Surreal Portrait and Beauty Photoshop Retouching With Kelly Robitaille | RGG EDU
Photography Tutorials From The Best In The Business

Surreal Portrait Retouching

Establishing a revered and unmistakeable style is a paramount measure of success for any artist. Canadian photographer and retoucher, Kelly Robitaille has accomplished this feat with her celebrated Whimsical Waif Portraits. On the surface Kelly’s work is dark, surreal, and full of emotion, but it’s more than big eyes and dark imagery that have provided Kelly such artistic success.

In this tutorial Kelly Robitaille unveils her entire creative workflow for taking surreal and whimsical portraits from concept to realization. Beginning with a concept, Kelly stresses the importance of giving her subjects backstory to create a narrative and enhance character-driven emotion within her images. She then dives into the technical side of her work demonstrating a number of Photoshop tools in interesting and unconventional ways specific to her style, yet easily translated into nearly any style or genre. Using common Photoshop practices like dodge and burn, frequency separation, compositing, blend modes, the liquify tool, and puppet warp, Kelly’s workflow provides a fresh look at retouching as an artful practice more than a trite and repetitive process. Kelly teaches how to manipulate human form with purpose, invoke emotion with characters, and use textures to create depth and atmosphere within images. Finally Kelly challenges you with a homework assignment, providing a RAW image and character story to create an image of your own.

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General Overview

  • 21 Video Sections 
  • Instant Digital Download
  • English Closed Captions Included On Every Video 
  • HD 1080p Quality
  • Universal MP4 for PC, MAC, & Airplay
  • Includes Retouching Assignment
  • 3 RAW Files Included
  • 25 Free Texture Overlays Included ($99 Value)
  • 3 Custom Actions Included
  • 1 Photoshop Brush Included
  • 2 Full Retouching Workflows Included
  • Learn To Create A Vision
  • Learn Kelly's Entire Waif Workflow
  • Learn To Deal With Negative Feedback
  • Learn Facial Enlargements
  • Learn Creative Liquify Techniques 
  • Learn Background Cleanup
  • Learn Kelly's Skin Cleanup Methods
  • Learn Frequency Separation
  • Learn How To Dodge & Burn
  • Learn Color Grading
  • Learn The Puppet Warp Tool
  • Learn To Apply Texture Overlays
  • Learn To Make Painterly Portraits
  • Learn To Enhance Emotion
  • Learn New Surreal Portrait Retouching
  • Financing Available For US Residents

Meet Your Instructor

How To Finance

We have teamed together with some of the world’s best instructors to create the most comprehensive photography tutorials available on the Internet today. We shoot everything on-location in a documentary style to give you the sense of being on-set with our instructors and their teams. Our goal is for you to learn through example by watching the instructor’s entire workflow and listening to the thought process that goes into creating professional images. It's our mission to cut out the frustration and guesswork from your workflow by offering you a solid foundation that concentrates on the WHY and not just HOW things are done. Nothing is scripted, nothing is rehearsed, but everything is planned. When you start one of our tutorials you are going on an immersive learning experience that is exclusive to RGG EDU.

Explore The Tutorial


Getting Started


Entire PS Workflow 


Entire PS Workflow


RAW Image Assignment

Video Preview: Creating A Teardrop


Getting Started

Section Overview

  • 01 - Getting Started
  • 02 - Perspective On Portraits

Free Video: Creating A Teardrop

Bluebird Retouch 

In Studio Essentials

Section Overview

  • 01 - Retouching Plan
  • 02 - Facial Enlargements
  • 03 - Liquify
  • 04 - Background Cleanup
  • 05 - Skin Cleanup
  • 06 - Frequency Separation
  • 07 - Dodge and Burn
  • 08 - Color Grade
  • 09 - Puppet Warp
  • 10 - Final Textures

Video Preview: Creating A Teardrop


Full Retouch 

Section Overview

  • 01 -Facial Enlargements
  • 02 - Liquify
  • 03 - Background Cleanup
  • 04 - Skin Retouching
  • 05 - Color Toning
  • 06 - Enhancing Emotion
  • 07 - Final Textures

    Free Video: Creating A Teardrop


    Now It's Your Turn

    Section Overview

    • 01 - Homework Assignment
    • 02 - Negative Feedback

      Before and After

      Use the sliders below to view before and after photo created within this tutorial on your computer or mobile device. This is a composite image, so multiple files are used to create one final image.



      About the Instructor

      Kelly Robitaille
      Portrait & Beauty Retoucher

      Kelly Robitaille is a Canadian based retoucher residing in Ontario. She is widely known for her Whimsical Waif series and big eyed portrait retouching style that gives her subjects a fairytale like look. Her non-traiditonal approach to retouching and photography have given her a unique style and look that is instantly recognizable as her own.

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