Retouching a picture Retouching can be considered the act of blending in those colors that make a seamless presentation.

It is often used to correct for blemishes on a person’s skin, or the “red-eye” effect that can occur with flash photography. It is also a restorative process for photos or other source artwork that has some areas that have been compromised by handling or scratching, etc. The retoucher will use their judgment to restore the colors to segments of the picture that tend to reconstitute the image as it was before being damaged. Two application programs that are useful in retouching will be discussed, MS Paint and JASC's Paint Shop Pro. Because the specific technique useful for a given project will call upon a series of complex and arcane steps, only an overview of the capabilities of these two applications will be discussed. The user is encouraged to become familiar with the basics of the program you intend to use – to experiment with some of the steps relevant to a chosen retouching technique – to call on the “Help” files to obtain guidance on how to use the features, etc. The two applications have some tools that are similar, and the principles of operation have commonality. The “eyedropper” tool is used to sample color from the source artwork or from a color palette. There are a variety of application tools for applying this color to the areas you choose. You can create a custom palette of colors, or you can “measure” the color that has been sampled by using “custom colors.” The measure of a color is defined by its saturation, intensity, and hue. In regard to the colors that appear on your screen, they are defined by a “triad” of the colors red, green, and blue (RGB), with the intensity of each defined by an eight-bit number. The decimal value of this number ranges from zero for black, or absence of intensity to 255 for the maximum intensity of that basic RGB color. Note that a specific color includes an intensity value for each of the colors red, green, and blue. Oftentimes, there will be an equivalent of the decimal value stated in some other way, perhaps as a two-character hexadecimal number or as a character symbol that is part of a defined character group that has a corresponding number between 0 and 255, as in an ASCII (American Society for Character Information Interchange) code. Regarding hexadecimal numbers in relation to decimal numbers, F in hexadecimal corresponds to 15 in decimal and FF corresponds to 255. Hexadecimal is a base-16 counting system, and decimal is a base-10 counting system. Hexadecimal has features that make it convenient to use with computer systems and with characterizing intensity levels of the RGB color triad. Either application can be used to insert chosen colors into areas that need retouching. MS Paint allows you to place discrete colors within any pixel. It allows you to sample the color existing within a given pixel and apply that color over one

or more pixels in patterns that are governed by the application tool. It also allows you to sample a rectangular patch of pixels, over which the colors may vary, and replicate that patch wherever you wish. Paint Shop Pro has application tools that allow you to sample a color and apply it in a manner in which the density of the applied color is greatest at the point of application and diminishes as you get farther from the point of application. In other words, the application tool can be much like an airbrush, with the greatest density under the spray nozzle, and an overspray that can be adjusted by settings. Paint Shop Pro also has a layering feature that lets you determine the relative opacity of either layer – that is, you can make a custom layer with a pattern of applied colors that have a tendency to correct the source artwork, and determine later how much influence this layer should have in the evolution of the final image. In general, the custom layer overlays the source artwork in the temporary image seen by the program. You can manipulate the pattern of color and it’s density, as well as control the transparency of this layer so you can obtain the desired result. When satisfied with the result, save the temporary image to a permanent image file.