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Here I want to share with you a valuable technique that you can use in order to soften skin. We'll be working with this image, which was captured by one of my former students, Vanessa Darby. Vanessa is a great photographer, and an amazing retoucher. So Vanessa, thanks a ton for the use of this file. And you know, whenever you think about skin smoothing, you always have to think about, how can I integrate this into my overall workflow? That's one of the reasons why we have two layers in this file; we have the original image, and then we have the image which has some cleanup work done to it.
If we zoom in a little bit more closely, we can see here is our before, and then now our after. And you know, all of this cleanup work, it's been done by using the techniques that we know. You can use a Spot Healing brush to remove the small blemishes, the Clone Stamp tool to take down a little bit of the shine. We can also clean up some of the flyaway hairs by using our Clone Stamp tool, and again, what you want to do is you want to do all of that, and then do the skin smoothing. If you do the skin smoothing too early in your workflow, it just won't work. So after you've done all of your cleanup work, you're ready to apply this technique.
Now, in order to do this, we're going to use two different filters, and two different layers. We also need to create a mask, so that we can just focus in on the skin. Well, with this cleanup layer, let's duplicate this twice. On a Mac, press Command+J twice; on Windows, press Control+J twice. Now that we have these two different duplicate versions of this, we'll name the top layer texture. Next, turn off the visibility of that layer. And then the underlying layer, we'll name this one smooth. All right, well before we can actually start to smooth the skin out, we need to create a good mask. Let's focus in on that in this movie.
To do that, we're going to click on the Add layer mask icon. Next double-click the mask icon to open up the Properties panel with the mask options. Then here we want to go to Color Range. Color Range allows us to sample the skin, and then to build this mask. Here, you want to turn off Localized Color Clusters, and then bring up the Fuzziness a little bit. Then hold down the Shift key, and either click and drag in the mask in this dialog, or on your image. Either way, this will allow you to build up a selection of the skin here.
And we'll go ahead and just click around to select these different areas. Next thing we need to do is to click OK. In doing that, what we've done is we've created a layer that is primarily focused in on the skin. If you turn off the visibility of your other layers, you can now see that. Here I'm going to zoom out a little bit, so we can see the rest of the photograph as well. Well, one of the things that I notice is that I have a few areas of the shirt down here showing through. So if you need to clean those areas up, grab your Brush tool. You can also click on the switch icon to paint with black, and go ahead and just paint with black over this area.
I know that this perspective looks a little bit strange, but it's helping us to really see how we can create a mask which targets the skin. Another great way to look at your mask is to hold down the Option key on a Mac, or Alt key on Windows, and then to click on it. In doing that, you can see that we now have this mask in this black and white view. This will show me, again, any area that I need to clean up. In this case, I want to paint some more black over the garment here, so that I'm not going to soften the garment; I just want to soften the skin. All right; so I will go ahead and clean up that area.
I also notice that in a couple areas, I might want to paint with white. So I go ahead and paint with white in this area to add a little bit more to the mask here. We can always change this after the fact as well, but it's just nice to have a good mask to start off with. And by having this mask, and by viewing it in these different ways, this can help us to start to add a nice skin smoothing affect. Well next what we need to do is to Option+Click or Alt+Click that mask one more time, so that we can then really just focus in on the skin.
Well now that we have a good mask here, what we're going to do is we're going to look at how we can smooth the skin out on this layer. Of course, we'll need to turn on the visibility of our other layers as well, because now we need to see this in context. Alright, well now that we've created our mask, let's move to the next step of applying the skin smoothing technique, and let's do that in the next movie.
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