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Okay. Another exercise in my ongoing mission to share with you some quick and dirty blur techniques that are moderately effective that gets you 60%, 70%, 80% the way, they are not all the way there necessarily but they are good enough is the moral of the story and they are very quick and they are very fast you know just take a few minutes even a few seconds so not a big time investment. And in this case we are going to start things off in this exercise by using the Smart Blur Filter in order to downplay the freckles inside of this image and then in the next exercise we are going to spend a little more time and take another swing at this image using the dust and scratches filter.
Now the name of the image is frecklesarefine.jpeg it comes to us from photographer Renee Lee and I call this image frecklesarefine for a very specific reason. The freckles are a stand-in for let's say a more serious skin problem because the thing about the freckles I mean freckles are fine, it's very unlikely that you are going to be trying to edit away freckles. But they have that quality of sort of more serious skin issues where they are densely packed and they are very difficult to get rid of and they convey some very important contour and volumetric information.
So you can't just sit there and get completely rid of them, you have to focus on downplaying them instead. So as I say freckles are fine, I have friends with freckles. The whole thing I just want to you know deflate any anger and resentment that I am going to get from the International Consortium of Freckled People or something along those lines. Alright so anyway what are we going to do? Well you could take a stab at this image with a few of the other techniques I showed you so far and each one of the techniques might or might not work is what it comes down to.
And as you gain experience with the techniques you will start to figure out which one you might want to use when but at first you are just going to kind of try them out in the order that I am suggesting them with any luck. So you start with something like Gaussian blur. You go up to the filter menu, you choose Blur and then you choose Gaussian blur right. I didn't bother making a new layer because I am going to show you a simpler way when you are just trying to feel out the commands and get a sense what's going to work, what's not going to work. The radius of 10 just like that ratio dude I showed you the businessman. I go ahead and click OK in order to accept that and now I will go up to the edit menu, choose the Fade command it's got a keyboard shortcut Ctrl Shift F, Command Shift F on the Mac in order to fade that operation and I will change the mode from normal to overlay.
So just a different approach instead of working with layers I am just applying this function directly to the image and fading it just in the name of trying things out very quickly. Alright so I apply the overlay effect and it looks pretty good actually it's little over saturated in the whole number but I think she is a more likely candidate for the affections of Captain Kirk anyway, she is so darn spunky among other things very open wonderful face there. Alright and then you could play with the opacity mode if you want to what have you. Alright I am going to cancel out though that doesn't really get me where I want to be.
I don't want this high saturation effect and I want to downplay the freckles a little more than this. So I am going to cancel out press Ctrl Alt Z or Command Option Z on the Mac in order to undo the Gaussian blur in the first place. Now let's try the average command what the heck. Let's go to the blur menu here, the blur submenu under the filter menu and choose average. And I didn't even bother with the selection this time just because I am trying to get a sense will it work or not. Now press Ctrl Shift F, Command Shift F on the Mac that keyboard shortcut for the fade command and I will change the blend mode this time from normal to hue just like we have been doing in the past and that's absolutely a hideous solution, it doesn't work at all, it makes your skin all grey, we would have to adjust the hue value here and it doesn't get rid of the freckles even in the least.
So let's cancel out of that one Ctrl Alt Z, Command Option Z on the Mac. The better approach if we are staying quick and dirty with this image is surface blur as it turns out, it's designed for this kind of thing. It's designed to blur away surface details. We are going to take a little more deliberate approach to this command working in the Layers palette here, make sure that the background layer is active and then press Ctrl J or Command J on the Mac to jump it to a new layer. And I am going to go ahead and rename this layer Surface Blur and then press the Return key or the Enter key here on the PC.
Now go up to the filter menu, choose Blur once again and this time choose Surface Blur. Now as I was telling you with Surface Blur it's got an inverted threshold function right here. So right now these are the last settings I applied is the radius value of 20 pixels and we have got a threshold of a 100 and I am just going to kind of nudge this value down. What you want to do is choose the smallest radius value that is still going to manage to blur away those freckles right there. And in the past I have had success with this specific image not with all images just this specific one with the radius of 17.
So that's what I am going to go with here. And now let's take the threshold value down until we can get some of those details back so I am pressing Shift down arrow in order to reduce it incrementally and then I am just sort of keeping an eye on the screen to see how far I need to go down, right about 30 things start popping into view so let's just nudge it down without the Shift key. Now I am just pressing the down arrow key till I get about here, this looks pretty good; we have had the definition around her mouth, the definition around her teeth, her nose, her eyes, her hair, her eyebrows but we have got a lot of smearing going on inside the flesh.
Now you may look at this and think are you looking at a different image than me Deke, do you think this looks good, this looks terrible. And of course yeah it looks terrible but we are going to modify the blend mode/opacity right so that we can merge these images together. Alright so ahead and click OK in order to accept those values radius 17, threshold 25 for this specific effect. And then what I suggest you do assuming that one of your selection tools is active up here in the toolbox just go ahead and press the 5 key in order to reduce the opacity value to 50% and that's it and that's all there is to this effect.
Now you also might sort of look at this and go there are still freckles, I see freckles, I don't know about you once again Deke but I do see some freckles. Yes, as I say, it gets you 60%, 70%, 80% the way they are whatever I am just making up those percentages but you understand it doesn't get you all the way there and we are not trying to completely get rid of the freckles, we are just trying to downplay them. And notice we have done a heck of a job. If you turn Off this layer you can see how many freckles she used to have and this is how many she has now. Now if that still seems like too many freckles to you or the freckles are having a little bit too much impact on the image then go ahead and take that opacity value up and I went ahead and press the 7 key for 70% opacity and this helps smooth out the freckles that much more.
But if you go too high with the opacity value, you get this thing right here, this is a 100% opacity, we have got very bad transitions going on inside the images and it's just not credible that's why you need to take that opacity down. So as I say 50% is what I recommend for this specific image. I think it looks pretty great. This is before this is after, I would say it gets us I don't know 50% the way there let's just say that. In the next exercise we are not going to settle for 50% we are going to get 85% the way there by bringing in the dust and scratches filter.
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