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Perfect Portraits: Part Two: Postwork

Author: serpentis

Tools Needed

  • Photoshop (or similar graphics editor)


A few people have asked me to share how I create lights, especially portrait lights and images, so I've created these two tutorials, Perfect Portraits: Part One: Poser Setup and Perfect Portraits: Part Two: Postwork to help others create dazzling portrait images with your standard Poser 4/Poser Pro Pack program. Please do not ask about Poser 5 lighting as I do not have Poser 5 and have no clue how similar the lighting setup is.

What You Need:

Photoshop (or similar graphics editor)

This tutorial (well that's just a DUH isn't it!?)

A portrait scene

Used in this tutorial:

Poser 4

Victoria 3 (available at DAZ3D)

Beatrice by serpentis (available at Poser Pros)

Fighter Girl Outfit by BATLAB (available at Renderosity)

Twin Chignon by Studio Maya (available at Studio Maya's website)



I won't discuss how to set up a scene as I'm assuming you already have a scene set up and rendered that you're going to use to walk through this tutorial.

Most preview images have been shrunk down to around 500px. Most have larger images that accompany them (@1024×768) Please click on the thumbnail to view the full size image. All images open in a new window. To return to the tutorial at any time, please close the window that opens.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me or contact me at any of the sites I frequent (3D Commune, Renderosity, Poser Pros and DeviantArt), username: serpentis.


Step 1 - Open Sesame

Open your rendered file in Photoshop (or the graphics application of your choice. Most of the instructions can easily be translated to Paint Shop Pro or Gimp, etc…) Select the area of your image you wish to use and crop your image.


This is what the original image will look like before any editing.


Step 2 - Bring in the clones

Duplicate Layer 0 (or the background layer if your image has a background layer. My image was saved in PNG format and that omits any blank background from the image and opens with no background layer.


Step 3 - Blurrrrrr

On the layer you just created (Layer 0 Copy or Background Copy) use the filter Gaussian Blur (Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur.) You don't have to use the settings I used, the settings will depend a lot on your image size. The larger the image, the more blur you may need.



Step 4 - Softly go on

Set the new layer to Soft Light. This will darken your image up a bit, but it will also add some highlights and shadows.


Step 5 - All Greyed Out

Go back to your original layer (layer 0 or background layer) and desaturate the layer.


Step 6 - Fading quickly...

Fade the desaturate on the original layer. The fade amount will depend on your personal prefrence. These are just the settings I used for this image.


Step 7 - Curvy...


Create a new curves layer. In the Layers palette, there are icons at the bottom of the screen. The third one from the right will have the curves option. This creates a new, clear layer, that only adjusts the curves of the layer(s) below it. Using a curves layer, versus using curves on the image layer itself has it's benefits. 1) It doesn't change the original image, therefore if you make a mistake it's much easier to change it. 2) It allows you to “cut” areas of the curves layer out to use the original image underneath in parts.


These are just the settings I used for this image. All images are different, so you will have to experiment with the curves palette to find the settings that will work best with your image.


Step 8 - More clones...

Create another duplicate layer of your original (layer 1 or background.) This time use the filter Crosshatch. Again, the settings I used don't necessarily have to be used in your image. Feel free to play around and see what kind of look you prefer.



Step 9 - Blend...blend...blend


Set the crosshatched layer's blend mode to Screen and Set the layer opacity. This is the setting that looked good for this image. Your image may need a different opacity setting (or even a different blend mode.)



Step 10 - Even more duplicates

Create yet another duplicate layer of your original (layer 0 or background) layer. This time, you want to drag this one to the top of the pile and desaturate the layer.



Step 11 - Contrast

Now you'll want to change the brightness and contrast on the topmost layer (Image/Adjustments/Brightness and Contrast.) The level of brightness and contrast will depend on two things: Your tastes and the image you're using. Darker images may need more brightness to create highlights and brighter images may need more contrast to create shadows.



Step 12 - More Blending


Now that you have a beautifully contrasted top layer, set that layer's blend mode to either Overlay or Soft Light. I chose soft light for this image because it fit the purpose. While you're in the layer palette, you might as well play around with the layer opacity as well.



Step 13- Bring on the Noise

While you could be done with the previous step, some images look better with a bit of “grain” or noise added to them. Simply select the original layer (layer 0 or background) and add some noise. The amount of noise will differ from image to image. Smaller images will need less noise than larger ones and darker images may need more to show up. A lot of it is also personal preference.



Step 14- Finito

And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for. *insert applause here please* The finished product that I created from creating this tutorial. *grinz*