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In Photoshop CS6 Essential Training, Julieanne Kost demonstrates how to produce high-quality images in a short amount of time, using a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS6, Bridge, and Camera Raw.
The course details the Photoshop features and creative options, and shows efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, the course explores techniques for nondestructive editing and compositing using layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more.
Let's take a look at another technique that can save you time by quickly softening skin while keeping the eyes and lips sharp. In order to do this, we're going to use the Adjustment Brush, because we want to control exactly where the effect is applied. The first thing we'll do is we'll zoom in, so I'll use the Spacebar and the Command key-- the Spacebar and Ctrl key if you're on Windows--to zoom in to the girl's face. And then I've got my Adjustment Brush selected, but you could tap the K key or select it from the tools.
I want to make sure that all of the settings here have been zeroed out except for the Clarity setting, which I want to drag down to, say, maybe -60 or so. Then let's take a look at our Brush options. I've got a relatively small brush--it's set to 9--but I actually want it a little bit smaller, so I'm going to use the left bracket in order to resize this down. I want to make sure that my brush has a nice soft edge so I'll make sure the Feather is set to a 100%. And let's set the Flow up maybe to around 50%.
This means that I'll need to paint at least twice in each area to get the full effect of the -60 Clarity, but it's going to ensure that I get nice soft edges. I'll keep the Density at 100 and then we'll click and we'll start painting over the skin. I'm not going to be very careful; I'm going to go ahead and paint right over the lips and eye as well, because I can always remove that from the area that I painted.
So once I've built up that Clarity-- and I know I've built it up because if I position my cursor over the pin, we can see that white mask-- I need to cut a hole in the mask over the eyes and the lips because right now this negative Clarity is not only softening the skin, but it's also softening her eyes. So I'm going to switch, instead of using the Add option, I'll click to Erase. I'll want to make sure that I have a large Feather, and let's go ahead and increase the Flow.
I'll zoom in by using Command+Plus or Ctrl+Plus on Windows, use that left bracket, get a little smaller brush here, and now we can just paint over her eye area anywhere that I want to be sharp because what I'm doing, remember, is I'm cutting a hole in the mask. So I've already applied the negative Clarity to this area, but by painting on it with the Erase option here in the Adjustment Brush, I'm erasing the skin softening from those areas.
So again, if I hover my cursor on top of the pin, you can see that basically I've cut through all of these areas. If I want the mask to show permanently, I can toggle that on. I could even click here to change the color of the mask. But for now, white will be just fine. Now I've made a little mistake up here, so I'm going to switch back to my Add Brush, use the left bracket to make it little smaller, and then just paint right here to paint out that area of her skin.
So let's go ahead and toggle off the mask and now I'll tap the P key to show us a preview of before and after, and you can see how just her skin texture is a little bit softer than before. Since the pin is still selected, if I wanted to make a change to the amount of clarity that I've added, I can go ahead and just drag the Clarity slider down more to the left, to get softer skin, or to the right to reveal a little bit more detail. Obviously, I could go all the way to the right-hand side if this was maybe a weathered fisherman that I was trying to make look maybe like more intensely weathered.
But I don't want that; I want to use this as a nice skin softener, so I'll move the Clarity down to about maybe 60 or 70. Before we wrap up, I'll just point out that you can apply a negative Clarity to the entire image. If I return back to the Basic panel-- I'll just use my Zoom tool and zoom out--and then you can see down here we've got the Clarity slider. If I move the Clarity slider to the left, you can see how it kind soft-focuses the entire image. But honestly, I want more control over it.
I just want it to soften the skin, which is why we went into the Adjustment Brush, so we could have that control.
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