Misc. Resources

Specified Mini-Lesson

GIMP#13 Mug Shot: Making someone look BAD (Gimp 2.8)

The core take away from this lesson is that it is possible to use the Enhance filters to exaggerate facials features such as 5-o'clock shadow. In particular, we use the Unsharp Mask, which is more commonly used to retrieve details out of a blurry or out-of-focus shot. We use the Wavelet Decompose plugin, available for download from the Wavelet Decompose plugin page. This is a very useful plugin for photo re-touching.
I used Russell Crowe for this because his slight stubble tends to be described as ruggedly handsome, but only because it is slight. As far as I know, he has never been caught doing anything terrible to warrant the inevitable mug shot images Hollywood likes when taking down its own.

Rough transcript and steps:

It happens in Hollywood all the time. Someone gets arrested and all of a sudden the papers want to post a photo where the actor who usually looks GOOD suddenly looks BAD.

The too long, didn't read version of this tip is simple. Just go to Filters - Enhance - Unsharp Mask, and up the values of the Radius and Amount. (They default to 5 and 0.5, and I changed that to 10 and 2.)

You set these, and it makes a much rougher picture, but I wanted to do a slightly more sophisticated version of this that creates a more natural, authentic-looking image.

1) Use Wavelet Decompose (standard settings)

For this, we are going to use Wavelet Decompose, a free plugin (download link above) that is very useful for photo retouching. This plugin creates a series of layers, each with a different level of the texture of the image. Together, they make the original.

Normally, these levels are used to smooth out the complexion and clean up irregularities, but we are goingto use the Unsharp Mask to heighten and emphasize those irregularities.

2) Select the head and neck with Free select tool (lasso), then switch the mode to Subtract and select away eyes. Feather selection to 5.

We only want to change the face and skin, so we select it, and deselect the eyes as they looks more realistic untouched. We will feather the selection a little so that the transitions between sharpened and unsharpened are smoother.

3) Do the Unsharp Mask with same settings (Radius=10, Amount=2) on each of the layers except the Original and the Residual.

Since the layer titled Residual has all the color and none of the texture, leaving it as is makes the end result more natural.

The end result looks much rougher, but uses only the actual stubble and facial features, simply exagerated to look both older and more "rough", as we are used to seeing in a Hollywood or political mug shot.

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