How to Retouch Skin in Photoshop?

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Any business working with models need to make sure that they have flawless skin. Unfortunately, the ‘warts and all’ approach doesn’t win you many followers. You have to break out the editing equipment and start retouching.
There are many ways to retouch skin. A recent experiment asked 18 designers from different countries to Photoshop the same model and they all came up with different results. But by far the easiest way to do this is through the touch-up layer technique. This tutorial is going to show you how to go about retouching skin in Photoshop.

Step 1 – Keep in Mind the Limitations


The touch-up technique will not completely manipulate a person to be someone they are not. It’s designed to take away those rogue pieces of hair, extra makeup flakes, and dust. For most businesses, this will be enough to get the picture they want.

Step 2 – Setting the Stage


Begin by taking your layer, which in this case is your image, and then add an empty transparent layer over the top. The tools you will be using for the tutorial will be the clone stamp and healing brush. Occasionally, the spot healing brush will come in handy for a reasonably uniform area.

Make sure that you select the Sample All Layers option when using any healing brush. The clone stamp should be set for sample and Current & Below.

The optimum hardness for these brushes is 50% to 75%. Softer brushes tend to create too much of an artificial softness. You don’t want your retouching to seem unnatural.

Step 3 – Removing the Worst


Start with your healing brush and start working on the empty layer. Zoom in and make sure that your brush is just larger than the blemish you want to get rid of. Look at the way the skin is flowing, such as the texture of the forehead. Take note of any changes in skin tone. The area you should be selecting is the one that’s as similar as possible to the area you want to touch up.

Click on the top of the blemish with your sample. Don’t sweep, paint, or make multiple clicks. Just click away the most obvious problems at this stage. If you are going over a large area, you’ll have to keep going through the resampling process.

Step 4 – Touching Up with the Clone Stamp


Sometimes you may find that the healing brush isn’t good enough or isn’t giving you the results you expected. In this case, you need to take a look at the clone stamp tool. This is better for dealing with strands of hair and removing makeup lines.

Set opacity to about 20% and sample an area as close as possible to the area you want to fix. You are essentially going to be cloning the area next to the blemish. Just click or paint away what you need to remove.

Step 5 – Removing Wrinkles


If all you want to do is remove a few fine wrinkles, use the clone stamp tool again. The key here is to touch up the wrinkles slightly more than you want to make it look as natural as possible. Then you should lower the opacity of the touchup layer. Change the opacity until some of the wrinkles come back.

Remember that sometimes keeping a slight hint of wrinkling in can make a picture seem more realistic.

Be Adventurous


The beauty of this method of touching up is that you can play around with it as much as you like. You use the blank layer on top so you can easily erase different parts if you don’t like a correction. There are no changes to the underlying image, so you can always get the original back if you want to start again.

Another tip is to potentially bring in a layer mask on the blank layer for blending purposes. By playing around with different blending techniques, you can achieve more or make things seem subtler. It’s really up to you because it depends on what you want to achieve.

Corporations may decide to opt for a more realistic look because they don’t want a team profile picture to look as if it was professionally shot. They want a more realistic look.

On the other hand, someone shooting a photo for personal reasons may decide that they want to go all out and give themselves flawless skin. This takes some getting used to, but when you master these techniques they will get easier to implement.

How will you use retouching on your photos today?


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