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Fixing skin tones

From: Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10

Video: Fixing skin tones

Accurate color can be important in any photographic image, but especially in pictures of people color can be especially important. And that's because we tend to be very sensitive to the accuracy of skin tones. Here for example, I have an image that was captured under relatively cool lighting. And due to a setting in the camera that was less than ideal, the image looks even cooler than the actual scene. And so I'd like to correct the actual color here, but I want to focus my attention on the skin tones.

Fixing skin tones

Accurate color can be important in any photographic image, but especially in pictures of people color can be especially important. And that's because we tend to be very sensitive to the accuracy of skin tones. Here for example, I have an image that was captured under relatively cool lighting. And due to a setting in the camera that was less than ideal, the image looks even cooler than the actual scene. And so I'd like to correct the actual color here, but I want to focus my attention on the skin tones.

Photoshop Elements actually includes an adjustment that is specifically aimed at correcting the color in images. When skin tones are our primary concern. To get started with this adjustment, I'll choose enhance, and then adjust color followed by adjust color for skin tone. When I choose this command, the adjust color for skin tone dialog will appear. The first thing I want to do to start my adjustment is to click on an area of the image that represents skin tones.

And I'll usually want to try to find an area of the subject that represents a good average color for the skin. So for example on the forehead here, or on the nose perhaps, and that will give me a basic adjustment. You can see that the color has been shifted, in this case warming up the scene quite a bit. But then I can fine-tune the controls in order to produce a better result. If I'm not happy with this initial adjustment, of course, I can click on a different area of the image. And as I click on different skin tones, you can see a slight shift in the overall color.

But once I think I have a good starting point, I can fine-tune the sliders in the adjust color for skin tone dialog. I'll start with tan, which can increase or decrease the appearance of relatively tanned tones in the skin. What that really means is that we're adding a little bit of a yellowish brownish element to the image. So as I adjust the slider, you can see that the image gets a little bit of a warmer appearance. And as I move to the left, you can see it cools off a little bit. So I can adjust that tan setting. I think maybe right about there will work pretty well. And I can also adjust the Blush slider, and this is in effect the pinkishness of the image.

If I increase, you'll see that I get a little bit more of a blue to purple type of tone in the image. And if I reduce the value for blush, you'll see that we start to get a little bit of a more greenish appearance in the image. I want to be careful to not get the skin tones too pink, but right about there looks to be pretty good. I can also fine-tune the ambient light. This is a temperature adjustment allowing me to cool off the image or warm it up, shifting between more of a bluish tone and more of a reddish tone. You might have noticed while adjusting the tans slider the temperature slider is also adjusting. So in most cases you probably don't need to worry about the temperature slider too much.

But it can be helpful to adjust it a little bit, explore what adjustment might be ideal for the image. In this case I do think I'd like to warm things up just a little bit. Right about there looks to be reasonably accurate I can then fine-tune the tan and blush sliders as needed and that looks to be pretty good. As always when I'm working with an adjustment like this it can be very helpful to turn off the preview checkbox to see the before version of the image. And then turn the preview image checkbox back on so that we can see the after version.

I think at this point, I have a much improved version of the image. The colors are looking much much better, and my focus of course has been on the skin tones. And thanks to the specific controls available in adjust color for skin tone, I'm able to get a great result with relative ease. All that's left to do is click OK and the adjustment is finalized for the image.

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Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10

35 video lessons · 436 viewers

Tim Grey
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