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A portrait can be a cherished possession for a lifetime, and now making perfect portraits is just one Photoshop course away. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his vast knowledge of Photoshop to focus on the specific tools every photographer needs to adjust images and keep them looking genuine. Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training explores this program's deep resources and inspires photographers to do their creative best with everything from blemishes to backdrops. Exercise files accompany the course.
Let's continue to work on this photograph. We will zoom in to 100% by pressing Command+Option+0 on a Mac, Ctrl+Alt+ 0 on a PC. Let's go back to the face because we want to start there. Now that we have worked on a large area, let's go ahead and begin to work on some of these smaller areas. In order to this, I have a couple of other little highlights that I'm going to deal with. So I go ahead and grab my Patch tool here. I'm just going to select this little area. I'll click to reposition that. Press Command+D on a Mac, Ctrl+D on a PC in order to de-select that. Now this particular layer has a lower Opacity, which helps out when we are working with larger areas like this because it already has a little bit of blending built in to it. So I'm going to go ahead and just continue to make my way through here, just a touch here, and just try to add a little bit blending to this area to try to get this to blend together. Here is my before and then after.
Well, that's pretty simple. Now let's go a little bit further. Create a new layer by clicking on the New Layer icon and we will name this layer, clean up. I'm going to do some clean up work here. We will go ahead and grab one of our retouching tools that we use quite often for clean up, which is the Spot Healing Brush. Sample All Layers and what we are going to do with this is make this brush just a little bit bigger than our blemishes. We are just going to go ahead and begin to reduce and simplify. Now there is a trick in regards to retouching. One of the tricks is that what happens is when you look at someone, you don't necessarily notice all the little tiny skin variations on their face, even if their freckles. Yet, if you have a still photograph of them and if you are looking at them real closely, you will notice things that you haven't noticed otherwise.
So one of the things that you typically want to do is just begin to reduce some of the variations that you are seeing. Now in this case, I'm removing them, but what I'll do later is I'll lower the Opacity just a bit and I'm just going to soften these because right now I'm working primarily on the bigger blemishes. I go ahead and make my way through this. I want to leave some of the ones that are more distinct character freckles. I'm going to go ahead and do that but I'm going to work on a lot of these small little skin variations here. Again, I'm just hitting the larger freckles here as I just want to soften them, just a bit. All right, I'll go ahead and make my way through this. Now this is really critical to that, that we do this before we do any sharpening, before we do any skin smoothing. We want to get all of this cleaned up. In my case, what I'm looking to do is to try to create an image that's a little bit more clean and simple.
Now there are times when you want to leave freckles in their entirety because sometimes, you just need it to really look exactly like that person. Other times what you are going to do is do a little bit more work. It really depends on the genre of photography that you are working on, if it's a conceptual image and/or if it's just a straightforward portrait. So again, the amount of retouching is really contingent upon the genre of photography. You have to keep that in mind. We don't just retouch just because we can. Now right here, I'm doing a lot of retouching, simply because this is a demo. So I'm going to go ahead and take a look at how we can begin to clean this up.
Let's take a look at our before and after in 1 second. We are almost ready to preview that. We will go ahead and deal with a little bit of this shine we are seeing there and some of the skin variations. Zoom out for a moment, so we can see our progress. Let's take a look. Here is our before and now here is our after. Again, just reducing and simplifying overall before. Here is before and then after dealing with some of the shine as well as dealing with some of the different little skin variations. Now at this juncture, we want to experiment with our Opacity. So I'm going to go ahead and lower the Opacity. When I lower the Opacity, one of the things that we will see is we will see those different skin variations come back. They are now a little bit softer. So it's really going to be contingent upon what type of skin variations you need back for a particular photograph. Sometimes, you will crank it all the way up. Sometimes, you are just going to lower the opacity a bit just to have a few of those in the mix.
On the other hand, let's say that what you want to do is really clean up the neckline and the chest here and everything, but you want to feel the freckles back in the face. In that case, simply click on the Mask icon and what we are going to do here is we are going to invert the mask by pressing Command+I. Now that I have inverted the mask, I'm going to grab my Brush tool and I'm going to paint with white. At the first glance, this isn't going to seem very logical but you will see how this works. Let's say that I decide I need a few more of the more prominent freckles that I accidentally removed. I'll go ahead and I'm going to paint with white on these areas, in this case, removing them.
Now again, at first glance this isn't going to seem like this makes sense but stick with me for a moment, I'm going to bring some of these back too. Right now I'm removing some of those by painting with white but you will see what I'm going to do here in a moment. Well, so far so good. I have now brought some of those back. Now if I invert my mask, Command+I, it does the exact opposite. So here we can see that what I have done is if I Shift-click the mask, there is my before and there is my after. I just brought back some of the more prominent freckles. I was able to do that because I had inverted and brought them back and then inverted that mask again to take them away.
Now if that didn't make sense, go back and watch that again because that technique can be really helpful, when you need to bring a few little elements back. Well, let's zoom out just a touch here, so we can see how this layer is doing. Here is our before and after. That skin looks so much better. We have reduced a lot of those variations that shine on the skin looks a lot better. I think we could even take the Opacity of this up even a little bit more, I think that might be nice. Here is our before and after on that one. Overall before and then after zooming in, here we go, before and then after, enhancing and cleaning up the skin.
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