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Softening skin

From: Photoshop CS5 for Photographers

Video: Softening skin

After you retouched all of the small skin details you're now ready to begin to do some skin softening. What I want to do is share with you one of the many techniques for softening skin. And this technique involves a few steps, but I'm sure you can always watch this movie again if you don't pick up these steps on the first pass. Well, what we're actually going to do is create two different layers: one to control texture, and one to control softness. So let's copy that background layer twice. We'll do so by pressing Command+J twice on a Mac, and Ctrl+J twice on a PC.

Softening skin

After you retouched all of the small skin details you're now ready to begin to do some skin softening. What I want to do is share with you one of the many techniques for softening skin. And this technique involves a few steps, but I'm sure you can always watch this movie again if you don't pick up these steps on the first pass. Well, what we're actually going to do is create two different layers: one to control texture, and one to control softness. So let's copy that background layer twice. We'll do so by pressing Command+J twice on a Mac, and Ctrl+J twice on a PC.

The middle layer or that second layer there is going to be soft. Then the top layer is going to have some texture. So let's go ahead and rename both of those layers, so that one says texture, the one up top. Underneath we have some softness. Next, let's turn off the visibility of the top layer and target the soft layer. Here, we're going to navigate to Filter. We're going to choose Blur and Surface Blur. Now you may be thinking okay, Surface Blur, this isn't going to look very good. Yeah, sure it's not. Surface Blur or Gaussian Blur for that matter is pretty tricky.

It smudges things up. But what we want to do is just dial in an amount and a threshold here where we get some nice softening. We don't want to overdo it too far, but at the same time we're going to bring our texture back on another layer altogether, so we can get away with perhaps a little bit more then we're comfortable with. Here is our before and then after. For demo purposes I'm going to take this up even higher so that you can see it in this movie once it becomes compressed and a little bit smaller. All right! Well, let's click OK. Tons of softening, too much softening. That's okay.

What we're going to do next is on a Mac hold down the Option key, on a PC hold down the Alt key and then click on the Add Layer Mask icon. This will create a layer mask. It's filled with black. Limiting all the softness. So no softness right now. Next, we'll grab our Brush tool, paint with white. I want a pretty low Opacity here. And all that we're going to start to do is just barely begin to bring in the Softness. The nice thing about this is we can bring the softness in really where we need it. Some areas we don't need it as much as perhaps other areas. All right! We'll go ahead and soften things up here a little bit. Also make sure to work on this forehead.

I want to be careful of course near the eyebrows, the nose, the lips, the chin line there. And as always whenever you're making little brush strokes like these it's a good idea to go to the Masks panel and just feather these out a bit, soften them up, and here we have our before and then after. Let's zoom in a little bit so we can see how the skin is looking so far, our before, and then after. I'm just going to bring in just a touch more here just to remove these little tiny pores, and skin variations that we're seeing. All right! I think we're doing a good job.

I'll make my brush a little bit bigger and just exaggerate this a touch more so that again for the demo it works a little bit better. All right! While once we have done that the next thing we're going to do is click on this texture layer. What we're going to do on the texture layer is apply a couple of filters and then change theblending mode. Well, let's do that. We're going to go to our Filter pulldown menu, choose Other and then High Pass. High Pass is really interesting. What it can do is it can give us this little outline.

Now, if we crank this up too high we're going to see it won't work well for us. We want to just go back to where we just kind of have this little silhouette almost. In this case I think a small radius, probably just a couple of pixels or so, is going to work well. Click OK. The next thing you need to do immediately after you apply High Pass is to go to Image > Adjustments and then Desaturate. That will then remove any color from this layer. A super important step so be sure to do that. Let's zoom out a little bit so you can see how this looks a little bit more clearly.

So again you're just looking for this little bit of an outline. Next, we're going to go to our Filter pulldown menu, Noise, and we're going to add a little bit of uniform Noise here. In this case, Gaussian, Monochromatic. What you want to do is just dial in an amount where you can barely see it. It's just adding kind of this even amount across the image. Actually right about 2 looks good with this file. Now, keep in mind that the actual amounts here are going to vary based on how the image was captured and also the file resolution.

What you want to do though is look at your screen and kind of determine what looks best. In this case I think this looks really nice. We'll click OK. Well, our next step is going to be changing this to a blending mode. The blending mode that we're going to use is Soft Light. Now, the one problem with this is that this texture is everywhere, but what we really want is we only want the texture where the softening is taking place. In order to do that, we can click in this mask. We can then actually copy this mask to the top layer.

In order to do that, we'll hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, and we'll click and drag this mask into this top layer. Now, this mask is just bringing the texture in to the correct areas. I told you there are a handful of steps here, but again we're getting close to the end of this, and if you haven't kind of knew those steps, you can always rewind this movie and watch it again. All right! Well, let's zoom in on the skin a little bit so we could see how we're doing. All right! Well, this texture layer is kind of nice. Here's the before and then the after. You can see I'm really bringing back in some nice texture.

Now what I need to do is mix these two together. In other words I need to click on my softening layer and lower the Opacity and say okay, how much softening do I want? Then click in the texture layer and then lower that as well. Try to find the sweet combination of both of these together. If we look at our before and after, here's before and then after. We have some pretty realistic and nice skin smoothing. Let me zoom in really close so that you can see how this looks in regards to the skin texture. Again, look at all the little variations we have.

This is after and then compare that to before. What I'm going to do is just click between these two. Here's before, and then here's after. A little bit more subtle and clean look. Now, of course we can dial in the texture to a greater or lesser degree if we want a perhaps a little bit less. We can also do the same with our softness. We can increase that a little bit more. Once again, let's take a look at the before and then after with a little bit stronger skin smoothing. Now, the last thing that I like to do whenever I'm smoothing skin is I like to group these two layers together.

In order to do that, hold down the Shift key and click on both layers, then press Command+G on a Mac, Ctrl+G on a PC, and that's G for group. Now, we'll go ahead and name this group smooth . That way we can turn this whole layer on and off. We can also lower the Opacity of this and just find just the right sweet spot for a particular image. So again it gives a set extra bit of level of control of really dialing in the overall skin smoothing amount.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 for Photographers
Photoshop CS5 for Photographers

204 video lessons · 43326 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 4m 16s
    1. Welcome
      2m 14s
    2. Using the exercise files
      45s
    3. Photography and Photoshop
      1m 17s
  2. 27m 21s
    1. Becoming a successful student of Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Strategies for success
      2m 9s
    3. Taking visual snapshots
      3m 32s
    4. The importance of the 30-minute blink
      2m 38s
    5. Isolation
      5m 41s
    6. Creative memorization
      2m 59s
    7. Say it out loud
      4m 9s
    8. Be prepared for surprises
      1m 17s
    9. Why Photoshop CS5?
      3m 55s
  3. 20m 8s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      2m 51s
    2. Introducing the Bridge workspace
      2m 57s
    3. Using Bridge to review and evaluate photographs
      4m 12s
    4. Working with Bridge and Photoshop
      1m 56s
    5. Introducing Mini Bridge
      3m 49s
    6. Working with Mini Bridge
      4m 23s
  4. 25m 52s
    1. Choosing your color settings
      2m 35s
    2. HUD color picker preferences
      2m 44s
    3. Image interpolation preferences
      3m 52s
    4. Zoom preferences
      1m 47s
    5. Interface preferences
      3m 3s
    6. File-handling preferences
      2m 59s
    7. Performance preferences
      2m 28s
    8. Cursor preferences
      2m 59s
    9. Guides and type preview preferences
      3m 25s
  5. 23m 46s
    1. Introducing color management
      2m 53s
    2. Two simple steps for more accurate color
      5m 34s
    3. Opening and saving files with embedded profiles
      4m 28s
    4. Why color settings and monitor calibration matter
      5m 18s
    5. Creative tip: Setting up your studio
      1m 59s
    6. Monitor calibration
      1m 46s
    7. Color management resources
      1m 48s
  6. 35m 9s
    1. Introducing the Tools panel
      1m 27s
    2. Working with the Tools panel
      4m 36s
    3. Viewing and arranging documents
      4m 29s
    4. Combining multiple images
      4m 15s
    5. Closing multiple images
      2m 17s
    6. Working with panels
      3m 50s
    7. Customizing your workspace
      4m 14s
    8. Creating custom keyboard shortcuts
      4m 49s
    9. Working with the Application bar and Full Screen view
      4m 3s
    10. Working with a Wacom tablet
      1m 9s
  7. 22m 54s
    1. Bit depth 101
      5m 29s
    2. Introducing image size
      3m 26s
    3. Resizing images
      6m 50s
    4. Resizing by cropping
      2m 33s
    5. Straightening an image
      2m 22s
    6. Creative tip: Sizing images correctly
      2m 14s
  8. 33m 49s
    1. Introducing the Camera Raw preferences
      3m 33s
    2. Opening images in Camera Raw
      3m 48s
    3. Using the basic Camera Raw controls
      3m 20s
    4. Color correction and white balance
      3m 7s
    5. Processing multiple images
      2m 21s
    6. Crop and compose
      4m 31s
    7. Converting to black and white
      2m 26s
    8. Camera raw workflow
      7m 36s
    9. Saving images from Adobe Camera Raw
      3m 7s
  9. 38m 9s
    1. Introducing transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Introducing layers
      2m 58s
    3. Working with layers
      3m 49s
    4. Aligning layers
      2m 8s
    5. Creating new layers
      4m 18s
    6. Organizing layers
      3m 34s
    7. Layer style effects
      6m 18s
    8. Creating a clipping mask
      3m 0s
    9. Targeting and moving layers
      4m 10s
    10. Layers shortcuts
      6m 25s
  10. 44m 59s
    1. Using the Magic Wand
      4m 43s
    2. Using the Quick Select tool to remove a background
      2m 16s
    3. Using the Quick Select tool for creative color effects
      2m 23s
    4. Using the Marquee Selection tool
      2m 55s
    5. Using the Magnetic Lasso tool
      3m 6s
    6. Using the Polygonal Lasso tool
      3m 28s
    7. Making color range selections
      3m 35s
    8. Using Refine Edge to improve selections
      3m 17s
    9. Using Refine Edge with a color range
      4m 21s
    10. Introducing paths
      3m 43s
    11. Creating a path selection
      4m 24s
    12. Using a path selection to improve color
      6m 48s
  11. 42m 31s
    1. Introducing masking
      1m 13s
    2. Deconstructing how masking works
      6m 56s
    3. Masking defined
      1m 51s
    4. Refining masked edges
      5m 58s
    5. Building a mask based on color
      6m 11s
    6. Changing a color using a mask
      3m 54s
    7. Masking and selective sharpening
      5m 53s
    8. Using the Mask panel controls
      4m 7s
    9. Quick Mask mode
      6m 28s
  12. 15m 8s
    1. Creating a custom border using masking
      6m 10s
    2. Using pre-built borders
      4m 21s
    3. Exploring sample image frames
      4m 37s
  13. 21m 40s
    1. Introducing the Adjustments panel
      4m 50s
    2. Using Hue/Saturation and the Target Adjustment tool
      4m 29s
    3. Adjusting brightness and contrast
      4m 46s
    4. Working with vibrance and saturation
      3m 31s
    5. Working with adjustment layer presets
      4m 4s
  14. 27m 10s
    1. Introducing levels
      3m 29s
    2. Enhancing color and tone with levels
      6m 32s
    3. Modifying color and contrast with levels
      6m 15s
    4. Using levels to make subjective color shifts
      5m 11s
    5. Using levels and masking
      3m 5s
    6. Creative tip: Checking in
      2m 38s
  15. 34m 14s
    1. Introducing the Curves dialog box
      2m 53s
    2. Demystifying curves
      5m 45s
    3. Using curves to modify color, contrast, and tone
      2m 58s
    4. Combining selections and masking with curves
      3m 6s
    5. Creating hand-painted masks
      4m 27s
    6. Enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks
      6m 23s
    7. Using curves to enhance color
      4m 24s
    8. Using multiple curves adjustments
      1m 41s
    9. Using, modifying, and saving curves presets
      2m 37s
  16. 23m 5s
    1. Creative tip: Blending two elements
      58s
    2. Introducing blending modes
      2m 26s
    3. Blending modes visualized
      4m 40s
    4. Blending multiple images together
      4m 34s
    5. Using blending modes to remove white or black
      1m 53s
    6. Improving overexposure using blending
      1m 36s
    7. Improving underexposure using blending
      4m 8s
    8. Blending shortcuts
      2m 50s
  17. 16m 40s
    1. Correcting color with the eyedroppers
      4m 58s
    2. Correcting color and tone with the eyedroppers
      4m 14s
    3. Correcting color with Camera Raw
      1m 58s
    4. Camera Raw color correction with a color chart
      1m 52s
    5. Color-correcting skin by the numbers
      3m 38s
  18. 27m 27s
    1. Replacing color
      2m 9s
    2. Replacing color with Hue/Saturation
      5m 12s
    3. Modifying color with Selective Color
      3m 40s
    4. Modifying multiple colors with Selective Color
      3m 5s
    5. Creating dramatic sunset colors
      2m 59s
    6. Using Color Balance to improve sunrise colors
      1m 13s
    7. Using Color Balance, selections, and masks together
      4m 57s
    8. Improving a family portrait with Color Balance
      2m 35s
    9. Creative tip: Shoot more
      1m 37s
  19. 31m 12s
    1. Creative tip: The digital darkroom
      1m 20s
    2. Introducing the Burn and Dodge tools
      3m 22s
    3. Using the Burn and Dodge tools
      3m 31s
    4. Enhancing dimension with the Burn and Dodge tools
      3m 58s
    5. Improving tone with the Burn and Dodge tools
      3m 12s
    6. Using Soft Light for burning and dodging
      5m 58s
    7. Darkening with the Soft Light blending mode
      5m 39s
    8. Adding contrast to the highlights
      4m 12s
  20. 15m 1s
    1. Introducing black-and-white conversion
      4m 9s
    2. Converting a portrait to black-and-white
      4m 22s
    3. Converting a landscape to black-and-white
      2m 18s
    4. Adding grain and tone to a black-and-white image
      2m 39s
    5. Creative tip: Seeing beyond color
      1m 33s
  21. 11m 2s
    1. Adding lens flare
      3m 34s
    2. Adding film grain
      1m 47s
    3. Introducing Smart Filters
      1m 44s
    4. Applying Smart Filters
      3m 57s
  22. 10m 17s
    1. Reducing noise with Surface Blur
      4m 25s
    2. Using the Noise Reduction filter
      2m 56s
    3. Advanced noise reduction using channels
      2m 56s
  23. 45m 18s
    1. Using the Dust and Scratches filter
      3m 8s
    2. Removing dust and scratches with masking
      2m 44s
    3. Introducing the trio of healing tools
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Healing and Clone Stamp tools
      3m 26s
    5. Healing along edges and areas of contrast
      2m 8s
    6. Healing and patching
      5m 19s
    7. Using Content-Aware Fill
      4m 27s
    8. Using multiple content-aware tools for the best results
      4m 19s
    9. Making multiple selections with Content-Aware Fill
      2m 18s
    10. Deleting unwanted elements
      3m 59s
    11. Removing a garment strap with spot healing
      1m 46s
    12. Cleaning up an image with spot healing, cloning, and healing
      6m 14s
  24. 48m 59s
    1. Creative tip: Leaving crumbs
      1m 18s
    2. Whitening teeth
      2m 8s
    3. Improving eyes
      3m 24s
    4. Changing eye color
      2m 48s
    5. Enhancing makeup
      5m 33s
    6. Removing blemishes
      2m 20s
    7. Softening skin
      7m 0s
    8. Reducing shadows around eyes
      5m 32s
    9. Reducing and removing wrinkles around eyes
      6m 43s
    10. Improving highlights and shadows
      5m 6s
    11. Changing body size and shape with Liquify
      3m 50s
    12. Modifying the body with Puppet Warp
      3m 17s
  25. 23m 19s
    1. Using the Lens Correction filter
      5m 16s
    2. Removing distortion with Automatic Lens Correction
      2m 22s
    3. Improving a portrait with Lens Correction
      2m 16s
    4. Using Free Transform to correct perspective
      4m 47s
    5. Using Puppet Warp to correct perspective
      4m 47s
    6. Changing a portrait with Puppet Warp
      3m 51s
  26. 37m 11s
    1. Introducing Smart Sharpen
      4m 56s
    2. Smart Sharpen demystified
      5m 49s
    3. Smart Sharpen and masking
      8m 49s
    4. Using Smart Sharpen on small details
      5m 3s
    5. Using the Unsharp Mask filter
      6m 9s
    6. High Pass sharpening an image
      6m 25s
  27. 20m 5s
    1. Resizing for the web and email
      4m 23s
    2. Sharpening for the web and email
      2m 49s
    3. Correcting color for the web and email
      3m 50s
    4. Saving and exporting images for the web and email
      2m 43s
    5. Creating a web gallery
      4m 0s
    6. Sharing photos online
      2m 20s
  28. 17m 15s
    1. Desktop printing recommendations
      2m 46s
    2. Creating a PDF layout and contact sheets
      3m 5s
    3. Resizing and sharpening for a specific print size
      3m 12s
    4. Using Soft Proof to preview the print
      3m 48s
    5. Using the Print dialog box
      2m 25s
    6. Choosing printer settings
      1m 59s
  29. 56s
    1. Goodbye
      56s

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