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Softening and smoothing skin

From: Lightroom 3 Essential Training

Video: Softening and smoothing skin

Prior to Lightroom, most of our retouching took place in Photoshop. Well, now we're starting to do much more of our retouching from right inside of Lightroom, and we're doing that because of the new Adjustment Brush. So let's take a look at how we can start to soften skin inside of Lightroom. I'll go ahead and press the K key in order to activate the Adjustment Brush and then I'm going to go to this 1:1 zoom here in order to zoom in on the face. Now one of the things that I could do is I could start to paint in softness on the face, yet there is a problem.

Softening and smoothing skin

Prior to Lightroom, most of our retouching took place in Photoshop. Well, now we're starting to do much more of our retouching from right inside of Lightroom, and we're doing that because of the new Adjustment Brush. So let's take a look at how we can start to soften skin inside of Lightroom. I'll go ahead and press the K key in order to activate the Adjustment Brush and then I'm going to go to this 1:1 zoom here in order to zoom in on the face. Now one of the things that I could do is I could start to paint in softness on the face, yet there is a problem.

We can notice that there are some small little skin variations and whenever you're softening skin, you always have to say to yourself, "clean up first, enhance second." Now we already know how to clean up. We can do that by pressing the Q key or by selecting this tool here, which is called the Spot Removal tool. And first what we need to do is we need to go through our photograph and we need to click on these little areas that we want to retouch. When I do that, you can see that it's sampling an area and it's successfully removing all of these small, little skin variations.

And so again, while we want to smooth the skin out with the Adjustment Brush eventually, we have to start out with this particular tool here. If you're not familiar with this tool, I recommend you watch the movie where we cover this so that you can have even better skin softening as you're working inside of Lightroom. All right, I'm going to go ahead and just finish this off here and just make a few little adjustments in regards to how this image works and a couple of these little skin variations, because again, we want to start with something nice and simple. A lot of times what you want to do is you want to have your brush size or your tool size in this case to be about the size of the blemish.

So it's going to be pretty small. All right, well, let's take a look at the before-and-after in regards to how we've done this. What we do here is we can go ahead and press the H key to hide all of these little circles. Then we can click on this toggle switch. Here's our before. Here's our after. Let's zoom in even further and look at our before and then after. So that's a kind of clean up work you want to do first. Next, go to the Adjustment Brush. Press the K key to select this tool or click on it in the tool strip.

Now here again, we need to reset our effect. So hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, and then click on Reset. That will take all of these effects back to 0. What we need to do in this particular case is select a brush with a lot of feather. We typically want a little bit of a smaller brush depending on our zoom rate and then a Flow amount where it's somewhere less than 100. We want to be able to build this up as we go. Now, I've zoomed in a little bit too close. So I'm going to go back to the 1:1 zoom here, and in this case, this brush size is about appropriate.

Next, I'm going to go ahead and decrease my Clarity and my Sharpness 100 points. Now as I start to do this, the adjustment won't look good. Yet, stick with me and see how we can progress through this. So I'm going to go ahead and start to make my way through the photograph. You can see I'm painting back and forth across these areas that I want to soften up a little bit, and as I do this, I'm slowly building this up. Most importantly, what I'm interested in doing is trying to have consistency across these different areas as I'm building this up.

So one of the things that you notice, as I mentioned, is that this looks absolutely horrible. Well, let's zoom in. Well, currently we can see I've smoothed this out so much it doesn't look good at all. Well, why is that? Well, a couple of reasons. For starters, we have -100 Clarity and Sharpness, but even more importantly, we have Auto Mask turned on. Whenever you're doing skin smoothing, what you have to do is turn this off. Let's go ahead and start over. So I'll zoom out a little bit, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to click on this Edit pin and then press the Delete key to remove that.

What we want to do now is go ahead and add some Clarity and also negative Sharpness. But what you need to do here is you want your negative Sharpness to be much more subtle than your Clarity. You can get away with more negative Clarity and a little bit less in regards to Sharpness. You also want to try to use nice sweeping brushstroke movements. In other words, think back to painting or shading or drawing or any of those kind of techniques. We want to keep this really nice and smooth and subtle. What I'm going to do here is I'm going to do a little bit more softening than I would be comfortable with.

But again, I'm going to do that so that you can see how this particular technique actually works. All right, well, let's zoom in. Press 2:1, and then let's flip on this toggle switch. Here's our before and then our after. Pretty subtle adjustments here. I'll decrease the Clarity even further so that you can see this more. Again, here's our before and then our after. Now another thing that we can do as we start to remove this Clarity is we can, of course, do this in a really low amount, meaning -100.

Then once we've done that, bring back a little bit more detail as we go. All right, well, I'm going to try to find the sweet spot here in regards to the Sharpness and Clarity. I'll click on the switch. Here's my before and then after. I'll zoom out to this 1:1 view, and now press the Backslash key. Here's our overall before and then the overall after. Now the one thing that I want to point out here is that when you're working on smoothing skin, you want your work to be really subtle. So what that may mean is that you're not really seeing it in this movie because the movie is compressed, and it's a little bit smaller.

But what you want it to do is to look good to your eye, to your own taste, and in particular, to your own photographs so that it looks really natural. Now just to exaggerate this a touch further just so I can convince you that there is actually skin smoothing happening, I'm going to make skin smoothing that's way too strong here. So I'm going to go ahead and increase my Flow and I have -100 Clarity. I'm going to go to deeper negative Sharpening. And again, I'm aware that I'm going over the top, but I just want to convince you that you can go further if you so desire and also show you something that's a little bit stronger in regards to the before-and-after.

So in this case, when I click on the toggle switch, here's my before and then my after. Now of course, this is way exaggerated. But keep in mind, even with this high of an exaggeration, you can, of course, dial this back, and you can find a really nice meeting point here for your softness. Now that one before and after I think would actually work. All right, final word here is what you want to do is, of course, look at your image in this 1:1 view. Then finally step back. Look all the way back and say, "have I improved the overall image?" Not just the skin, but does the image overall look better? In other words, am I drawing too much attention to my retouching? And that's what happens to us a lot.

We retouch and people notice the retouching rather than the photograph. So we want to step back, take a look at the image. Zoom back in, take a look at the image. Look at our overall before and then after and then ask yourself the tough question, "does this image look better?" If the answer is yes, commit to it, stick with it and continue to work on other aspects of the photograph.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Lightroom 3 Essential Training
Lightroom 3 Essential Training

208 video lessons · 33660 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 52s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
  2. 17m 59s
    1. Creative tip: Using Lightroom
      1m 31s
    2. An overview of Lightroom
      3m 53s
    3. Photographic workflow puzzle
      2m 36s
    4. Why use Lightroom?
      6m 25s
    5. Lightroom and Photoshop
      3m 34s
  3. 29m 34s
    1. The Lightroom interface
      3m 19s
    2. Essential interface shortcuts
      4m 50s
    3. Using the interface shortcuts
      5m 4s
    4. Customizing the identity plate and module pickers
      2m 41s
    5. Using a graphic identity plate
      4m 44s
    6. Changing the panel end marks
      2m 12s
    7. Creating a custom panel end mark
      2m 54s
    8. Changing the image background
      1m 46s
    9. Modifying other interface preferences
      2m 4s
  4. 49m 43s
    1. Importing and file formats
      4m 35s
    2. Importing preferences
      2m 36s
    3. Introducing the Import dialog
      6m 27s
    4. Catalog, import, and preview preferences
      6m 40s
    5. Importing photos from a folder
      5m 44s
    6. Creating a metadata preset
      4m 45s
    7. Importing photos from a CF card
      9m 16s
    8. Using Auto Import
      3m 53s
    9. Using multiple hard drives
      4m 14s
    10. Creative tip: Discard
      1m 33s
  5. 11m 17s
    1. Introducing tethered shooting
      3m 46s
    2. Working with tethered shooting
      7m 31s
  6. 40m 30s
    1. Working in Grid view and Loupe view
      3m 0s
    2. Navigating and zooming
      5m 14s
    3. Shortcuts in Loupe view and Grid view
      1m 39s
    4. Customizing Loupe view and Grid view
      2m 46s
    5. Comparing two images
      4m 55s
    6. Surveying multiple images
      5m 20s
    7. Working with the toolbar in Grid view and Loupe view
      3m 58s
    8. Working with folders and files in the Library module
      6m 25s
    9. Using dual monitors
      7m 13s
  7. 27m 28s
    1. Introducing catalogs
      4m 27s
    2. Working with catalogs
      3m 19s
    3. Exporting catalogs
      1m 44s
    4. Updating legacy catalogs
      3m 2s
    5. The relationship between the raw and DNG catalogs
      3m 8s
    6. Working with raw files in Lightroom
      3m 53s
    7. Working with DNG files in Lightroom
      6m 5s
    8. Creative tip: Using the right gear
      1m 50s
  8. 9m 43s
    1. Using Quick Develop in the Library module
      2m 37s
    2. Synchronizing processing settings across multiple images
      3m 32s
    3. Making incremental adjustments
      1m 45s
    4. Applying white balance and auto tone adjustments
      1m 49s
  9. 35m 28s
    1. Introducing flags, stars, and labels
      5m 0s
    2. Working with flags, stars, and labels
      6m 34s
    3. Adding images to a Quick Collection
      2m 11s
    4. Integrating collections with your workflow
      5m 13s
    5. Grouping images with collections
      3m 7s
    6. Using Smart Collections
      4m 39s
    7. Sorting images
      3m 0s
    8. Renaming images
      2m 1s
    9. Stacking images
      3m 43s
  10. 18m 44s
    1. Adding keywords
      4m 51s
    2. Working with the keyword list
      2m 51s
    3. Synchronizing keywords
      2m 26s
    4. Keywording with the spray can
      1m 48s
    5. Working with the Metadata panel
      3m 58s
    6. Adding copyright metadata
      2m 50s
  11. 17m 46s
    1. Filtering overview
      3m 49s
    2. Locking library filter options
      1m 38s
    3. Filtering based on text
      2m 0s
    4. Filtering by metadata
      6m 13s
    5. Filtering your photos using the Metadata panel
      2m 7s
    6. New filtering criteria in Lightroom 3
      1m 59s
  12. 45m 24s
    1. Exporting images
      6m 19s
    2. Export quality and watermark options
      2m 3s
    3. Exporting movies
      5m 13s
    4. External editing preferences and considerations
      2m 56s
    5. Editing preferences
      5m 6s
    6. Editing photos in Photoshop
      5m 4s
    7. Opening an image as a Smart Object in Photoshop
      3m 30s
    8. Including multiple images in Photoshop as layers
      2m 16s
    9. Merging multiple images in Photoshop
      3m 34s
    10. Creating a panorama
      2m 20s
    11. Working with a CMYK photo
      7m 3s
  13. 15m 37s
    1. Setting up Flickr services
      3m 45s
    2. Uploading photos to Flickr
      3m 35s
    3. Working with comments
      1m 49s
    4. Publishing to a folder
      5m 38s
    5. Creative tip: Visual poetry
      50s
  14. 39m 26s
    1. Develop module overview
      5m 45s
    2. Working with legacy Lightroom files
      3m 46s
    3. Comparing the before and after
      2m 33s
    4. Resetting images to their default settings
      2m 24s
    5. Using the Develop module presets
      3m 10s
    6. Using Snapshot and History
      5m 10s
    7. Using the Histogram
      4m 6s
    8. Working with collections
      4m 25s
    9. Introducing virtual copies
      2m 22s
    10. Creating virtual copies
      2m 46s
    11. Introducing the Develop module tool strip
      2m 59s
  15. 50m 0s
    1. Understanding white balance and color temperature
      3m 10s
    2. Correcting white balance with a ColorChecker
      3m 11s
    3. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 36s
    4. Creative uses of white balance
      3m 47s
    5. Demystifying the tone controls
      3m 39s
    6. Using the tone controls
      3m 45s
    7. Recovering detail in highlights
      2m 29s
    8. Working with vibrance and saturation
      4m 11s
    9. Making color adjustments with the Vibrance and Saturation sliders
      4m 28s
    10. Creative uses of vibrance and saturation
      3m 12s
    11. Understanding clarity
      3m 20s
    12. Working with clarity
      3m 51s
    13. The standard Basic panel workflow
      4m 4s
    14. Synchronizing basic settings across multiple images
      4m 17s
  16. 23m 58s
    1. Creative tip: Why crop?
      1m 50s
    2. Cropping an image
      4m 18s
    3. Straightening with the Crop tool
      3m 51s
    4. Working with the Crop Overlay tool
      3m 18s
    5. Changing the aspect ratio of an image
      1m 38s
    6. Auditioning different aspect ratios
      1m 56s
    7. Quickly changing crop orientation
      1m 49s
    8. Using Crop to improve a composition
      5m 18s
  17. 11m 16s
    1. Retouching with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 43s
    2. Retouching away dust on a lens
      3m 22s
    3. Fixing red-eye
      2m 11s
  18. 22m 59s
    1. Introducing the Graduated filter
      4m 37s
    2. Darkening a sky with the Graduated filter
      4m 31s
    3. Enhancing a landscape with the Graduated filter
      3m 33s
    4. Improving a portrait with the Graduated filter
      5m 14s
    5. Increasing color variety and saturation with the Graduated filter
      3m 50s
    6. Creative tip: Tenacity
      1m 14s
  19. 44m 2s
    1. Adjustment Brush overview
      7m 4s
    2. Essential Adjustment Brush shortcuts
      3m 33s
    3. Enhancing makeup color
      4m 14s
    4. Whitening and brightening teeth
      3m 17s
    5. Improving eyes
      5m 57s
    6. Softening and smoothing skin
      7m 10s
    7. Brightening and improving shadows
      3m 5s
    8. Darkening lips and cheeks
      3m 25s
    9. Correcting overall exposure
      3m 48s
    10. Subtly correcting exposure
      2m 29s
  20. 16m 9s
    1. Demystifying the tone curve controls
      5m 15s
    2. Increasing contrast and color with the tone curve controls
      4m 46s
    3. Correcting exposure with the tone curve controls
      4m 34s
    4. Creative tip: Shoot what matters
      1m 34s
  21. 26m 53s
    1. Understanding the HSL controls
      5m 2s
    2. Using the HSL Target Adjustment tool
      3m 44s
    3. Brightening tones with HSL
      1m 36s
    4. Using HSL to increase warm tones
      3m 4s
    5. Using HSL to increase warm and cool tones
      2m 56s
    6. Creative color with HSL
      2m 57s
    7. Desaturating color with HSL
      3m 27s
    8. Using the Color panel
      4m 7s
  22. 23m 34s
    1. Introducing black-and-white conversion
      2m 15s
    2. Understanding Black & White Mix
      2m 21s
    3. Converting to black and white
      4m 10s
    4. Black-and-white workflow with virtual copies
      3m 35s
    5. Enhancing black-and-white images with the Adjustment Brush
      3m 7s
    6. Using presets to convert to black and white
      3m 12s
    7. Creating a black-and-white collection
      4m 54s
  23. 10m 54s
    1. Understanding split toning
      3m 37s
    2. Advanced split-toning tips
      4m 10s
    3. Split-toning a color image
      3m 7s
  24. 21m 27s
    1. Introducing noise reduction
      3m 26s
    2. Introducing sharpening
      3m 42s
    3. Sharpening in Lightroom
      5m 44s
    4. Advanced sharpening in Lightroom and Photoshop
      5m 4s
    5. Removing chromatic aberration
      3m 31s
  25. 24m 54s
    1. Using the Lens Correction controls
      5m 53s
    2. Enhancing images with lens correction
      3m 6s
    3. Synchronizing vignette settings across multiple images
      2m 32s
    4. Combining lens correction, Lightroom, and Photoshop
      3m 36s
    5. Adding a post-crop vignette
      3m 57s
    6. Adding film grain with the Effects panel
      5m 50s
  26. 7m 37s
    1. Understanding Camera Calibration in Lightroom
      4m 46s
    2. Creative color with Camera Calibration
      2m 51s
  27. 38m 28s
    1. Basic Develop module workflow
      7m 28s
    2. Workflow for converting to black and white
      10m 11s
    3. Workflow project: Surfing
      6m 8s
    4. Workflow project: Portrait
      4m 58s
    5. Workflow project: Portrait details
      8m 39s
    6. Creative tip: Go outside
      1m 4s
  28. 36m 31s
    1. Creating a collection to make a slideshow
      3m 56s
    2. Selecting the best images for the slideshow
      3m 17s
    3. Customizing the layout of the slideshow
      3m 34s
    4. Customizing the background of the slideshow
      4m 14s
    5. Customizing overlay elements for the slideshow
      6m 39s
    6. Creating titles for the slideshow
      2m 27s
    7. Playing back the slideshow
      4m 24s
    8. Previewing the slideshow
      4m 0s
    9. Exporting the slideshow to different formats
      4m 0s
  29. 48m 34s
    1. Creating a collection of images to print
      3m 20s
    2. Laying out images into preset templates
      4m 34s
    3. Customizing the layout of a single image
      4m 26s
    4. Choosing page options for a single image
      6m 8s
    5. Specifying the print job options for a single image
      6m 19s
    6. Creating a custom package
      4m 36s
    7. Creating a picture package
      4m 16s
    8. Printing one image quickly
      1m 42s
    9. Creating a custom print template
      4m 34s
    10. Effective print workflow
      8m 39s
  30. 32m 3s
    1. Creating a collection of images for a web gallery
      5m 18s
    2. Using web gallery templates
      3m 27s
    3. Customizing a web gallery
      6m 49s
    4. Uploading a web gallery
      4m 19s
    5. Creating color and black-and-white galleries
      3m 48s
    6. Uploading color and black-and-white galleries
      3m 32s
    7. Online web gallery resources
      2m 53s
    8. Domain name and hosting overview
      1m 57s
  31. 3m 26s
    1. Online resources and the Lightroom Newsletter
      2m 55s
    2. Goodbye
      31s

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