Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 44, Learning 44: Hyper-Realistic Portraits ala Joel Grimes

This is a simplified version of Joel Grimes' hyper-realistic style of portraiture.  In terms of photographing a person, I don't usually manipulate images in this way-- whether it's Grimes, or Lee Jeffries, or Jill Greenberg-- and instagram type affects make me a wee nauseous.  But portraits are not always of people, sometimes a portrait of a person is really a product.  The person exists in the frame not reveal themselves, but to sell a product with a certain style.  And that's where these techniques are the most interesting for me.

The basis of Joel's work on the portrait side (he also does considerable work on their environment, which he photographs separately), is really pretty simple in Photoshop.  The artistry, of course, is in how you manipulate and tease out nuances, and that's just practice.  Here's the original image.

This is how it goes:

1.  Duplicate your image, as always
2.  Now add a Black and White Layer adjustment layer.  Tweak the sliders to get the best look in Black and White.
3.  Go back to your layers and set the Blend Mode to Overlay.
4.  At this point, go back to the adjustment layer and tweak the sliders to create the look you want, now that you see it in color.
5.  Put a Mask on the layer and paint in the background so it remains natural looking.
6.  Flatten layers, and duplicate again
7.  Apply a Gaussian Blur to the top layer.  Set your Radius between 10 and 20.  It'll look pretty bad, but don't worry.  Hit Okay.
8.  Adjust down the Opacity of your Blur layer to between 20 and 30 percent.  It should have a nice glow to it.
9.  Flatten and Duplicate again.
10.  On the top layer, apply a High Pass Filter (Filters - Other - High Pass).  Set your radius between 2 and 4.  Everything will turn grey with the faintest of outlines.  Hit Okay.
11.  Set the Blend Mode on your High Pass layer to Overlay.  Now you should have some sharpness to the edges, but a glow to the surfaces.  Flatten and Save.
12.  That's it. 

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