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One of the biggest mistakes I see people making when they are retouching portraits is they get rid of the wrinkles to a really extreme degree, to the point where they make someone not look age-appropriate anymore. So, what I going to do is teach how to get rid of wrinkles really easily, but then teach you to back off a little bit on the retouch you are going to make to make it more realistic. Your goal isn't to change the character or personality or even, necessarily, the age of the person that you're retouching, unless you're working for some high-end fashion magazine or something like that where you are distorting reality. But you want to just remove the distraction, to put focus where you want the viewer to look at in the particular image.
So, here is a lovely portrait of an older couple capturing a very nice moment. They are looking at each other. Let's zoom up at 100%: Command+1, Ctrl+1. And I will just hold down the Spacebar and drag this over to the right a little bit to pan that image. And all we really want to do is just deemphasize the contrast of the wrinkles around her eye here and maybe the shading on the under side of her eye here. The goal is not to make this woman look like she is 19, but just to be able to draw focus back into the eye area instead of your eyes seeing these bright and dark stripes on the image itself.
So, to do that, we are going to use our trusty friend, the Spot Healing Brush. We will go ahead and click on that Band-Aid tool there. Press the letter J. And again, like any other retouch, you typically want to do that on a separate layer, so you can go back and fine-tune to make adjustments to your retouching. We will use our little secret trick. Hold down the Option or Alt key and click on the New layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel so we can give this a name. I am going to call it Wrinkles and go ahead and press the Enter key or click OK. And so our retouching will end up on this separate New layer, as long as Sample All layers is turned on.
We also want to make sure Content-Aware is turned on for that Spot Healing Brush. Now, at this point, we are going to go ahead and overdo things. We are going to go ahead and just start painting over these wrinkles always starting from the end of the wrinkle. As people get older, their wrinkles get longer and wider. So, you typically don't want to start retouching from the start of the wrinkles. You want to start at the end of the wrinkle, in case you are not going to get rid of it all the way. All right. So let's just go through very quickly and not having to be too precise here. We are just going to smooth and remove all the wrinkles at once.
Once we are there, it's just a few paint strokes, being careful not to go too far into the actual eye detail itself. Now again, this is going to look absolutely ridiculous if you know this person. You will know that she is not this young, and the retouch we are doing is kind of silly. But you get the idea. We would just kind of try to go and get rid of all the wrinkles to start out with. We go through the nose a little bit, come in through the center of the eye below the eyelid there. I am just really trying to smooth this out in general. All right. So, it doesn't have to be all that complicated. I am just going through very quick paint strokes here.
And there you have it. All right. Let's go through a little bit on the cheek as well and around the mouth. And again, we're just going to smooth these out to begin with. Then you'll see where this is going in just a moment, in just a few paint strokes. Now if this was your goal, I guess you could be done. But again, like I said, this is not a very realistic retouch. This person now looks a lot younger than she actually is. And so, let's figure out how to make this more realistic. I am going to just pan this over a little bit by holding down the Spacebar.
Okay, so here is before, and there is after. I am just his toggling the visibility of the Wrinkles layer here by turning that eye on and off. What we want to do is change the intensity of the retouch. So, right now, this is going from say 65 to 19 just by turning the layer on and off. What you want to be able to do is dial back some reality. And we will do that with the Opacity setting of that particular layer. The quick way to change the Opacity of a layer is just simply switch to the Move tool. So, I am going to press the letter V on my keyboard. And now I can just start experimenting by typing numbers.
I always start out by typing 5 for 50%. And you'll see her character and personality and her age comes back but just not as intense. You can see the wrinkles are still there, but what I have done is effectively lower the contrast by blending the completely retouched version back with the original version to bring some of that detail back. So, here is before, here is after. And you can see she looks much more like her age in reality. But what we've done is just lowered the intensity of those wrinkles and put focus back on the eyes and the mouth.
So, that's a much more tasteful way to retouch wrinkles. Basically, in summary, retouch them all away using the Spot Healing Brush on a separate layer. Go ahead and overdo it, but then what you'll do is just lower the Opacity of that Wrinkles layer so you bring back some of that original character of whoever it is that you're retouching.
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