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Wedding Photo Skin Correction

Jul 22, 2012, 23:59 (This post was last modified: Jul 23, 2012 00:10 by 5april2063.)
Post: #1
Wedding Photo Skin Correction
Hi, everyone!

I've been color-correcting a wedding photo I took, and I encountered a strange "rainbow skin" problem that I can't find online and can't fix. More on that later... For some context:

I do wedding videography as a side business, and I ended up snapping some photos at a recent wedding, as well. Now, I'm trying to fix and enhance the images I got, but GIMP is still pretty foreign to me.

I went to school to be a movie director, so I got some training regarding image color-correction, but that was on a video-oriented program, not GIMP or Photoshop, etc.

Here's an album with the original image and a sample of the finished look I want, plus the current image I'm struggling with.

Notice the rainbow of colorful pixel blotches across the skin on the bride's arm, most prominently, but also on the groom's skin. To bring it to this point, I used two different layers. One for the artificially blurred background, and one for the bride and groom. For both, I adjusted "Levels" to make the whites whiter without blowing out, and the blacks darker. Then I used "Color Balance" to remove a blue cast from the image, particularly in the mid-tones and shadows. After that, I saturated the image, tweaking individual colors to remove any additional color cast. For the background, I used a Gaussian Blur, then made a cutout to the less-corrected layer with the couple.

The problem with the couple is that, when I adjust levels and remove color cast, the rainbow pattern on the skin emerges. The photo was originally quite dark, so I have to brighten it to make it at all usable.

The look I'm going for is a SLIGHTLY over-saturated "more colorful than life" look, but not so much so that, to the un-trained eye, it's obviously been tampered with.

How can I correct the image to remove the rainbows from bride's and groom's skin so I can continue with the image enhancement? Is there any way to save it?
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Jul 24, 2012, 22:58
Post: #2
RE: Wedding Photo Skin Correction
(Jul 23, 2012 10:29)ofnuts Wrote:  I think you are hitting the 8-bit/channel limitations of Gimp. When working on levels/colors these show up pretty fast. Basically, each step maps the 256 values in a channel to another set of values, which cannot be bigger than 256 and very often is significantly smaller. After a couple of manipulations you end up with 50 values... The only way to work properly in this case is to use the Curves and get it right in one transform for everything, level and color balance.

Personally for this kind of job I use software more suited for photo editing, that can use 16-bit/channel(*), thus gives a bit more leeway...

(*) next Gimp will support 16/32/and floating-point colors.

I'll give it a go! Thank you for the info.
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