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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
I have saved my changes as Homogeneous flesh.psd found inside the 09_retouch_heal folder. And there is just a couple of more things I'd like to do to this self-portrait. One is I would like to downplay the whiskers a little bit. Now as I was saying earlier, you are not going to cleanly shave somebody inside of Photoshop unless you want to get in there with the smudge tool and smear all the colors around or something like that and do a bunch of handwork and then you'll make them into sort of a painting anyway if you do that. And you may also find it useful for skin stuff in general.
Doesn't have to be whiskers. It could be all kinds of details that you find inside of an image. So here's what I'm going to do. Switch to the Lasso tool and then press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click. So keep that Alt key down so that you get access to that Polygonal Lasso function. And then click around the whiskered area of my face, which goes pretty high by the way as I know well from having shaved it a half million times. So go ahead and bring this down. Now you want to watch out for the good whiskers, which is what I'm calling the goatee, whatever your opinion of it maybe.
But we don't want -- because we are not going to do an effective job of shaving that kind of hair. So I have gone ahead and selected this region like so including those lovely age spots right there, and now I'm going to press the Shift key and drag up on this side a little bit, release this Shift key, press and hold Alt and then release my mouse button and go my happy way up the side of the face. That would be Option, of course, on the Mac. And if you can't make this technique work, then you would just get the Polygonal Lasso tool out, and Shift+Click around with it.
But the basic idea once again is that you begin Shift+Dragging, release the Shift key while keeping the mouse button down, press and hold the Alt or Option key and then release the mouse button and start clicking around the left-hand side of the face. All right. So there we are. I've gotten both whiskery region selected. I need to smooth out my selection by going up to the Select menu and choosing Modify and choosing Smooth. And the idea here is that I want to get rid of any corners. So I am going to set this Sample Radius to 2 pixels and click OK.
And that will do some corner rounding for me and you are going to see it. Actually, the marching ants even show this one-off. This is before, and this is after. So this one is the most obvious, before you can see that it's a sharp corner right there, after it just slightly rounded off a 2 pixel rounding. So it's not doing a ton of rounding, but we don't want to ton of rounding either. Just a little bit. All right, let's match that with the Feather command. So I am going to press Ctrl+Alt+D, Command+Option+D on the Mac since that's my dekeKeys keyboard shortcut, and now I'm going to go ahead and feather this selection to the same degree I just smoothed it.
And I'll show you a different way, yet another way to get to the Feather command. You can right click inside of your selection and then choose Feather, and my Feather Radius value of 2 that I've been using will work just fine. Click OK. All right, now I need to copy basically everything that I've created on all of these layers. The composite version of these layers inside of this selection and paste that onto a new layer. And I'll do that by making sure the top layer in the stack is selected. That'll be useful when I paste. And then, I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose Copy Merged.
Now what Copy Merged does is it copies the product of all of the layers inside of the selected region. And that's Ctrl+Shift+C, Command+Shift+C on the Mac. And then I'll go right back up to the Edit menu and choose the Paste command. You could also, if you wanted to, you could choose this new Paste In Place command, but you don't need to because you already have a selection outline. And Photoshop is going to automatically register the contents of the clipboard with that selection. So either way, I'm just going to choose the Paste command, and there it is. We now have these new whiskers on layer 1 here. Let's call that whiskers and press the Enter key or Return on the Mac.
Now, we haven't done anything with the whiskers. So let's go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise and choose this command right there Dust & Scratches. That brings up the Dust & Scratches dialog box. I will click in some region of whiskers in order to show it here inside the in dialog box preview. Now by default, the Radius value is set to 1 and the Threshold is 0, which just goes ahead and averages each pixel with its immediate neighbors. Now, the thing to bear in mind where Dust & Scratches is concerned is it gets rid of neither dust nor scratches.
It's possibly the most misleadingly named filter in all of Photoshop. Instead, what it does is it averages neighboring pixels, and then tries to restore the noise that is the random pixel variations. So it's terribly getting rid of dust and scratches because those are noise level artifacts. But it's pretty good for this kind of stuff. Here is what I recommend you do. Take that Radius value up as high as it needs to be to get rid of whatever defects you are trying to eliminate, which in my case is 2. That's going to smooth things over quite nicely as you can see.
And then, raise this Threshold value to reveal the original noise, and that way it looks like a good edit instead of looking like a sudden smoothness inside of the image. Now, the Threshold value is measured in luminance levels. For example, I'll take this up to 10, and bear in mind 0 is black, 255 white, 256 per channel an 8 bit/channel image. If neighboring pixels of more than 10 luminance levels differ from each other, then they get averaged by the Radius value. If not, they don't get averaged.
So the little variations which is the noise doesn't get averaged and the big variations do. And as a result, we restore some of the stubble, quite frankly, which is why it's no good for Dust & Scratches because you end up restoring the dust and scratches with this filter. But anyway, it looks pretty good. Now, you could take this Radius value higher if you want to do more smoothing. But then you're also going to notice the results. And it's not going to look natural. So we're just trying to downplay things a little bit not completely smooth me over, because that's not possible at this point.
So go ahead and take the Radius value down to 2 pixels, Threshold of 10, click OK. And then, what you do as you reduce the Opacity value. You could also go ahead and change the blend mode if you wanted to. For example, the main problem with my whiskers is they are catching the highlights. So if I turn off this layer, we're seeing a bunch of bright whiskers, and then I turn the layer back on and the brightness especially over here in the left-hand side, check that out, turn it back on and that brightness disappears. Not only are my whiskers catching the light from directly above, but also I happen to be completely gray in this area.
So it's basically white hair. So I could just decide that I want to with Darken and that's going to reveal some shadows back in this region but it's also going to make for a more credible edit. Watch this region of the face as I choose Darken, I'm only using this layer to darken everything below it. So now here's the contribution its making. This is without the layer. I should probably zoom in, so we can see this more closely. This is without the layer, and this is with the layer. So it's doing a lot as you can see, a little bit too much in my opinion.
So I am going to take the Opacity value down to 60% like so, and that's going to make for a smoother transition. Again it is going to bring back some of the battled whiskers. But again I would rather look a little craggy and a little unshaven as opposed to having a badly modified image. All right. I am going to go ahead and zoom out, and scroll the image back to where it was before. So this is how things looked at the outset of this exercise. This is how they look now. Not a radical adjustment by any means. But you'll see in the end we have come a long way.
In the next exercise, I am going to show you how to compensate for the shadow noise inside this image.
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