I have three small WIPS going, but I thought I would share this for today. I had to finish it, and it is creative. LOL. I did sort of “paint” a large portion of it.
To begin, here is the original I was given.
Take notice of the missing right shoulder, the lines to the right of the face, and on top. The smudgy dark shadows on her right cheek. And of course there is the huge blob that is the main issue.
I can already see, that I cleaned up the background too much. I either need to completely clean it or add some detail to the lower areas on either side. I think I will copy and paste some of the lighter lines in.
You may not see it, but I could see the outline of her hair, so I know that new section is correct. It did not match the other side, with curls.
What I did:
I have a thing about lines point at the head. I don’t like it. Unless you can clearly see it is a building, a window, or some other detail. This image so so blurred, I decided to just remove those details, to allow her to stand out better. There is also a belief about “poison arrows” in Feng Shui that sticks in the back of my mind. Bad energy.
This is missing in the original. From what I see the light is coming from the left. So it could have been cropped out, or there is something in front of her. I copied the left shoulder, flipped it horizontally, and rotated it just a tad, to match the angle of the blouse I could see.
I could see a hint of the collar. I basically had to create it, and the small button. It is barely visible in the final piece, but I think it would be too plain without it.
After the background, I worked on shaping her hair on the lower left, I erased the layer I had copied from the right until I had the bottom hair shape. You can see above how blurry the edges were (on the left). And on the right is where I painted with the background color to create a crisp edge. The very last thing (not in the photo above) I did was to go over these edges, and her neck and blouse, to soften them, so they match the blur that was in the photos already. I blurred lightly, softly. On the brush, you can select the intensity, from 1 to 100%. I was at about 15%.
I copied the right side to the left. Her left eye was distorted, and huge in comparison. I could have just pasted a smaller portion, just the cheek, but it would have taken a lot of work to fix the left eye. Even though this seems like an easy answer, there is still a ton of work involved.
The face, obviously took the most time. Above, you can see in the original, the dark shadows on her cheek and under the eyes. You can see that it has broken up, and well, looks bad. I took the brightest color from her face, and painted with a light, transparent brush, to smooth out those darks. Of course, I am losing some detail in the face, but I think it pays off.
Working around her features was very difficult. We know that the human face is asymmetrical. I did slightly rotate the copy, trying to match up to her chin, but I know I got her chin slightly too pointy, and her face is not as full as it seems in the original. You can still see the line from the copy on the nose of the smoothed photo above. Eliminating that line took for-ev-er.
I am not a portrait artist, but I could see the light was on the left, so I had to alter the copy. I think I still see some of the line in the final photo (1st one.) LOL.
I slightly tapered the eye and lips on the left, I also lightened the shadow forming the nose. Eliminated some of the shadows on the inside corner of the eye. The lips are very subtle, but can you see the difference? I did not touch her left brow, it is clearly visible in the original.
Well, I did it. Went ahead and fixed the background. I am going to look at it again tomorrow, and make adjustments if needed before I send it out. I think I still see the line in the middle of her nose.
Oops again. I took the color out (desaturated) and added a sepia photo filter. Warms it up a bit, but it not overly colorful.