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The Dark Arts

Blend Help, Please!

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So, I made a blend for the fist time in awhile and I'm wondering which of the two finishes do you like more? Or which one is better in terms of image quality? I know I can get a bit filter happy and it hurts my graphics, and has been one of the biggest things that keeps me from going forward with promotions on other forums.


Anything else you want to touch on? Is there any other glaring mistakes or something that can be improved?


Finished version with Topaz/less sharpened, more smoothing:



Finished version more sharpened, minimal smoothing:


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first of all I love this blend it's beyond beautiful.


Secondly I prefer elements from both of these? I like the sharp edges on the model's cheek and her features to be sharper (second image) but the other aspects to be softer (first image).


I would drag both of these into your editor and layer the first image over top the second and then do a large eraser on 0% hardness and just click once or twice right over the middle! Whenever I can't decide I just combine things until I come up with something that feels right. 


But of course that's just something I would do, I think both variations are beautiful. If I had to choose just one, though, I'd pick the second one.


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