Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes


Possibly the title of this post will lead you to expect some revelation about salacious goings on during photography sessions. Maybe we'll post something of the sort sometime.  But actually we're going to show you a little about how we prepare the files for posting on Arvod. We're working on a set of Candi Blows, which will be the next update.   Live from 9/06/2016It was shot principally using available light. The photographer actually lugged his hugely heavy, high voltage, flash generators, heads and stands,  up flights of stairs into the apartment, but in the event he couldn't balance the output with the relatively low level of available daylight. So he went with the available light only. The natural light from the windows was attractive but it did not light a standing figure evenly. The level of illumination fell off from floor to ceiling. In conventional analogue photography on film that would have been fatal. The results would have been irretrievably badly lit and would not possibly reproduce well in a magazine. But digital photography is incredibly forgiving.The image of Candi (file 152) at left below shows the image as it has emerged from the first conversion. The 'raw' image has had the white balance set, the white point, mid point and black point set, and the curves adjusted. Especially when the image will only be output to be viewed as a screen image it's already reasonably acceptable. But in digital any defect is easy to put right after the exposure. The right-hand image shows the same image after it has been adjusted in Photoshop. This gives the possibility of adjusting the tonal separation and density in selective parts of the image. So the upper face and forehead have been brightened. The highlights in her hair lightened also. Meanwhile the pubic area and upper thighs have been darkened with better contrast to show the form. The torso has more contrast while the mid point has been raised to keep and enhance the show-through of her skin through the sheer fabric. And brightened especially in the area of her breasts. Then any blemishes in the skin have been retouched. This has to be done painstakingly bit by bit. We have limits to what is necessary or acceptable. We don't want a totally airbrushed look. Candi is a real woman and the photography has to preserve the sense of actuality. As it happens, Candi has a small birthmark just above her pussy. It would be easy to remove. But would the image still be Candi? However a shadow that falls under her eye or a small pimple or minute scar can reasonably be removed without destroying the authenticity of the image.  We believe.

The thumbnails at left will open to a full frame gallery of two images which makes it easier to compare the versions as the slideshow plays one after the other.  The point though is that Photoshop retouching should be invisible. If there is any sense that an image has been retouched, the retouch has already failed. Below the two versions of file 151 are enlarged to compare. Here tiny blemishes, creases and shadows are replaced by cloning similar textured skin. There's no short-cut to doing this. It has to be done on the image at 100% or greater.  Each mark is removed a few pixels at a time, without destroying the texture and character of the skin.

All of this takes time, however. Say 3 minutes on the initial adjustment, 5 minutes to adjust curves layers through layer masks, and 10 minutes to retouch. Of course if we had only one file to do we could spend far longer. But when we have a hundred images to do for one set, that already amounts to around 30 hours sitting in front of a screen.

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