Monday, 14 January 2013

Monday how-to: Doctoring pictures.

Oh yes, I'm going to go there. Most bloggers do it, but won't tell you why, or how to do it yourself.
I mostly use post-production for my Youtube thumbnails, and I do everything from changes in lighting, to airbrushing, to darkening up my mascara and whitening my teeth. Why? Because I'm vain, why else? Look deep down inside yourself and I'm certain that -most- of the population would do it too, for the same reason. do I do it? Well, I use an online tool, and I use Photoshop CS3 (outdated, I know, but I really like it and the newer ones just aren't the same). is the online tool that I use for all of my image effects, because it has everything I need in one place, doesn't require me to post the finished pic anywhere online, and to use all of the "Royale" effects, it only costs me $5 per month (there is a free version that has less tools). Photoshop I mainly use to add text to the image once I'm done in picmonkey. I have a tonne of fonts on my computer, and there's always one to suit every image.

Let's have a look at a before and after, just to illustrate what the tools are capable of:

 This is the thumbnail image for my last video tutorial. The thing about YouTube thumbnails is that you're looking to present as professional a look as possible, to make people think that your videos are worth watching before they ever click on it. I know it's working because the view count on this video is way up on all of my others (at least double the next best one).
So the original image is ok, it's a little dark, perhaps, and the product I'm promoting doesn't stand out as well as I'd like it to.
In picmonkey, I adjusted the lighting, bringing the highlights way up to make the brush stand out. Then I airbrushed my face, darkened my lips, cheeks and lashes, and brightened my eyes. I also used the "hair highlights" tool to add a tiny bit of volume to my hair.
Once that was done, I took the image over to photoshop and added the text in the top right corner.

I think you'll agree that it makes for a much more professional finish. People looking to others to teach them about beauty and cosmetics are looking for someone who looks flawless, and it definitely helps if the thumbnail or opening image is a damn good one.

On the side, I have an amateur photography thing going, and I use picmonkey a lot to improve lighting on my finished images. For glamour photography, the airbrush feature comes in really handy. There is even a "wrinkle remover"!

So as "controversial" as image doctoring is, I do believe in honesty above all else, so I decided to share it with you guys, because maybe some of you will get some use out of it too!

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