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Averaging skin tones

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Averaging skin tones

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to correct wayward skin tones using the Average command and I have got this image here called Dudes on blue.jpg and it comes to us from photographer Mark Aplet of iStockPhoto.com. Notice these guys are just done with the day on the slopes I guess, skin and their windburn. So this guy has reddish areas on his cheeks and the bridge of his nose, it's kind of all over his nose and on his chin here and he has also got what might be a burgeoning pimple on his nose and then this guy has got some sort of rash on his face here. These are the afflictions of youth.

Averaging skin tones

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to correct wayward skin tones using the Average command and I have got this image here called Dudes on blue.jpg and it comes to us from photographer Mark Aplet of iStockPhoto.com. Notice these guys are just done with the day on the slopes I guess, skin and their windburn. So this guy has reddish areas on his cheeks and the bridge of his nose, it's kind of all over his nose and on his chin here and he has also got what might be a burgeoning pimple on his nose and then this guy has got some sort of rash on his face here. These are the afflictions of youth.

I must say there is something good about growing old, even though we've got the wrinkly-saggy skin that we've got to solve using the Captain Kirk-in-love effect, we don't necessarily have this. Those are days of the past for me anyway. And the fact of the matter is that this could be anything, dark skin or light skin, you could see variations between sort of oranges and yellows and reds and even really wayward colors going into blues and that kind of stuff, and you can use Average to solve those problems. You have to be aware that the Average command is a little bit odd. It's very simple in terms of its approach to things but it is also prone to strange behavior and I'll show you what I mean. Without anything selected, go to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Average and it doesn't blur anything, it just finds the average color across all the pixels inside each of the Color Channel. So it's looking for the average luminance level that is across the R, G and B channels, and then giving us back that average luminance level and filling the image with it. So, it looks like this. So, the average color apparently across this entire image is this particular shade of blue.

Interesting, so I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. There you might say, Gosh, Deke, on the face of it, it doesn't look like a terribly useful command, but before I get to why it's a useful command, let me show you some of its abrupt behavior just so you can dismiss it even more if you want to. I am going to go ahead and grab this area of red inside this guy's jacket. The average color there should be red. I'm guessing it's a shade of red and if I go up to the Filter menu and choose that first command, so now it's just Ctrl+F from here on, right to get average, that's Command+F on the Mac. Sure enough it gives us a shade of red inside there, so that's not terribly surprising.

Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification because it would be flat red without any new uncertain noise or anything inside of it. Press Ctrl+J, Command+J on the Mac to jump that to an independent layer. And now I'll press Ctrl+F or Command+F in order to reapply Average. Please tell me what is that the average of? Red? It's most certainly not the average of the area inside that layer; it's taking something else in the consideration. It isn't the background image though because that can't possibly be the average of the background image and that red. So I'll go ahead and do this. Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, let me just prove it's not the background image. I'll just take the background image and fill it with black. By pressing Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete.

Now let's go to the red layer right there, little red rectangle and press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac. Again, with this very light sort of pinkish color that we've got here. What in the world gives? My theory is that somehow transparency is mapped to a very light color and then that gets averaged into the mix. I wouldn't swear to it because sometimes things will go blue like we'll start with a group of colors that look like they are all flesh tones for example and they will turn blue on us. So we'll see this in fact. But there is a way to keep it from happening and that's to work inside of a selection outline. So just like we did with Radial Blur Filter, we work inside selections with Average. So even when we are working with independent layers like this.

All right, I'm going to press F12 in order to revert the image back to its original appearance. Let's go. Let's see what we do here. Let's first start off by defining a selection outline because we just want to limit our averaging to the faces and nothing more, and I'm going to use the Magic Wand tool. You can also, if you know how to use it, you could use the Color Range command but I haven't gone to that command yet in this series, so let's just use the Wand. And what I'm going to do is just use the default settings. Tolerance 32, Anti-Alias On, Contiguous On, Sample All Layers turned off and I'm going to click in the red area of this guy's cheek and then I'm going to go out to the Select menu, choose Similar. Keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+M or Command+Shift+M on the Mac. I'll go ahead and choose the command and that goes in and selects most of the face detail. Just to make sure I get it all, I'll go up to the Select menu and choose Similar again. And that gets me everything that I'm looking for, plus a little extra and notice that I selected some areas down here along the sides of this red rectangular area of this dude's sweatshirt and some of the areas behind his hood and all that. And if you want to get rid of those, you certainly may. Get the Lasso tool and just Alt+Drag or Option+Drag around all the garbage you want to get rid of to send it away.

I am actually going to de-select his hair and his hat that way as well. Again, I'm Alt+Dragging or on the Mac I'd be Option+Dragging around these regions to get rid of them. Who cares about this little ear? There we go. Might as well make sure this is the best selection, conceivable with the Magic Wand tool of course. All right, so next I want you to go to the Select menu and choose the Refine Edge command or press Ctrl+Alt+R, Command+Option+R. That keyboard shortcut ought to work for you, and I'm going to apply these settings right here. Notice I've got a Radius of 1, a Smooth value of 3, the default Feather value is 1, I went ahead and cranked it up to 3 and otherwise, we just have default value. So only the Feather value did I change talking in the wrong order, that's fine and click OK in order to accept that modified selection outline.

Now, you press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+ Option+J on the Mac and we'll call this skin tones. Of course, I'm jumping the layer with the Ctrl+J and I'm forcing the display of the dialog box with the Alt. Now it would be the Command and the Option on the Mac. All right, so go ahead and click OK. We have just done that so many times. I'm assuming you know what's up there. And now, if we go up to the Filter menu and choose Average, then I'm going to color their faces blue. Don't even ask where that blue is coming from because it's not part of the background image. If I filled the background image with black, this would still turn blue. If I filled it with red, this would still turn blue. So it's something to do with the transparency mask but I'm just not sure what it is. So press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac.

Here's how you take care of it. It's the remedy that counts, right? So I'll press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and click on the thumbnail of this skin tones layer to load the selection outline. Then I'll press Ctrl+H, Command+H on the Mac to hide the selection, and then I'll go out to the Filter menu, choose the Average command, Ctrl+F, Command+F on the Mac. Much more reasonable, much closer to what I thought it would be in any event. And then we just need to colorize the background image and you can do that in one of two ways, both are working with blend modes, by the way, so we are going to go to the Blend Mode pop-up menu here at the top of the Layers palette, click on it and if you choose Luminosity, you are going to replace the luminance information on the Background layer with a new luminance information and you are going to keep the wandering colors. You don't want that, so you want Luminosity's opposite, which is Color. You are going to keep the color associated with the new layer and apply it to the luminance information in the layer in the background.

So let's try that out and that I dare say is not quite what we are looking for. We have these guys with these very rosy faces now. It's over the top compensation. We've gone too far with it. So tell you what, you can break this color function down into its two ingredients, which are Hue and Saturation. So Hue is a core color. We saw that long time ago, when we talked about the Hue/Saturation command and then Saturation is how vivid that color is from gray to extremely intense.

Well, we want to ostensibly keep the original Saturation values from the image in the background. So we just want to keep the Hue from the active layer, so that's what we'll do and we get this effect right there, and that's pretty darn good. So just to give you sense, this is before with the apparent pinks that are going on inside of these fellow's skin tones and this is after. Thanks to this modification that's being applied to the Hue values only and we are accepting the original Saturation and Luminance levels. Now the only change I would make to this is, if I just feel like it's a little too pumpkiny, and I think we need to yellow it up just slightly so that we get more normalized skin tones for these specific guys.

So I'm going to press Ctrl+U or Command +U on the Mac or of course, you can go to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and choose the Hue/Saturation command. And I'm going to move that Hue a little bit. I'm just going to Up Arrow it and we'll just keep an eye on the Preview here to see how it goes. And as I increase the Hue value, we go farther and farther toward yellow. If we go too far, we are going to start getting some yellowish greenish skin going and we don't want that. So I'll take it back. Something around here for me works pretty nicely which is a Hue value of +7. So we are just slightly rotating things. Click OK, and once again, now to see what's up here. This is before and this is after. So this has done a really great job of leaching the pink out of the colors in the background. What about the Luminance? We do have these dark patches on this fellow's face that are still showing up and we have this dark mark on the bridge of this guy's nose that I'd like to take care of as well.

What do we do about it? Well, we'll approach that with another modification, another correction in the very next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

218 video lessons · 23865 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 22m 32s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced
      1m 43s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 17s
    3. Resetting the function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      6m 4s
  2. 2h 43m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      49s
    2. Low contrast, bad meter
      5m 57s
    3. Auto tone, contrast, and color
      8m 1s
    4. Cache levels and the Histogram palette
      7m 16s
    5. How the auto commands work
      10m 15s
    6. A first look at Levels
      6m 11s
    7. Target colors and clipping
      9m 6s
    8. Modifying input levels
      9m 44s
    9. Adjusting the gamma value
      7m 34s
    10. Previewing clipping
      7m 17s
    11. The futility of output levels
      4m 56s
    12. Channel-by-channel edits
      11m 54s
    13. When levels fail
      4m 34s
    14. A first look at Curves
      8m 46s
    15. Static Curves layer tricks
      7m 45s
    16. Dynamic Curves layer tricks
      7m 25s
    17. Correcting the composite image
      8m 30s
    18. Neutralizing a color cast
      6m 52s
    19. The Target Adjustment tool in Curves
      8m 29s
    20. Correcting an image in Lab
      10m 7s
    21. The Shadows/Highlights filter
      4m 18s
    22. Radius and tonal width
      8m 11s
  3. 1h 48m
    1. Edge-enhancement tricks
      1m 13s
    2. How sharpening works
      3m 48s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      4m 29s
    4. The Unsharp Mask filter
      7m 57s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      6m 25s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 47s
    7. Previewing how sharpening will print
      3m 37s
    8. Measuring and setting screen resolution
      6m 56s
    9. Tweaking the screen resolution
      4m 28s
    10. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 23s
    11. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      4m 23s
    12. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      5m 50s
    13. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 16s
    14. When to leave More Accurate off
      3m 48s
    15. When to turn More Accurate on
      4m 23s
    16. The advanced options
      7m 57s
    17. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 23s
    18. Accounting for camera shake
      7m 7s
    19. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      9m 8s
  4. 2h 16m
    1. Why would you blur?
      1m 8s
    2. Fading after an undo
      3m 27s
    3. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      5m 43s
    4. The linear Box Blur
      3m 6s
    5. Add Noise vs. Median
      4m 50s
    6. Despeckle vs. Dust & Scratches
      6m 31s
    7. Smart Blur vs. Surface Blur
      8m 13s
    8. The Motion Blur filter
      4m 33s
    9. Radial Blur's Spin and Zoom variations
      5m 48s
    10. Mixing filtered effects
      3m 56s
    11. The "Captain Kirk in Love" effect
      5m 4s
    12. Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay
      8m 50s
    13. Simulating Vaseline and film grain
      8m 2s
    14. Filling a layer with a neutral color
      2m 55s
    15. Old-school contrast reduction
      3m 39s
    16. Three steps to diffused focus
      7m 36s
    17. Averaging skin tones
      9m 45s
    18. Addressing the stubborn patches
      5m 26s
    19. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      6m 1s
    20. Blurring surface details
      3m 2s
    21. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      8m 6s
    22. Reducing digital noise
      8m 47s
    23. Striking a smooth/sharpen compromise
      4m 36s
    24. Smoothing over JPEG artifacts
      7m 38s
  5. 2h 31m
    1. Independent layers of color adjustment
      1m 7s
    2. Undersea color channels
      4m 2s
    3. Inventing a Red channel with Lab
      8m 20s
    4. Mixing color channels
      6m 55s
    5. Making shadows with Levels
      7m 5s
    6. Applying small color adjustments
      6m 0s
    7. Further modifying Levels in Lab
      8m 50s
    8. Creating a dynamic fill layer
      4m 38s
    9. Brushing and blending color
      4m 42s
    10. Working with "found masks"
      7m 31s
    11. Saturation, sharpen, and crop
      8m 9s
    12. Mixing a monochromatic image
      7m 2s
    13. Masking an adjustment layer
      4m 45s
    14. Working with Opacity and blend modes
      3m 39s
    15. Adding a black-and-white adjustment
      5m 53s
    16. The Target Adjustment tool in black and white
      6m 12s
    17. Tinting a monochrome photo
      3m 19s
    18. Introducing Gradient Map
      4m 17s
    19. Adjusting both color and luminance
      5m 44s
    20. Infusing elements with different colors
      6m 22s
    21. Adjustment layers as creative tools
      4m 33s
    22. Inverting and brightening the background
      5m 14s
    23. Blurring live, editable type
      5m 43s
    24. Hue, saturation, and darkness
      6m 51s
    25. Filling type with a color adjustment
      3m 24s
    26. Using one adjustment to modify another
      3m 21s
    27. Breathing color into the title
      3m 38s
    28. The Hue/Saturation humanoid
      3m 44s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 23s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 16s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 46s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      6m 4s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 8s
    7. Darken, Multiply, and the Burn modes
      6m 33s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with Fill
      4m 43s
    9. Saving a blended state
      4m 18s
    10. Lighten, Screen, and the Dodge modes
      8m 22s
    11. Linear Burn = Add minus white
      5m 31s
    12. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 52s
    13. Fill Opacity takes priority
      6m 19s
    14. Difference and exclusion
      5m 21s
    15. Using difference for golden highlights
      4m 2s
    16. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 8s
    17. The brush-only modes: Behind and Clear
      10m 31s
    18. Layer groups and the Pass Through mode
      8m 54s
  7. 1h 53m
    1. It's all about the presentation
      58s
    2. Moving a layer a specific number of pixels
      6m 59s
    3. Adding a pixel mask to a layer
      5m 48s
    4. Editing a layer mask
      7m 19s
    5. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      6m 19s
    6. Introducing the Advanced Blending options
      4m 45s
    7. Using the luminance blending sliders
      7m 26s
    8. Forcing through underlying luminance
      4m 32s
    9. Masking with a path outline
      5m 45s
    10. Refining a mask from the Masks palette
      7m 18s
    11. Creating and modifying a layer group
      3m 29s
    12. Establishing a knockout group
      5m 29s
    13. Fixing last-minute problems
      6m 23s
    14. Introducing layer comps
      6m 40s
    15. Exploring layered states
      6m 43s
    16. Deleting layers and updating comps
      6m 18s
    17. Saving a basic composition
      6m 21s
    18. Assigning and saving appearance attributes
      7m 15s
    19. Layer comps dos and don'ts
      7m 27s
  8. 1h 56m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
      56s
    2. Establishing default formatting attributes
      4m 5s
    3. Saving formatting attributes as a preset
      8m 5s
    4. Making a point text layer
      6m 18s
    5. Editing size and leading
      6m 44s
    6. Working with vector-based text
      6m 12s
    7. Formatting area text
      4m 16s
    8. Creating a layer of area text
      3m 20s
    9. Resizing the text frame
      4m 34s
    10. Changing the anti-aliasing setting
      3m 58s
    11. Obscure but important formatting options
      6m 31s
    12. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      8m 44s
    13. Creating a cast shadow
      6m 1s
    14. Blurred shadows and beveled text
      7m 16s
    15. Drawing a path outline
      4m 51s
    16. Creating type on a path
      6m 39s
    17. Flipping text across a circle
      3m 18s
    18. Vertical alignment with baseline shift
      4m 16s
    19. Warping text
      4m 57s
    20. Scaling your text to taste
      3m 33s
    21. Applying a custom warp
      6m 24s
    22. Creating an engraved text effect
      5m 11s
  9. 2h 17m
    1. Bending an image to fit your needs
      53s
    2. Creating a canvas texture
      6m 48s
    3. Masking objects against a white background
      5m 42s
    4. Scaling an image to fit a composition
      8m 9s
    5. Aligning one layer to fit another
      3m 51s
    6. Changing the Image Interpolation
      8m 10s
    7. Merging faces
      5m 32s
    8. Rotating the first clock hand
      7m 17s
    9. Adding hands and pasting styles
      6m 40s
    10. Series duplication in Photoshop
      4m 35s
    11. Masking objects against a black background
      6m 34s
    12. Skews and perspective distortions
      7m 57s
    13. Envelope-style warps
      9m 2s
    14. Old-school distortion filters
      8m 50s
    15. Introducing the Liquify filter
      4m 9s
    16. Reconstructing an image
      6m 55s
    17. Using the Warp tool
      5m 16s
    18. The Pucker and Bloat tools
      5m 53s
    19. Push, Turbulence, and Twirl
      6m 41s
    20. The Freeze and Thaw mask tools
      5m 45s
    21. Saving and loading a mesh file
      3m 59s
    22. Creating and applying a texture layer
      8m 30s
  10. 1h 28m
    1. Effects vs. styles
      1m 11s
    2. Of layer styles and masks
      4m 37s
    3. Everything about drop shadow
      8m 2s
    4. Adding a directional glow
      4m 39s
    5. Colorizing with Color Overlay
      5m 18s
    6. Stroke and fill opacity
      5m 48s
    7. Creating a multicolor Outer Glow
      9m 22s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 48s
    9. Contour and Texture
      4m 35s
    10. Simulating liquid reflections
      6m 28s
    11. Saving layer styles
      6m 18s
    12. Applying and appending styles
      4m 36s
    13. Saving and swapping style presets
      3m 16s
    14. The five effect helpers
      3m 47s
    15. Blending the effect before the layer
      5m 1s
    16. Colorizing a signature
      3m 30s
    17. Clipping an effect with a mask
      4m 5s
  11. 1h 50m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw in the Bridge
      5m 44s
    3. The Camera Raw 5 interface
      4m 39s
    4. Adjusting the white balance
      5m 0s
    5. Finessing and saving changes
      7m 55s
    6. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 43s
    7. Working with the Exposure controls
      7m 34s
    8. Straightening and cropping a raw image
      5m 53s
    9. Applying automatic exposure adjustments
      6m 6s
    10. Exposure warnings
      5m 44s
    11. Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation
      4m 47s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 33s
    13. Dodging with the Adjustment brush
      9m 24s
    14. Tone Curve adjustments
      6m 54s
    15. Using the Spot Removal tool
      2m 48s
    16. Removing noise and sharpening detail
      4m 5s
    17. Adjusting HSL values
      4m 18s
    18. Adjusting luminance, color by color
      4m 14s
    19. Black and white and split toning
      5m 16s
    20. Camera Raw tips and tricks
      7m 32s
    21. Correcting JPEG and TIFF images
      4m 42s
  12. 57s
    1. Until next time
      57s

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