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Skin Retouching in Photoshop

Skin Retouching in Photoshop

This tutorial will help you learn how to speed up skin retouching and polish photos in Photoshop using basic techniques.

Original Photo

Original Photo

Step 1

Duplicate the background image and rename it to Layer 1.

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Step 2

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to around 4.5 pixels.

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Step 3

Change the Blending Options for Layer 1 from Normal to Soft Light and uncheck the eye to make Layer 1 invisible for the next step.

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Step 4

Duplicate the background image again and rename it to Layer 2. We’re creating an extra layer with an automatic smoothening underneath the skin, so pop it under Layer 1 and go to Image > Adjustments > Invert. Next go to Filter > Other > High Pass, set it to 4.5 pixels and for this layer change the blending options to Overlay. After doing this you can make Layer 1 visible again.


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Step 5

As you’ll see the image will be just slightly blurred and smoothen out but not the edges. On Layer 1 continue retouching using the Elliptical Marquee Tool. Circle the areas inside the face that need quick fixing, go to Filter > Noise > Median and max the pixels out to 100 pixels. To make the process faster, repeat process in all areas using Ctrl-F (Command F on the Mac). This is a shortcut to apply the last filter which just makes life so much easier for you. I would suggest applying the Median effect as much as you can before you move on to the next step.

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Step 6

Flatten Image and use the Clone Stamp Tool mixed with a Soft Brush with the Flow set to around 30% to manually select areas next to one another, blend it in as much as you can using this tool to make further improvements to the skin. What we’re doing here is sampling areas of the face to even out the skin and with this technique you will also be getting rid of the shiny stuff.

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If you find that it is getting too smooth for your liking then its really up to you to take a step back, use less Clone Stamping, drop down it’s Opacity or re-size the brush correctly. This is just a quick demonstration to give you guys an idea of how to quickly retouch photos, with more time, effort and of course accuracy you will get a much better result.

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Step 7

This step here is to quickly balance out the whole lot, to do that we need that extra bit of shadow to be added to the overall image. Go to Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlight, then set the amount of Shadow to 20% and the Highlight can be left on 0.

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Final Result

This should have helped quickly smooth the skin, even out the tone of the entire face and balance lighting. To remove just pimples check out the Remove Pimples Using the Healing Brushes and Patch Tool tutorial.

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