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Now that we have created this mask, we're ready to start to apply our skin softening, or skin smoothing technique. Yet first what we need to do is we need to click in the icon for our actual image. Then let's close the Properties panel. Next, let's zoom in on the photograph, so we can actually see the texture of the skin. To do that, we'll double-click the Zoom tool, which will take us to 100% view. Then press the Spacebar key, and click and drag, so that you can pan around, so that you can then reposition what you're seeing here, so you can focus in on some of the good details.
Then what we need to do is to apply a filter. There are a number of different filters that we can use. One that we'll start off with is a blur filter. We'll go to Blur, and then we're going to select Gaussian Blur. Gaussian Blur really smoothes things out, and as we increase the Radius, you can see how the skin is becoming more and more smooth. Yet also, as we increase that, we can notice that it's protecting the eye, but it's not quite smoothing out all of the skin. Here, if we zoom out a little bit, you can see that my mask didn't select this side of the face.
I am going to need to fix that. So again, you may want to increase the Radius to a way that's exaggerated, to help you identify areas you might need to fix up in a few minutes. Well, that's obviously too high of a Radius, so let's go back to this view here, and decrease our Radius all the way, then slowly just bring this up. It will probably be good at about 1.2, or maybe 1.3; we're looking for a pretty subtle adjustment here. Next click OK. Then click back into the mask, grab your Brush tool, and here I'm going to use white, and I'll use a nice low Opacity, and I'll decrease my brush size here a little bit by pressing the Left Bracket key. Then I am just going to start to paint in the smoothness over here into this area, because my original mask didn't include this area.
You also might need to mask away certain areas as well. Here I am just going to around the edges; clean that up. You can see here on the eyelashes, it's smoothing those out; that isn't going to work. So I'll paint with black, and in this case, I'll increase my Opacity a little bit, make my brush a bit smaller, and I am just going to mask this out here, so that the skin smoothing won't be applied to these areas. You can see how I'm basically just painting over these eyelashes here. In doing that, that will make sure that the edges of those eyelashes are nice and sharp.
We don't want to kind of smudge or blur those out in a way which looks kind of weird or unnatural. So again, with your mask, clean it up however you need to. In my case, I needed to clean mine up, really in particular to the eyes, and the eyelashes, and then also I needed to add a few more areas into this effect over there on that one side of the face. All right, well I think that looks pretty good for the most part. The next step is going to be to reuse this mask, and then to add in a little bit of texture.
I know that this may sound counterintuitive, but just stick with me, and you'll see how this works. To reuse a mask on another layer, you hold down a modifier key; it's the Option or the Alt key. That's a key that says, hey, I want to do something different; I want to do this my own way. So if you press Option on a Mac, or Alt on Windows, and click and drag your layer mask to a new layer, it will copy and paste that layer mask to that new layer. In this way, we now have the same exact mask on our texture layer.
Well, on the texture layer, what we need to do then is to click into the image. And here, we're going to apply another filter. Go to your Filter pulldown menu, then choose Noise, then we're going to add noise. Now, this seems counterintuitive. Why would we want to add noise to an area that we want to smooth? Well, we're going to add noise, because what it will do is, rather than have our skin look kind of smudgy and strange, it will kind of rebuild the structure there. And by adding an even amount of noise, or texture, what that can do is, in a sense, smooth things out by having a nice evenly spread amount of noise on top of that same area.
Here you want to use Gaussian, and Monochromatic, and for our Amount, we're going to take that way down. We want this to be pretty low. It looks like, in this case, probably about 2.5 works well. What that will do is it will apply this even texture to all of those areas, really kind of evening things out. Next, we want to click on our eye icons to look at that before and after, and then finally, what we'll need to do is zoom way in, so we can kind of see some of this texture here. And if we look at that overall before and after, what you're going to see is it's going to start to apply this affect.
The texture here is too high, so I need to decrease that. So I will go ahead and decrease this by lowering my Opacity. I just want to have a little bit of that texture in there. You can see how it's bringing in some nice details. The smoothing as well; I may need to lower this a bit, in order to decrease that just a touch there. And then of course, we want to look at our before and after to dial this in just right. Here, I am going to bring this up a little bit more. And in doing this, what we're looking for is an effect which is really subtle.
It's going to be tricky, I imagine, to see once this movie is compressed. But yet, here, if I look at my before and after on my monitor, it's looking really nice, and it's looking nice, because the look is natural; it's not overdone. And by applying this technique after we've applied or worked with all of these other layers, well, we've not only cleaned up the photograph, and cleaned up the skin, but also effectively softened and smoothed it.
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