Pleasing skin tones - non-Photoshop folks?

MusetekMusetek Toothy grinsPosts: 42Registered Users Big grins
edited July 3, 2009 in Finishing School
Mea culpa, I couldn't find any of the threads which I don't doubt have addressed this before. Please forgive me.

I've read the Pleasing Skin Tones tute in the Help pages, and it looks great. However, I don't use Photoshop currently, and I've been resisting it for years... plus I don't have a spare $800 lying around (and if I did, there's that one lens I have my eye on - you know how that goes). I've been using Paint Shop Pro forever, and so far the only thing it hasn't been able to do for me is convert a business card image into CMYK to send off to the printers. I've been perfectly happy using the software I know so well.

Of course, the aforementioned tutorial is all about CMYK and there's no way in PSP to mess with that. Doh!

Do any of you fine folks have a way to achieve the same reliable results outside of Photoshop? Is it doable in Photoshop Elements, for instance?

All help greatly appreciated.
http://pomeroy-photography.com

http://pomeroyphotography.smugmug.com

Universe halted: reality.sys not found (that's old school!)

Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 20,849Super Moderators moderator
    edited June 12, 2009
    Musetek, welcome to the Digital Grin. clap.gif

    I believe that starting with Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 and forward it does support CMYK. Be careful to check machine requirements if you are upgrading. (X2 requires a fairly modern Windows machine.)
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    In RGB, green should be at least as high as blue (same thing as Y at least as high as M) and red higher than either (same thing as C being less than M and Y.)

    RGB is CMYK, close enough for these purposes. Where there is cyan there is no red, so more red means less cyan. If there is more green there will be less magenta. Etc.

    See this thread.
    If not now, when?
  • MusetekMusetek Toothy grins Posts: 42Registered Users Big grins
    edited June 15, 2009
    Thanks for the responses, guys, and sorry I took so long to get back to you (gone over the weekend). And thank you for the welcome!

    So, I can now report that PSP X2 does not support CMYK. It mentions it in the Help, but doesn't actually let you do anything useful. Doh. I thought this was the case (I've been using it for almost a year), but figured it couldn't hurt to double check - no dice.

    I was quite excited to start messing with the RGB values as described above, hoping that this would be the answer I was looking for (and no need to buy more software - not to mention learn to use it). The best PSP offers is an adjustment to RGB by percentages (all start at a nominal value of 0 and you go from there), but the problem is you're playing Russian Roulette, as you don't know what values you're really starting from. There is a Histogram palette, but it's display only and doesn't really give meaningful values, just an overall "Blue is too high, and Red could go up a bit" sort of thing. The worst is that although the Histogram does update when you make RGB adjustments... I have no clue what it's telling me. And not because I can't read a chart - the darn thing is just about as clear as mud. Really not helpful.

    I tried messing with some images to see what kind of results I could get, and I could definitely see where improvements could be made. I even managed to make improvements in a few cases, but as I say it was all very hit and miss. And very time consuming as a result.

    So. It looks like I've finally found something that PSP can't do for me, and it's a big one.

    My question then becomes: can anyone tell me if color correction is something that can be done in Photoshop Elements, or am I going to have to shed bitter tears, have a nervous breakdown, and somehow find the money for its big brother?

    (Yes, I know that in an ideal world I'd just bite the bullet, but... 'nuff said.)
    http://pomeroy-photography.com

    http://pomeroyphotography.smugmug.com

    Universe halted: reality.sys not found (that's old school!)
  • arodneyarodney Major grins Posts: 2,005Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 16, 2009
    Musetek wrote:

    So, I can now report that PSP X2 does not support CMYK.

    I was quite excited to start messing with the RGB values as described above, hoping that this would be the answer I was looking for (and no need to buy more software - not to mention learn to use it). The best PSP offers is an adjustment to RGB by percentages

    Fine and much better and easier than using CMYK values that have no relationship with the data you're actually working with. This has been discussed here in the past. There's a slew of old timers who believe that CMYK is the way to do this despite my reservations. Plus its a heck of a lot easier to deal with three values than four. So look at this example to see that indeed, RGB percentages (this being Lightroom) are as predictable as using CMYK as long as you realize how different people's skin tones are and your mileage may vary:

    http://digitaldog.net/files/LR_Skintone_Ratio.jpg

    All the skin here is from known, well output examples, meaning, I know the values are sound. As you can see, the ratio is approx. 10% from R to G to B, even with an ethnic mix as seen in these examples.

    Another tip. Build collections of skin tones you know are good (they preview correctly in ICC aware applications or output as you desire). Use them as visual guides and work not by numbers but by using your eyes and aesthetics on a calibrated display. Leave CMYK numbers for those printing to CMYK devices (printing presses). Its the devils color space*


    *Old saying: God created RGB, Man created CMYK; which would you rather use? [G]
    Andrew Rodney
    Author "Color Management for Photographers"
    http://www.digitaldog.net/
  • MathemAddictsMathemAddicts Big grins Posts: 14Registered Users Big grins
    edited July 3, 2009
    I also have read the help section of SmugMug concerning a way to get better skin tones. The problem that I have is the suggestion to convert from RGB to CMYK and then back to RGB. I would like as little destructive editing as possible and these conversions seem to be doing too much destructive editing. Is this true?
  • arodneyarodney Major grins Posts: 2,005Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 3, 2009
    I also have read the help section of SmugMug concerning a way to get better skin tones. The problem that I have is the suggestion to convert from RGB to CMYK and then back to RGB. I would like as little destructive editing as possible and these conversions seem to be doing too much destructive editing. Is this true?

    Its true its terribly destructive just in terms of the color gamut loss (time spent and, outside of 16-bits or original data, other data loss). And there's no reason to do so. Do the work as suggested above in the Raw converter. Faster, no data loss, parametric editing.
    Andrew Rodney
    Author "Color Management for Photographers"
    http://www.digitaldog.net/
  • jfriendjfriend Scripting dude-volunteer Posts: 24,828Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 3, 2009
    I also have read the help section of SmugMug concerning a way to get better skin tones. The problem that I have is the suggestion to convert from RGB to CMYK and then back to RGB. I would like as little destructive editing as possible and these conversions seem to be doing too much destructive editing. Is this true?
    Though you could just read the rest of this thread and use RGB values instead, you can also get a CMYK readout in Photoshop without converting the document to CMYK. Just set a color measure point and change the read-out of that point to CMYK. You are correct that you should NOT convert your document to CMYK and back to sRGB because that can be desctructive.
    --John
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