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Before & After

Saturday October 20th, 2007, 6 years, 9 months and 1 week ago

People sometimes ask me about my photo manipulations – how much of them is real, & how much is digital trickery. I thought I’d post a few before & after pics…I don’t know about you, but I find them interesting to look at.

Firstly is the original photo I used for Gone to Earth: Plate One. As you can see, I even gave the poor boy a new face!

Although photo manipulation, retouch & restoration aren’t my main line of work, I still do some commissions from time to time, & also like to do them sometimes just for enjoyment. I find restoration very relaxing…kind of like unravelling a big ball of tangled string (but rather more creative!), you can zone out & just lose yourself in the painstaking detail of the task.

It’s incredibly difficult to colourise a B & W photo convincingly. Sometimes you want that flat, over-painted look that has a kind of retro quirkiness, but other times you might want to bring the photo to life in a more realistic way. Skin tones are particularly hard to do. No one’s skin is uniformly one colour, you have to add those subtle variations like a little redness on the nose & maybe blueish shadows under the eyes.

A friend of mine bought a cardboard folder full of glamour photos from the 1940s & I had a lot of fun messing with them. As you can see from this example, the original has degraded with time; the mid-tones & shadows are quite flat. I’ve tried to freshen it up, not only with colour, but also bringing back some dimension with tonal adjustments, & painting in some highlights. Her face & arm are quite flat in the original so I’ve rounded them out in the colourised version with some airbrushing. The hair is still pretty flat & there was not much I could do to bring back the lost detail. I’ve added a few subtle highlights, but I didn’t want to overwork it & make it look too painted.

8 Responses to Before & After

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  1. Love the top photo, of the boy! And the glamour shot is done to perfection. Beautiful!

    Reply to Victoria Oct 20th 2007, 6 yrs and 9 mths ago
  2. alicia says: aliciabock.com

    I love seeing your before and after. Your work is so wonderful!

    Reply to alicia Oct 22nd 2007, 6 yrs and 9 mths ago
  3. alicia says: aliciabock.com

    I love seeing your before and after. Your work is so wonderful!

    Reply to alicia Oct 22nd 2007, 6 yrs and 9 mths ago
  4. Such a fascinating post! I enjoyed the before and after pictures!

    Reply to Livy Oct 22nd 2007, 6 yrs and 9 mths ago
  5. Karena (Magic Jelly) says: magicjelly.com.au

    Thank you! Glad you found it interesting!
    Alicia- thank you! – I’m a huge fan of your beautiful work!

    Reply to Karena (Magic Jelly) Oct 23rd 2007, 6 yrs and 9 mths ago
  6. Great work…!
    I know how hard this can be to do -and you do an excellent job! I especially love the “glamour shot” but I’m enchanted with the cowboy shot for some reason. :)
    xxx
    Raven

    Reply to Raven Mar 2nd 2008, 6 yrs and 4 mths ago
  7. Scott Bulger Photography says: scottbulger.blogspot.com/

    Excellent work here, and I don’t say that lightly. Keep up the great blogging too.

    Reply to Scott Bulger Photography Mar 21st 2008, 6 yrs and 4 mths ago
  8. Jamie says dream says: jamiesaysdream.blogspot.com

    Thanks for telling me that it was your photomanipulation in my blogpost, and not just a vintage photo. I have updated with a link to your blogpost.

    Reply to Jamie says dream Jun 29th 2012, 2 yrs and 3 wks ago

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