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I like to get my photographs as close to perfect as possible, in camera, but use Photoshop on a regular basis to take care of wrinkles and bags. I tell my clients that I'm not going to make them look 17, but rather I will make them look refreshed and ready for the day. So the first thing that I do when I open up a file is that I make sure that I am working at 50% or 100%. Then go over to the Layers, click on the background and drag it to the little icon to make a new layer, name your layer, name it retouch, then go over to the Clone Stamp tool, click on that, and what I'm going to do is work first on the bags under her eyes.
The first thing I'm going to do is go up here to the Mode, take that down to Lighten, I'm going to set my Opacity at about 35%. I chose Lighten because it will only affect the pixels that are darker than the sample area and it'll lighten them up a little. So the opacity is dependent on how dark the circles are and I'm going to set this at 36 or around somewhere in there.
I can adjust that later if it's a little heavy or if it's a little light, but I think that's going to give me a good starting point. I'm going to find a clean piece of skin to sample. It's important to find the clean skin that you can sample so that you have the smoothest cloning possible, and then simply start here and lighten the area. That's looks pretty darn good. But I do want to work a little bit on this area here. So I'm going to go in again and sample.
This time I'm bringing down the size of my brush by doing a left bracket and I'll just run one more pass this way. You want to be careful that you don't do too many passes with this tool, because you'll start to lose the texture of the skin. So, let's go over on the other side and work with this and find a clean area of skin, right bracket to increase the size of the brush. I'm still at opacity of 38% and I'm going to just go through and lift it up just a little bit.
I think that looks pretty good, although I want it just a smidgen lighter. Go over here and drop this opacity down to 11%, take another sample, and this time I'm going to work just on this area. There we go. It looks pretty good. You can do the same thing with wrinkles. When I work with wrinkles, I normally start somewhere around 15% and I'll make the Brush tool smaller by doing a left bracket, find a clean piece of skin to sample and then just drag it along, and you can see how nicely that lightens it up in a very subtle way.
This one I'm going to do two passes. I wouldn't do more than two passes. Instead I wouldn't raise my opacity so that again I can keep the texture of the skin intact. So let's take a look at what we've got so far. Oh yeah! She looks much more rested. Now I don't normally take these moles off, but I do try to make them less prominent, and in this case, I'm using the very same tool, going up to the Mode, and instead of lighten I'm going to darken.
Again, this will only affect the pixels that are lighter than the area I've sampled. My brush size is about the right size. I'm going to take a sample in the same wrinkle area that the mole is next to and just kind of go in and lift it up a little bit. I am at an opacity of 16. Now that is too low for this. I'm going to bring it up to around 50. Again, take a sample. This time I'm going to raise up my brush a little bit, and then just go in.
And you can see how that has taken it down so it's not quite as bright as it was before. I'm going to show you another technique to get rid of wrinkles and bags. I'll click off our retouch layer now. I'll make a new layer. This one I'm going to name patch, after the tool, and then over here underneath the Spot Healing brush is where the Patch tool lives. The Patch tool is kind of like a Healing Brush, except that you are able to define what area it's actually grabbing.
So take it and pull the area that you want to freshen up a bit, pull that down to some clean skin and there you have it. Now that is way too intense of a change. So I hit the Shift key, Command+F. This will bring up the Fade dialog box. Now I can pull down the opacity and make it look more believable. You have to use this tool immediately after you use the Patch tool, otherwise it won't work.
Click OK and get rid of the dancing ants, and let's take a look at the other side. I'll do the very same thing. Now in this situation I'm going to take it across here, because that's where the clean skin is. You want to try to match the tone of the skin. Okay, again it's a little heavy. So Shift+Command+F brings up your Fade dialog. Pull it down, and you can adjust where you want the fade to be.
Down here is closer to where it was and right about there. It's kind of matching the other side maybe a little bit more, click OK. You can do this very easily with wrinkles. Just circle them, pull them into some clean skin Shift+Command+F to Fade that opacity back, and you get more normal looking but softer wrinkles. Here is another one, and I'll grab real quick.
Again, when you do this, you want to find skin that is clean, but is similar in tone to what you're working with and again Shift+Command+F, pull this back to about there and there you go. So let's take a look at what we've got. She definitely looks more relaxed and rested. Now with Photoshop, and especially with retouching, there's a lot of personal opinion that comes into play, and for me I believe that people should look real.
They shouldn't look like they're mannequins. They should still have wrinkles and character lines, because once you erase those, then you erase part of their personality. What I would do from here is that I would go through and take some of the discoloration out here, and add some emphasis to her features, her eyebrows, her eyes, and lighten her eyes a little bit. Again, I wouldn't make it look totally unbelievable. I wouldn't make her eyes totally white or her skin totally smooth.
I want people to recognize the people in the photographs, and just think that they look marvelous.
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