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What Program Do You Use For Photo Editing?

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#1 Caedwyr

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 11:33 AM

I'm curious what programs people use for their photo editing. I'm looking to do some changing of skin colour and hair colour and I could use a couple of pointers. I've been using Ulead PhotoImpact for my photo editing so far, but it seems to lack in a number of areas so I was hoping to get a few recommendations as to tools and techniques.

#2 Grim Squeaker

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 11:43 AM

Ideally you use Adobe Photoshop. But its pretty damn expensive...
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#3 CamDawg


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Posted 17 February 2004 - 12:03 PM

I have Photoshop, but it can be overkill for most applications. As nice as plain Photoshop is, though, I think its strength comes from the myriad array of professional plugins that can be added to it--for more money, of course. I use Photoshop primarily to either rasterize vector art or to optimize images for the web and so I do very little photo editing. We need Cliffette or TAFNKAA to drop by with a tutorial. :D That being said, I'll give this a shot.

For changing just skin tone or hair color, I've found the hardest step is just selecting the area you wish to edit. (Photoshop has a lot of tools that make it easier to select a specific area of an image such as magic wand, select color range, etc. Selection tools are certainly not exclusive to Photoshop though.) Any photo editing program that lets you select specific, odd shaped areas and then let's you edit just the selection should do it. Once you have the area selected that you want to change, it's a combination of adjusting the brightness, contrast, color balance, saturation, etc. to get the desired result. I've had little success using 'color substitution' routines in any photo editor that I've used.

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#4 JPS


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Posted 17 February 2004 - 12:52 PM

I recommend the demo version of Photoshop 7. The save function is supposed to be turned off in demo versions, but in this case they forgot it (at least in the mac demo). It only works for 30 days, though, and if you've never used it before it takes about three weeks to get used to it...

I don't know how other people do things, but this is what I would do if I wanted to change the skin colour in a picture: I'd open a new layer (layers are your friends. Leyers love you and want you to be happy) to do the actual changes in, then I'd chose the colour I want to use, let's say green (In this example, we want to colour Aerie green. Who wouldn't?). I'd set the opacity low (or do you set the transparency high? No, I think it's the other way around), about 10% or so, and then I'd paint the parts that I want to change, using the normal brush tool.

Then I'd chose a darker shade of the same colour, set the opacity even lower and put in shadows in about the same places as they are in the original picture, but since I wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway I don't think it matters. Now Aerie should be nice and green, and the original picture should still be visible. Since all the changes are in a new layer, it's possible to erase them again if they're not good enough (ideally, every single change should be in a new layer, but for some reason I always seem to get the thing I like the most and the thing I like the least in the same layer so I have to keep both of them...).

The only other tools I've really used are the clone stamp and the smudge tool – most of the changes in these portraits are done with one of them (Aerie's cleavage is copy-pasted, though. I could have done that with the clone stamp as well, but that would have felt a bit too intimate). In the first Jaheira portrait, the braids are clone stamped from pictures from some page about hair styles, and the armour is made from bits and pieces of various silver jewelry (well, pictures of silver jewelry, actually). In the Viconia picture, I only used the smudge tool, so that's basically a ten-second edit. Nalia has a little of both (smudge tool for the face and hair, clone stamp for the dress).

Umm... what was it you asked again?

Edited by JPS, 17 February 2004 - 12:53 PM.

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#5 Caedwyr

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 04:58 PM

Hmm, thanks for all the pointers. Everyone has given me some places to start. What I was hoping to do was alter the NPC portraits to have Drow versions of each of the characters. I've downloaded Aerie, Haer'Dalis, Cernd, and Korgan in drow version and I was hoping on finishing the rest. That way, when Adalon turns everyone into drow form, the pictures can be changed as well.

#6 icelus


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Posted 17 February 2004 - 05:52 PM

PaintShop Pro, while not as robust as Photoshop, has always done well for me, and it's much cheaper to boot. It's fairly similar to Ulead, with neither having any overwhelming advantages or disadvantages over the other (though I'm sure some would vehemently disagree).

BTW, who is TAFKNAA? I was thinking it was something like "The Artists Formerly Known As..." but the letters in the acronym don't line up correctly...

#7 BigRob


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Posted 17 February 2004 - 05:53 PM

TAFNKAA stands for: The Artist Formerly Not Known As Anything. She's the one who did the most recent two Aklon portraits and some icon/item art for Delainy. I'll see if I can prod TAFNKAA into doing soemthing for this bit. She uses Photoshop because she qualifies for the "student" price.

Edited by BigRob, 17 February 2004 - 06:03 PM.

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#8 BevH


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Posted 18 February 2004 - 01:56 PM

Generally speaking, I use Paint Shop Pro. But if you want to use special effects, then there's nothing like Photoshop. However, Photoshop isn't quite as user friendly and Paint Shop Pro is starting to catch up. I haven't upgraded Paint Shop Pro since version 6, so I'm not sure what the newest version can do. I know I had problems trying to use some of the special effect tools in Paint Shop Pro that can be used in Photoshop. But anyway, as has been mentioned, Paint Shop Pro is MUCH cheaper than Photoshop.
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