In a previous post, we’ve already covered an essential post-production technique that can help colourists to fix up skin tones and remove skin blemishes in DaVinci Resolve 12 on multiple occasions. Typically, you can easily do so by isolating the skin in a mask and then reduce the Midtone Detail. The problem with this approach, however, is that it also smooths out the texture of a talent’s face and could make it even look too unnatural and “plastic” in a way. In the comprehensive video tutorial below, colourist Dallis Swiatek from Deep Color Media reveals an alternative workflow for getting even skin tones in Resolve 12.5.
In a nutshell, Dalis suggests isolating the colour detail of the face by utilising a Layer Node and then mixing it with another layer that is essentially a key of the skin tones. In other words, Dalis first extracts the detail and then by using a series of nodes brings back the sharpness detail of the image by controlling the amount of the applied effect. On top, he creates a “dodge and blur” layer that adds more depth to the skin tones.
To start off, you need to create a new node and then turn that into a layer node. After selecting the bottom layer, you have to access the Blur settings and make the image blurrier. Then go to the Layer mixer and by right-clicking navigate to Compound Mode and select Subtract.
This way you’ll be able to isolate the detail in a separate layer that can later be applied back to the image. Additionally, you can create a new node tethered to the Layer Mixer and desaturate it. This way you will eliminate the colours and preserve only the sharpness of the image. To control the extracted sharpness separately, you will need the following node structure.
The final step of the process is to create a separate matte key of the skin tones and mix in the sharpness detail layer with it. Now, even by reducing the Midtone Detail of the key node, you’ll still have enough detail along with glowing skin and more life-like looking image.
Ultimately, as long as you keep a layer that has the sharpness detail, and you mix it back with the image, you will be able to preserve more skin detail and texture and have greater control over your images. As Dalis points out, this technique can be extremely efficient, especially for close-ups and mid-shots when getting even skin tones could be essential for your project.
[source: Dallis Swiatek]
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