Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Illustration by Richard Downs

Smoothing skin textures


Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Smoothing skin textures

In this movie, I'll show you how to further even out the skin coloring and texture using a filter called Gaussian blur. Now what we need to do is create yet another layer, by selecting this Retouch layer and pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on a Mac, and then I'll name the layer blur and click OK. Now let's go ahead and blur the image by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Blur, and then choosing the Gaussian Blur command. For this image, a Radius of 20 pixels works well, but if you're working with a higher resolution image then you'd want to increase that value.
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  1. 19m 15s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 27s
    2. Opening from the Windows desktop
      4m 7s
    3. Opening from the Macintosh Finder
      4m 9s
    4. Opening from Photoshop or Bridge
      2m 45s
    5. Opening an image from Mini Bridge
      1m 16s
    6. Opening through Camera Raw
      2m 32s
    7. Closing one image and Closing All
      1m 59s
  2. 38m 14s
    1. Navigating your image
    2. The dark vs. the light interface
      3m 12s
    3. Navigating tabs and windows
      4m 32s
    4. Panels and workspaces
      4m 27s
    5. Zooming incrementally
      4m 29s
    6. Zooming continuously
      2m 43s
    7. Entering a custom zoom value
      2m 25s
    8. Scrolling and panning images
      2m 31s
    9. Rotating and resetting the view
      2m 11s
    10. Cycling between screen modes
      3m 10s
    11. Using the Navigator panel
      3m 38s
    12. Adjusting a few screen prefs
      4m 16s
  3. 45m 58s
    1. Digital imaging fundamentals
      1m 45s
    2. Image size and resolution
      3m 3s
    3. The Image Size command
      3m 27s
    4. Common resolution standards
      3m 20s
    5. Upsampling vs. real pixels
      4m 36s
    6. Changing the print size
      6m 16s
    7. Downsampling for print
      4m 12s
    8. Downsampling for email
      3m 11s
    9. The interpolation settings
      5m 22s
    10. Downsampling advice
      4m 36s
    11. Upsampling advice
      6m 10s
  4. 53m 18s
    1. The layered composition
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing the Layers panel
      4m 13s
    3. Adding, scaling, and aligning layers
      5m 27s
    4. Dragging and dropping layers
      4m 36s
    5. Stack, reveal, and rename
      2m 58s
    6. Opacity, history, and blend mode
      6m 5s
    7. Duplicating a selected portion of a layer
      5m 32s
    8. Applying a clipping mask
      3m 58s
    9. Blending inside a clipping mask
      4m 10s
    10. Finishing off your artwork
      3m 13s
    11. Creating a new layer and background
      4m 24s
    12. Layering tips and tricks
      7m 2s
  5. 26m 19s
    1. The art of saving
    2. Four things to know about saving
      6m 0s
    3. Saving layers to PSD
      6m 38s
    4. Saving print images to TIFF
      4m 48s
    5. Saving an interactive image to PNG
      3m 41s
    6. Saving a flat photo to JPEG
      4m 18s
  6. 19m 36s
    1. Honing in on your image
      1m 43s
    2. The new and improved Crop tool
      3m 35s
    3. Editing your last crop
      3m 1s
    4. Straightening a crooked image
      2m 29s
    5. Filling in missing details
      6m 44s
    6. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      2m 4s
  7. 42m 6s
    1. First, there is brightness
      2m 12s
    2. How luminance works
      4m 18s
    3. The three Auto commands
      3m 27s
    4. Automatic brightness and contrast
      3m 19s
    5. The Brightness/Contrast command
      2m 47s
    6. The dynamic adjustment layer
      4m 5s
    7. Editing adjustment layers
      3m 52s
    8. Isolating an adjustment with a layer mask
      3m 31s
    9. Introducing the histogram
      4m 58s
    10. Measuring an adjustment
      3m 34s
    11. Using the Shadows/Highlights command
      6m 3s
  8. 44m 34s
    1. And second, there is color
      1m 31s
    2. Identifying a color cast
      3m 34s
    3. Correcting a color cast automatically
      3m 57s
    4. Changing the color balance
      6m 10s
    5. Compensating with Photo Filter
      3m 11s
    6. Adjusting color intensity with Vibrance
      3m 29s
    7. Correcting color cast in Camera Raw
      5m 46s
    8. The Hue/Saturation command
      5m 26s
    9. Summoning colors where none exist
      4m 9s
    10. Making more color with Vibrance
      4m 27s
    11. Making a quick-and-dirty sepia tone
      2m 54s
  9. 55m 47s
    1. Making selective modifications
      1m 11s
    2. The geometric Marquee tools
      6m 1s
    3. Aligning one image element to another
      4m 59s
    4. The freeform Lasso tools
      3m 59s
    5. Polygonal Lasso tool and Quick Mask
      5m 19s
    6. Cropping one selection inside another
      6m 15s
    7. Creating rays of light
      4m 44s
    8. Quick Selection and Similar
      4m 11s
    9. Making it better with Refine Edge
      4m 56s
    10. Integrating image elements
      2m 39s
    11. Magic Wand and Grow
      5m 17s
    12. Refine, integrate, and complete
      6m 16s
  10. 53m 49s
    1. Your best face forward
      1m 0s
    2. Content-Aware Fill
      6m 11s
    3. Using the Spot Healing Brush
      5m 36s
    4. The more capable "standard" Healing Brush
      5m 55s
    5. Meet the Clone Source panel
      3m 53s
    6. Caps Lock and Fade
      4m 57s
    7. The Dodge and Burn tools
      5m 1s
    8. Adjusting color with the Brush tool
      6m 35s
    9. Smoothing skin textures
      5m 58s
    10. Brightening teeth
      4m 0s
    11. Intensifying eyes
      4m 43s
  11. 51s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
6h 39m Beginner Apr 26, 2012

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Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals is a concise and focused introduction to the key features in Photoshop, presented by long-time author and Adobe veteran Deke McClelland. This course covers the image editing process from the very beginning and progresses through the concepts and techniques that every photographer or graphic designer should know. Deke explains digital imaging fundamentals, such as resolution vs. size and the effects of downsampling. He explains how to use layers to edit an image nondestructively and organize those edits in an easy-to-read way, and introduces techniques such as cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast, correcting and changing color, and retouching and healing images. These lessons distill the vast assortment of tools and options to a refined set of skills that will get you working inside Photoshop with confidence.

Topics include:
  • Opening an image from Photoshop, Bridge, or Camera Raw
  • Navigating, zooming, panning, and rotating the canvas
  • Adding, deleting, and merging layers
  • Saving your progress and understanding file formats
  • Cropping and straightening
  • Adjusting brightness and contrast
  • Identifying and correcting a color cast
  • Making and editing selections
  • Enhancing portraits by retouching skin, teeth, and eyes
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Smoothing skin textures

In this movie, I'll show you how to further even out the skin coloring and texture using a filter called Gaussian blur. Now what we need to do is create yet another layer, by selecting this Retouch layer and pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on a Mac, and then I'll name the layer blur and click OK. Now let's go ahead and blur the image by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Blur, and then choosing the Gaussian Blur command. For this image, a Radius of 20 pixels works well, but if you're working with a higher resolution image then you'd want to increase that value.

Basically you want to see absolutely smooth contouring inside the image, of course we're losing detail at this point, but we're going to bring it back in the following steps. So once you arrive at a Radius value that gives you an effect that resembles the one you see in the video, then click OK to apply the filter. Now notice I've got my Rectangular Marquee tool selected, which means I can adjust the Opacity of this layer just by pressing a number key, so I'll press the 5 key to take the Opacity down to 50% and that does a great job of evening out those skin tones, but it also blurs the details, such as the eyelashes and the eyebrows, and the lips and so forth.

So what I'm going to have you do is turn off this blur layer for a moment and switch back to the retouch layer and use the Rectangular Marquee tool to select a few regions of the skin, so I'm going to select some of the left cheek, and I'm going to Shift+Drag around some the right cheek--don't go too far into the shadows for this, then I'll pan down and select a little bit of the shadow detail below the lip. But again, I'm not selecting anything that's too dark, and now let's check the settings associated with the Magic Wand tool by switching to the Magic Wand, make sure all the options are set to their defaults up here in the options bar.

Specifically the tolerance value should be 32, then go up to the Select menu and choose the Similar command in order to select all portions of the image that are deemed to be similar to those selected regions. Now we need to add a little more to the selection using the Lasso tool, so go ahead and select the Lasso, and then press the Shift key and drag around these details in the nose, above the lip for example, and then over here on right-hand side of the image. And you don't have to get it exactly right.

So don't worry if you end up with a meandering selection outline. Now I missed some of the chin, so I will Shift+Drag around it as well. And I may Alt+Drag or Option+Drag in order to deselect regions, like I don't want any of this here down in the lower-left portion of the image to be selected. And I don't want the hair in the upper-left region of the image to be selected either. So I'll Alt+Drag around this region, Alt+Drag around here as well, that's an Option+Drag on the Mac of course. And then Shift+Drag around this right-hand region of the forehead, and Shift+Drag underneath the eyebrow over on the right-hand side as well.

All right, this is a decent base selection, believe it or not, but we need to feather it, that is blur the selection outline, and you do that by going up to the Select menu, choosing Modify and then choosing the Feather command. And I'm going to go with that same radius value that I applied with Gaussian Blur, which is to say 20 pixels. If you use the different Gaussian Blur value, you'll want to enter that value into this dialog box as well. Then click OK. Now let's convert the selection to a layer mask. By clicking on the blur layer, I'll turn the layer back on.

Then I'll drop down to the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and click on it. And that goes ahead and masks away some of the details in the blurred image, meaning that it brings that portion of the image back into focus. All right, we need to paint back in a few more details. Switch to the Brush tool, which you can get by pressing the B key. Make sure your foreground color is black. If it isn't, here's what you do. You press the D key to make the foreground color white and then you press the X key to swap the foreground and background colors so it's black.

Make sure your Opacity is set to 100% at first and that you're working with a very blurry brush. So I'll right-click inside the image and confirm that the hardness is 0%; then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to hide that panel. Then I'll paint inside the eyes in order to restore the detail around the eyes. And I'll go ahead and paint inside some of the mouth as well, specifically the teeth, then what I encourage you to do is press the 5 key to reduce the Opacity of the brush to 50%, and paint over some of the other details you want to keep, such as the creases around the mouth. And you may want to paint over them multiple times and then you want to paint over the nostrils to bring them back, around the nostrils as well, because we want that detail to be there.

I want to paint over the eyebrows in order to bring back some of that detail and we seem to have brought maybe a little bit too much detail back around the eyes. So I'll reduce the size of my brush by pressing the left bracket key, then I'll press the X key to switch the foreground color to white and I'll paint around the eyes in order to bring back some of the blur. But I'm not seeing any difference and that's because my blend mode is still set to Multiply. So I'll go ahead and switch it back to Normal and then paint under the eye, and you can see that now we're bringing back some blurriness.

And I'll continue to paint around both eyes in order to soften those details and I might come back to a few details as well. So as long as you keep your brush small, soft and translucent, you can paint back and forth as many times as you like. All right, I'm going press the X key to make my foreground color black again, and I'll paint once again over each of the nostrils. Let's go ahead and center the image a little bit here. And just to give you a sense of what we were able to accomplish, I'll Alt+Click on the eyeball in front of the background layer. So this is the original version of the image that I loaded several movies ago and this is the retouched image so far. The only thing left is to whiten up the teeth and increase the saturation of the irises, and I'll show you how to do exactly that in the next two movies.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals .

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Q: Where can I learn more about graphic design?
A: Discover more on this topic by visiting graphic design on
Q: When I double click the welcome.psd file included with the exercise files, I get the following error message:

"Some text layers contain fonts that are missing. These layers will need to have the missing fonts replaced before they can be used for vector based output."

Unlike the TIF and JPEG files which display and open correctly, all the icons for PSD files are blank but other than the welcome.psd file, they seem to open correctly without the error message. Is this a problem that I should address (perhaps re-download the files or find the missing fonts)?
A: The TIFF and JPEG files are flat, so they don't contain fonts and the operating system can interpret them (and generate thumbnails) without help from Photoshop. The PSD files have two issues:

First, they may contain editable text complete with font info. The files are designed with fonts that ship with Photoshop, so you don't get error messages, but Adobe sells some versions of Photoshop without fonts. This may be your issue.

Second, the PSD files contain no flat previews. This makes for smaller files, but it means the operating system, Mac or Windows, cannot generate previews. That won't effect your experience in Photoshop, but it does mean you can't see the file until you open it.
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