to go along we hear line I used the plus in the minors to make my brush smaller or bigger depending on how big then I go to the clone tool I'm a thirty percent flow so work one hundred percent o pacey thirty percent flow and I pretty much just go up and clone and now I am actually following the line of light on the neek which is sort of on that diagonal father that line and then I come up and I want to climb stand the face but I'm very aware that teacher his beautiful free calls and I don't want to let you lose them so what I want to do is just go very lightly with my client I'm still a thirty percent flow and I'll drop down to teen just to lighten but I'm really just hitting any lines any vertical line to the horizontal lines for their standing out and I'm just making sure that I'm softening shadows up under the eyes I'm still a thirty percent flow I'm still just lightning with my client stamp I don't want to remove the bottom eyelid I just want to gently soften up under her eyes up into these shadowed areas keeping it nice and soft so don't overdo it under the eyes people of very weird when you flatten out they face this is a spot that I always retouch it's actually I call it the mono brow it's, the shadow that falls between both eyebrows that can make it look very mono brow. I always go up the highlight of the nose and then down from the highlight off the forehead, any stray hears on the forehead. I simply touch with my healing toll, so I just step along, touch anything that's coming into the face in any large freckles. I don't want to remove them, so I'll go back to the clone stand and just lighten them at ten to thirty percent flow, so the frequents belong on the face, but we just want to take away the very dark shadows in the dark lines in the dark for eagles that distract death around the shadowed areas of the nose and mouth. I want to soften, enlightened but not removed, because removing the shadow flattened the face and the face is very rounded. You don't want to flatten out the face, it looks very over retouched instantaneously. My goal is to retouch an entire face in in two minutes. I'm going to take a little bit more time with this, these freckles and take four minutes, and that includes dodging and burning their eyes to make them pop as well, I dropped down to team percent flow because I'd I don't want to remove too much of the shadow under her lip because it gives the chin dimension and it looks really good so team percent flow just go around clean up in each other areas soften any hardy jizz this is where we want to be right here and then I need to go to my dodging byrne told just to lift up her eyes I also want to even out the catch light in her eyes because I can see a beautiful catch light in her right eye but not lift ice I'm going to climb stand the catch line if the dodging burn tool dodge are usually dodge it about team be seen around the irish don't do the whole because it flattens out the eyeball and around the pupil just lighten it up around the iris around the people and it's just going to lift out the color of your eyes it's going to just make everything pop I go to my brush tool and it one percent flow on a knife bright green color you can see I'm simply going to flow along under the rid of her eyes just to neutralize the amount of read in her eyes and that's it he's my idiot it's sitting in four minutes and thirteen seconds it's just enough I'm going to now it it every image in the selection and then I'm going to take you through this election to show you from the shooting sequence that I took one of my favorite images what I liked about them, why I chose them and how I'm going to finish them in alien skin. It's open these images on photo shop and show you what I chose from the sequence I have got this beautiful shot and I absolutely love it it's just gorgeous she started off posing there from the front I came in close it did a nice close shot it's a beautiful highlight just coming through on her catch that coming through in her eyes the here is amazing. I absolutely adore the highlight that's coming from the v flett so it wasn't a dense black backdrop which I love number three I started to rotate her away. Number four have rotated her even further. I did not crop in camp. I'm sorry I did not crop afterward. They're cropped in cameras that have come in for this and then I pulled back and gone vertical and that same position. And so the first five images for may absolutely gorgeous and I tend to the opposite side. I do that because it does interest me how many people actually look different on the left and right side and so I do try both eyes to see what it looks like, so there was image number six then I change the backdrop I wanted to take away that the gravy flecked and I had my gold ali just to get a completely different look to see how I would eat it that differently and the remaining six images I actually even have chosen is this where I started back to square again shot that vertically and then as you can see, I tend to to the right her right and head her look over her shoulder to me the gold has thrown a completely different town anv I've into this image and was very easy just to switch out the backdrop I love the shot the next image is magnificent also and it's so simple and it's also very similar to the one before though but it's different enough to give it a completely different editing feel oh, I love vertical I feel like adding the here just made such a great it just has so much impact and it looks very old masters so I'm going to take it into a file that I feel like we'll give it a painted lee that and then I brought her back to the front again as you can see and thin I took the strap off her shoulder, which I love the mood off and then I finished here with hands on the heart now these thirteen images in the sequence and I love every single one of them what I'm going to do is I'm going to open the file and I'm going to open all of the images into any in skin exposure seven and the beautiful thing about exposure sivan is I can open them all as multiple images in one center or I can go here to the grid as you can see and I can fit to screen and click along the bottom so I can eat it them singley or I can go back up to the grid and put a patch on them so if I have a large batch of images I can run one batch so right now I just want to show you a few things that I love when I go into color film and polaroid as a photographer that's old school that used to shoot film very much and enamored by every one of these and in order to put it on everything I'm going to go command a something to select everything so when I hover without touching as you can see I am making every one of the images show up when I hover over there and then I go along I'm going to show you every time when I look at the dense richness off the polaroid filters I am so drawn to this I remember shooting eat six film cross processed through a c forty one processor in getting bet and tins blow out the highlights and then an intense yellow to magenta to green throw remember you can take the overall intensity down twenty five percent fifty percent but have a look at how beautiful this is seeing these images at full power with a strong filter like this I feel like probably the biggest problem with any and skin right now as you have too many choices but you do get favorites and you will definitely find a mood I'm so taken with this one of my very favorite in polaroid is actually yellowed have a look at that green it actually has quite a strong texture over it so if you slide down on the right and take the texture off and then you just have this remarkable yellow grain which I feel like if I just click through suits every one of these images and if you find that too strong you can go to your tonal curve you can go to your color saturation or you can simply go to your overall intensity which takes the intensity of the filter backwards also at this stage you could open this image in photo shop and it exists as a layer where you can then take it back can finish up afterwards now the polaroid section two may is very strong very commanding and it's very beautiful but it is very very overpowering so I want to take you down and the polaroid section there's a couple of films here that really take my fancy one of them is the essex seventy blend film look how luxurious this's it takes this image almost into a painted lee old masters feel, even if I had posed to him, maybe in draping fabric or node to me right now, in one click of a button, I am already in this old masters beautiful feel, and when I look at this image here, everything about this screams beautiful. I love her hands. I love the finish with her here who read lips, thie gays as she's looking over her shoulder. I would very much consider cropping this image and taking the legs out. So it's sit here as this old style. In fact, I am so inspired by this filter that I want to shoot more with a very rubenesque body with maybe some fabric draping and start creating like I'm inspired to shoot something that is just very beautiful and old worldly. So right now the polaroid films, when I go down every one of them excite me. I absolutely love the use of these textures and old scratches, although I never put a scratch over the face. So what I'm going to do is to show you a little trick that I use, then the texture. If you click that off, the texture is gone, the filter is still there, but the texture is gone, and I can go here and click this little arrow and I can put different textures so if you want something that scratched her on the outsides or scratch a different way I can choose different ones but if I choose the one that that's already chosen for it I can go to the pretty ticked and slide it along and what it does is it protects the center of the image which means it takes it off the face and really only goes to the outside and then if you finding that to strongly condemn thee ope a city off the scratches right back so two and you protect back up and dropped your post me and then the scratches are off a list of hope a silly over her face this here to me is one of the most beautiful filters that looks like a painting to me and often people say with my portraiture how do you get this painted lee look there's two ways to get a painted lee looked one of them is you shoot at two point eight or below four point our because I like the drop away that you get more of a painted lee look painted lee is also a very nice way of saying out of focus I do hand hold everything and mostly I hand hold it in that for a light so I do have a lot of movement in my images and I love grain I shoot ah higher I aside the mice people because I simply am attracted to grain, I like grain and noise because I come from a film background and I've always had grain in my images so what I'm really attracted tio here with these filters is putting them on and just gives me an instant grain film look that I was very used to in that late eighties nine you know, nineties and early two thousand's when we started to transition into digital, I was devastated by the amount of lack of noise in good grain that we head for the first ten years. This is magnificent every one of these now is just it takes me to another place I love the polychrome, but I want to show you something. I prefer the polychrome with the grain removed and that's the bdo line in skin if I can just simply take the grain out so we're going to get slide down and basically there is a grain and the overall grain strength can just be slowed down as so and really keeps the filter takes the grain down and remember if the filter is too too strong, take that down. If you want to double filter which something I've been doing, I'll take a filtered down to say twenty five percent I do open it and photoshopped, save it, reopen it in alien skin and maybe if I ask, aliens can nicely they'll allow a feature that double and triple filters a different layers it's just me being cheeky home okay polaroid absolutely love two may everything about this shoot is screaming to sit in this area, but I would like to take you up into the fading fading for me is my actual go to before polaroid because they feel like polaroid is quite strong I love color photo there's something about it that you have to be careful with because it takes your dark contrast into a red magenta which can give you a look off being under exposed and if I have over used this, I have had people call me out on social media and basically say this image looks under expose, which of course it wasn't it was my editing basically let's go along and choose another image, so you've got another beautiful shot to look at. This is such a gorgeous look I feel like it is um and I just priest the before button at the bottom so you can see what it normally looks like and I'll take my finger off cia click on I take off that's the filter and if you harbor it changes the image that's up there so you don't have to click anything you could just hop over and choose a filter that matches your image I love color photo with scratches and then I removed the scratches and the reason I do that is because that is my favorite filter and it's not the same is that and then there's color photo warm which I also love, but one of the filters that I have a very strong preference towards isn't this it's the code of color nineteen forty two to nineteen fifty three there is something about this filter, whether it's a light shot backlit to a dark shot like this that simply has an old world feel to it that I've never seen an action it is a go to for may it looks like she's underwater it's absolutely magnificent it doesn't look good on every image as you see on the lighter ones not so much although it has a very strong look about it but these dark ones absolutely beautiful and if I change the overall intensity so if I knocked that back to say fifty percent and then I show you the before and after, how beautiful and soft is that if he here was blowing, maybe I put more fan in there and then I put more movement in the here I feel like that would be magical so color fading for may is so gorgeous there are so many beautiful color um files in the fighting and the staining is magnificent and these are my goatees as well because they turning the image so beautifully two color fading and color polaroid my first go twos now what I want to show you is if I come up to the black and white section and this is quite remarkable because anybody who shot film well remember these films. So back in the sort of nineties when we were shooting lots of film we had out for fuji critic and, um obviously my go to films back through that time are all here again, it's like we shot ilford thirty, two hundred for about four years in the studio and thirty five mellott was my go to and look at this. It is actually recreating the exact look of offered thirty, two hundred. We actually had this train where we were shooting thirty, two hundred, mostly for winnings uh, thirty, two hundred shooting in the dark and the church. I think every weeding through the nineties with no color film during the ceremony were just loved shooting on this sort of dark, grainy black and white film when the images were magnificent are like a ll things it was a trained as I take the overall intensity down, you can see that the grain still remains, but really it's just so beautiful, and it really replicates that era film if you go through all of the black might films, you'll be quite shocked at how good they are and mimicking what? The real film looked like the kodak t max um, I remember being probably the most popular film we used at the time and look at their team x thirty two hundred, which were also shot on this is exactly what it looked like. Remember if you want to go into your don't have dumb cropped color basic exposure at this stage I can either the exposure of the image no differently than in the role window for a shot and I can take the contrast up and down here and I can take my highlights down. Although I choose to do all of my editing in roar, I do not use light room, but I do not shoot volume. If you're a light room trained photographer, you can use any in skin would light room I use it through photo shop or independently, but that's up to you. So I want you to have a look at this because I feel like the grain in this image right now is just so incredibly beautiful and I just love love love the finish off this incredible, absolutely beautiful, I really feel that the selection of images, if I go down to polaroid, is where I want to it's very one two finish it's what I love, I feel like going through them. I was definitely drawn to the selection and see they're going to be yellowed or the creamy highlight. I love the creamy highlights here just to show you how to eat it in bed because what I love about exposures even as you can work in a grid. So if you are betting multiple images, you can change the size of the thumbnail, write down, open a full foul odor and basically apply very quickly multiple filters to one whole set of images or you can fit per screen and you can just go along the bottom and select no different than you do and light room a sequence of images and just apply filter to that you can also work in a split screen where you can show left and right or up and down if you process here and basically I did I work and no split because if I want to see what the image looks like without a filter, I just hold the before button down have it heaven look um I met slightly drawn to the six six nine creamy highlights I've selected this mound of images, which is six and what I'm gonna do is take the overall intensity down just so it's not so high in contrast, I can take it right down to thirty five forty percent that's right where it sits well with me and I just click through and make sure that my final choice is exactly what I wanted for the sequence I click through and I love how it's picking out the highlight really is remarkable looks beautiful and it suits the siri's a love it on the black perfect now what I'm going to do is look these heaven images and I don't feel like they suit the creamy six six nine so I'm going to choose something else for the different color time and I'm actually going to go back down to the polaroid again because at the bottom of polaroid I really love to this I'm going to drop the overall intensity to about eighty percent when I click through theistic seventy film modified I feel like the grain the raid the gold is a tone that I'm completely in love with it suits the series of images I am more likely to choose a sequence of images and give them one whole time then I am a picking and different filter for each one as I matured as a photographer I realized that consistency was more important than experimenting so when I love something I tend to hold to that consistency and I also want to finish it how I love it I don't want to have a client say well what would the blue phil to look like with that one not smiling? What about the read filter with that one where I'm looking over my shoulder less choice and making sure I really love it and how I finish it. So this is where I'm finishing with the siri's absolutely adore how this looks so painted. Lee and old masters her poses suit. The final look in his skin tone is just magical, so that was my little demaio. Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you fall in love with alien skin, especially the exposure sit it's, my go to I've bean, using alien skin for two and a half years daily, and I really love it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and have fun experimenting and plain.

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