Lee's Photoshop History


Skin. The Complete Course


Lesson Info

Lee's Photoshop History

So I've been doing digital imaging for roughly twenty years and, uh, I've been doing photography for just about forty years if you don't you know, if you count the photography I did before I turned pro which, you know, I was doing photography all through high school so that what it means is that for for exactly half of my career and photography I've been traditional film based photographer I learned all the whole ansel adams thing I did all my own black and white printing and I mix my own black and white chemicals I mean, I was really hard core and learned everything about shooting a film then this digital thing happened and I've been doing digital imaging now for about twenty years, so I've got that's like, I've got one foot in one in the old world and the other foot firmly planted in the new and I've sort of I lived through that whole transition phase and now it's of course all digital all the time but I'll give you ah little a little background on some of my work as you no, I have d...

one a lot of movie posters which I cannot show here today, but I can show you my other work my photo illustration work so very early in my career I did this this image for national geographic this has done to illustrate an article about the information revolution and the there was a photographer quite creative photographer luis elias who's actually a kn award winning filmmaker you go look him up on google's quite an interesting guy he came into my studio rented my studio he brought in this one chimpanzee little six year old chimpanzee named archie and the idea was he was going get one hundred photos of archie and we were going toe composite it into this picture of the boston law library so that we had the way concerted illustrate the quote that you know, one hundred monkeys and in a room with typewriters would eventually type out shakespeare. So the problem was that louis didn't actually know how he was going to do this and he kept asking me questions and I kept giving them answers and I was sort of coaching him. You know, howto had approached the project and finally turn to me to say would you like to do the image compositing on this and, you know, it was like for national geographic you bet uh but this was a horrendous job it took like two months and on all of the computers that they're working on this is again it's one chimpanzee composited like, you know, so I had had a composite him in, you know, one hundred times but on every computer that's visible we have a kind of simian version of shakespeare that my studio manager worked on and she replaced all the references to people with a preference is you know, so we got mac these midsummer night's chimp julius chimps are, you know, a bunch of other things. So we had a lot of fun with that, but um it was it took me like two months and it's all about, you know, getting the drop shadows and and the reflections in the top of the desk and everything right? And we had to shoot the chimpanzee from number different perspectives so some of the shots were taking a telephoto lens and the ones in the foreground were taken with a wider lens so that when we blend them together the perspectives match and after the two months I you know, I was going back and forth and everybody was just loving it and I was putting the chimps in everywhere counting one, two, three and you know, you get up around eighty nine you starting to lose count right? And I finished it delivered it and the art director called me back and said, lee, I need one hundred chips you've put in one hundred two you've got to take two out and was like, oh no, so anyway, this was done in nineteen ninety five so it's, you know, pretty early and we used a combination of live picture and photo shop because I had something like one hundred fifteen layers in this document and there was a photo shop just, you know, died it couldn't handle that many laters but this other program live picture had a unique kind of structure and was able to do it so so here's some of the other images that I've done this is was done is a poster for a naff rickon dance group and under underneath the name of their group they would put in their tour dates wherever they were going to be um multi image composite all this all of these shots were shot in my studio and then the background is thiss cracked mud that comes from death valley and uh um yeah just sort of put it all together with the lens flare there here's uh uh this is an image. It was rejected for use. I was working on a corporate capabilities brochure for ah big commercial color lab and orange county and they had just installed kodak photo cd scanner they had their they were providing that is a service. So this was a lab that was trying to make this transition from being a film processing lab into offering digital services. So as I was into creating these sort of abstract composites with photo elements and circuit boards and had to have the disc the photo cd disk in there and something with laser lights they wanted, you know, s o they didn't like this one which was my favorite instead they went with this one um and thie idea was it you know the light scanning the film and the disk and you know it was all about their their new digital services this is an image I did for a new age album cover um where the the name of the album was feels like heaven and it was a piano piano solo music so I created this abstract keyboard staircase uh you know, stairway to heaven here and at the time there was a big thing angels were very big and they were like time magazine was doing articles about angels and you know, people being visited by angels or whatever it was it was a thing for a while and so I thought we needed to have an angel on this it would sell the album and the artists that was producing the album just it was the angel is just too much just like uh can you take the angel out? We'll just go with the staircase and so the final album cover it didn't have that the angel in it but I really felt that it needed the angels so there you go this is isn't this what you would like to do with your money? You know, turn your your ones into hundreds this was ah a demo image that I did using the live picture software and I could take very high resolution images and, uh, do liquefy distortions on very easily and blend them together. I could do this whole image in less than fifteen minutes, so it was part of my demo of the capabilities of software. Uh, is another image kind of a stock image for education. This's another composite done in live picture lead picture these these interesting blur brushes and you could just you could get really smooth blur effects with a big brush and just brushing over the image really kind of a unique program that that died a horrible death because they just couldn't compete with photo shop photo shot was just too established in the market, and it suffered from a kind of peculiar interface that nobody really got to like, um, this's a photoshopped composite, the model is lying flat on her back, and I'm on a ladder shooting down and she's just on a white seamless, and the water splash was photographed in a fish tank. Um, I threw a block of wood to make the splash into this fish tank that was backlit, so it was actually inverted in other words, it would have been a black background and a white a pale splash so I inverted it and applied the blue color to it and to make this effect here is kind of ah illustration effect um done on a photograph just kind of a blur this is this is just motion blur applied to the image and then the figures are masked out to give that feeling of kind of musical energy that's these air koppel era guys that they play these bearing bow rhythm machines and rhythm instruments kind of interesting that's what they do when they're actually practicing their art form which is a kind of a martial art the thing that's interesting about this image is the kind of fog effect that I created to push the figures into the background so the way the way they practice this form they do this sort of dance martial arts stuff which involves these kind of moves on the floor and they have these musicians in a circle around them and these these guys came into the studio and I wanted to get the musicians plane thie bearing bows in the picture but they're all wearing white and that's all you know very chaotic so my solution was to just put to blow in great pain as a grade of transparent graded in the background right behind the mask out figures in the foreground I call this the wonder boys this was done in live picture it's a kind of blending of a bunch of different elements and the lighting effect I was actually very strongly lighting the little boy's hand his cupped hands and he had a piece of white paper in there and it was bouncing back and that was the light that's hitting their faces so I created the glow the ball was just illustrated and photo shot but you can't really fake the lighting so if you can create an effect with riel lighting it's going to have a much more powerful effect on you trying to just dodgers you know lighten the faces so I have the direction of the light coming from their hands and that's what really sells this yeah with this nude or something on it that's going down into the payment and it's just a it's just concentrated right into his his hands it's not hitting anything else in this set okay there's other lighting going on you know rim lighting from the edges and stuff but um I wanted to create the impression that all the light was coming from the glowing ball and he was holding this is uh kind of light painting thing I've painted the subject was lying down on the floor and the camera was above and I used the long exposures and I use the flashlight I just brushed it over the figure and then afterwards did the kind of blur effect in photo shop but the lighting was all kind of hand painted over the surface of the image uh something with a fractal filter composite thing I was I was a beta tester for k p t filters early very successful special effects filters company that made all these graphics filters for photo shop and then it became meta tools and eventually they sold their product to carell and I think there's just some remnants of that available left but you can't really get any of the original effects and they had a fabulous fractal generator it's no longer available now the little image composite just multiple images very simply pasted up and then colorized you know they create the effect this was another live picture creation a unique way of wrapping radiance into the tonal values of the image and that's what's creating this kind of special effect is kind of a combination took the dancer and blenders air back into, uh shots of the veil and this live picture kind of swirly paint kind of effects um kind of a photo shop of chrome ing in boston sort of effect created this this actually wasn't really just a filter was multiple uh, iterations of various moves in photoshopped kind of kind of a complicated effect, another light painting, a picture he's kind of resting against this apple box in order to keep him steady during the long exposure he didn't want him to move, so by like resting his head like that his body and quiver that much and I could walk around him and paint with light using a flashlight uh image composite here um as a test was trying to get this trying to get this account they didn't quite go with it and more into athletes that was more try that you could sell the shoe you know there's a little joke here actually reversed the position of the right and left shoes uh because that just look better and nobody really picks up on it except the shoe manufacturer you know we go wait a second you know uh and then I've been this's project that I've been working on you confined this from my website thie newman leyland new millennium tero dot com so there's a couple images here that are the tero major arcana so these issues the cards that are most closely associate id with the terrible uh and everything is photoshopped compositing all that everything is done in foshan it's all the illustrations there the photography is composited with other photography elements and uh colorizing and glows and all that other stuff the text is all done in photo shop I'll go through these pretty quickly here it's a good idea I'm really I really love doing these elaborate kind of fantasy image composites on this is a project I'm still working on so you can see the rest the cards at the new millennium tero dot com and I'll show you now kind of a little, just very briefly in the studio. This is me working in the studio. This was an assignment where they wanted me to composite these figures into a pre rendered to siege I image. So this flying machine is just a computer generated image, and they at the time, they were having a lot of difficulty doing computer renderings of human figures and making them look decent flying machines. No problem, but I had to photograph the figures to fit into this pre existing art. So, you know, I went into the studio and built a thing for them to sit on and tried to get it. I would shoot and then bring it into photoshopped, lay it over the other image and try to adjust it so that it would match on. I shot it on this this warm orange background because the color of the background in the the image I was going into was close to this. And I also got, like little orange highlights on the shoes, which kind of therefore to reflect the flames of the flying machine. And this hand coming out here in the corner is pulling on some monofilament, which is waving the scarf on his neck. Uh, here's, uh, this was a body double shoot in my studio, um and uh you can kind of see almost exactly the same lighting that I was using today that the flats are there in the background you can see the black cards that are blocking them the v flats from the camera and this is the shot we ended up with sometimes I have to create the studio on location so I remember there was a question about this so here in this case I'm building a, uh essentially building a studio in the backyard of the art director and we're using his swimming pool because I'm going to have the model this the one where she's coming out of the water with the guns so I laid black plastic down into the pool and I built this whole elaborate thing you see here the the rear lights now are not the flats, but they are soft boxes because I had to kind of cantor leaving them over the pool on the v flats weren't going to work, so I've got all kinds of flags and you can see here this took me all day setting up the lights and testing and doing all this and then we waited until nighttime to actually start shooting so you can see me here I'm giving the model directions and I've covered up the flash the strobe units with plastic bags because water and high voltage flash units do not mix um and that's the shot we got very similar to the lighting we use today here's that trampoline shot the again the sort of rim soft rim that's wrapping around the whole figure on she's jumping on trampoline here you can see and in the end I did I created something like this, uh, which is kind of falling off the bottom of that screen for some reason, but I made it look like she was under water. Uh, so that's that's the kind of trick you're get it get it much as you can in the photography, but then there's a lot of stuff that often happens with these two kind of, you know, created kind of surrealistic scene and you can learn more about that stuff on my website, which is www dot various dot com my blog's blogged dot dot com so check me out there and I think, uh, I think that's it for me here way have questions about anything I can weigh have questions, leave and we also so we have we still have half an hour left and the internet would love to see you do another image if you want. Okay, okay, if not, we didn't know if you want to go back to you are I've got a question for you, okay potentially lead to one, which is photos by johnny and the question is how would you let's see now? I'm I'm not sure about this question. If you need to correct skin creases, how would you go about doing that? Correct skin creases? You have anything to work on, like, like, like wrinkles we didn't, we do that on the first day we did, we did do that on the first day, so if they're not super deep and I don't have to actually take them out all together, I would just I would use the, uh, the overlay dodging kind of effect. So we made that gray overlay layer, then I just sort of dodged into the wrinkle or the crease toe. Lighten it. Um, if you really need to eliminated, you can use the normal dodging. I mean, normal retouching tools, like spot healing, brush or the healing brush to kind of cover up the crease. That would be my strategy.

Class Description

Skin. Everyone has it, everyone wants it to look good, and if you're a photographer who shoots people, you need to be able to light, shoot, and retouch skin. Hollywood photographer Lee Varis has shot celebrities, movie posters, and magazine articles where the skin has to be perfect. He is the author of the popular book Skin, and he's coming to creativeLIVE to share his knowledge with you! Lee will take you beginning to end through multiple shoots with different types of people covering how to pose and light them well, and will then cover in-depth how to post-process in Lightroom and Photoshop. You'll learn how to fix blemishes, smooth out wrinkles, and address other skin concerns so you can make your clients look their best.



Skin tones correction and portraits editing are new to me. This course provides a set of tools for me to improve my portraiture work. Lee doesn't just show you how things are done, but also the reasons for the corrections. The delivery is a bit dry because the topic is quite technical. You can have a break between lessons, if it becomes too overbearing for you. I highly recommend to take this course, if you are planning to do portraits, head shots, or even senior pictures.