By Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP
Photographers looking to refine their retouching skills should consider adding Bodyshop: The Photoshop Retouching Guide for the Face and Body, by Birgit Nitzsche and Karsten Rose, to their library. Bodyshop focuses on practical ways to refine and improve on the human body in Photoshop, after the image has been captured by the camera. The book contains many walk-through demonstrations with straightforward before and after comparison images, as well as a bullet-point summary of what changes will be made and explained. For each topic, the authors go through a detailed step-by-step explanation of how to accomplish the retouching technique.
The layout of the book makes the examples easy to follow, or even to skip ahead in the retouch process if you already understand how to do several steps. I found myself skimming through some portions of the explanation that already made sense to me so that I could get to the techniques I needed to learn. If you are someone who learns by doing rather than simply reading about a new technique, you can download work files either from the book’s website or from the included resource DVD. The DVD contains:
• Before and after versions of the images
• Setting files
• Trial version of Nik Software
There are two ways to study the techniques in Bodyshop—you can either read through, cover to cover, or jump to the section you need the most help with by consulting the table of contents. Each of the demonstration sections is listed in the TOC, so you can effectively use this book as a reference guide when retouching. Here’s a sampling of what’s in each chapter:
• Chapter 1: Body Contours (slim legs, reduce belly, replace missing body parts)
• Chapter 2: Facial Contours (reduce laugh lines, refine nose, change facial proportions)
• Chapter 3: Eyes (adapt eye size, remove glasses reflections, opening blinking eyes)
• Chapter 4: Mouth (correct teeth, emphasize lips, add lip gloss)
• Chapter 5: Skin (improve skin texture/tone, reduce skin glare)
• Chapter 6: Hair (isolate hair from background, bring out texture, remove stubble)
• Chapter 7: Hands and Feet (emphasize age, get fingernails into shape)
At the end of each chapter, you’ll find a basic overview section to help increase your understanding of: workflow, layers, paths, blend modes, special layer techniques, sharpening and paths. Like all the demonstrations, you can quickly access these segments of the book.
Whether you choose to use “Bodyshop” as a reference guide or more of a hands-on tutorial, the techniques demonstrated are done so in a clear and concise manner, followed by an in-depth walk-through on the subject. I appreciated the detailed instructions when learning about unfamiliar techniques, and the ability to quickly review the before and after versions was helpful as a reminder of the purpose of each exercise. This book will be a great addition to any retoucher’s library. “Bodyshop: The Photoshop Retouching Guide for the Face and Body,” by Birgit Nitzsche and Karsten Rose, is available for $49.99 from wiley.com/go/bodyshop or from Amazon for $31.49.