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Enhancing Your Portraits

Author: SlwMtionDaylite

Tools Needed

  • Poser
  • Photoshop CS


For a while, I've had people asking me to write a tutorial on how I create my portrait series. In this tutorial are the basic techniques I took when creating my image, “Queen.” I used Poser 6 and Photoshop CS (there are filters I am not sure are available in the older versions) for this image.


Step 1 - Lighting


The most important thing, particularly for this image, is lighting. And I highly recommend getting rid of the default lighting. Almost nothing good can come from it.

Usually, I'm lazy when it comes to lighting and usually end up using preset lighting. Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you. There are some awesome light sets out there. But regardless, I choose my lighting. And sometimes,

for me, that can take a good long while depending… Sometimes, I'll find a light set that is almost perfect for the image and then set about tweaking it to fit.

Step 2 - Rendering


After I get everything set just right, I begin rendering. As I have mentioned before, I can be very lazy (and impatient), so unless I'm rendering an image that has P5/P6 only apps, I use the basic P4

renderer and avoid Firefly.

I also render big, just in case I decide to make something a print.

Step 3 - Postwork


After bringing the image into PSCS, I begin postworking.

The first step(s) are ones I use on almost every single one of my images:

1. duplicate the background image

4 times

2. Set layer modes (top to bottom):

1. Mode: Color Opacity: 100%

2. Mode: Overlay Opacity: 20%

3. Mode: Softlight Opacity: 20%

4. Mode Normal Opacity: 100%

3. Link all the duplicated layers together and merge.

4. Select Image/Adjustments/Curves and use a curve similar to this image.

Step 4 - Duplicate and Set to Soft Light


Next, duplicate the layer you've just flattened and set it to Soft Light.

Then, bring up the curves window again and input

a curve similar to this image

Step 5 - Diffuse Glow


You then take that layer and (after making sure your background and foreground colors are set to default), go to Filter/Distort/Diffuse Glow.

For this particular image I used the following settings:

Step 6 - Brighten Eyes


Something I almost always find myself doing is brightening up the eyes.

To do this, I duplicate the original background layer, bring it up top, select the lasso tool, and select only the eyes. Then I select the inverse of my selection and press delete to get rid of the unnecessary.

Next, I set the layer to ColorDodge (or LinearDodge) and get out my eraser to erase any remaining unneeded parts.

Step 7 - Touch up


Now, I'm almost finished, except for final touchups.

In the last step, you may have noticed her glowing nostrils and the unrealistic lighting between her neck and collar. Of course, this is an easy fix. Simply create a new layer, and with a small brush, paint in the areas with black (adjusting opacity as you see fit).

Step 8 - Final Results


And here is the final result.

Step 9 - More Examples


Here are a few more examples of portraits of mine using the same method as I used here.