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Chapter 8. Color Correction > Adjusting Skin Tones

Adjusting Skin Tones

You might be thinking that I'm going to give you some kind of magic formula for creating great skin tones (kind of like what I did with grays), but if I give you just one formula, then every skin tone in nature's vast diversity would look identical in your images! I'd much rather show you how to get a unique formula for each color of skin you might run across—Asian skin, olive skin, sun-burnt skin, fair skin, and all the different shades of black skin. Even better, we can do all that without trusting your monitor at all. (Of course, they will still look good on your screen, but unless you've calibrated your screen using a hardware device, then you shouldn't make critical decisions based on your screen image.)

Literally dozens of companies, such as Stockbyte, sell royalty-free stock photography. If you call these companies and ask for a catalog of images, they'll be more than happy to send you a really thick book chock-full of images (it will either be free or they might charge you for shipping and handling). At the back of that book will be a CD that contains tiny versions of those images, complete with the stock photo company's logo slapped in the middle of it so you'd never use it for a real project. But we don't care about that, because right now we're after something else—most of them contain a veritable treasure trove of flesh that you can transform into your own personal stockpile of skin tones. So, flip through one of those wonderful catalogs, pick the person who has the skin tone that best matches your needs, and then open the corresponding image from the CD at the back of the catalog. Next, use the Eyedropper tool and click on an area of the skin that is a medium brightness (Figure 8.14). Now click on your foreground color to see the RGB formula needed to create that exact color.


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