After I've removed any of the noticeable blemishes that are obviously temporary, so we want to get rid of, I might want to use this little technique to soften the skin a little bit. Now, I could turn the background into a smart object in order to apply this filter. But because I'm doing pixel-based editing, I think it's going to be easier and it's also going to enable me to do more things if I just duplicate the background and then run the filter on the duplicate later. So in order to duplicate the background, I'll use Cmd+J or Ctrl+J.
Now I have layer one. And I'm going to rename that soften skin. Now Enter or Return in order to apply that name. And let's zoom in to 100%. I'll use Cmd+1 or Ctrl+1 on Windows in order to do that. Now on this layer, I'm going to chose the Filter menu and then select the Camera Raw Filter. Here I'll also want to zoom in to 100%. But I need to use a different shortcut and that is Cmd+Option+0 or on Windows, Ctrl+Alt+0.
Now in order to soften the skin, I'm going to use the clarity slider. So I'll move that to the left, maybe around 40, 45, and I'm not worrying about the eyes or her teeth or anything. I'm just looking at the skin right now. I just want a little bit of softness. When I click OK, that will be applied to this entire soften skin layer. But I obviously want to be selective as to where I apply it. So at the bottom of the Layers panel, we'll add a mask and before I click the mask icon, I'm going to hold down the Option and the Alt key. Click on that mask icon.
That adds a black mask, which means everything on the soften skin layer is being hidden, but now I can select my paint brush by tapping the B key. Get a larger brush, just using the right bracket, and maybe I'll decrease my opacity down to around 40% by tapping the 4 key. And with white as my foreground color, I can paint in her skin areas in any area that I want to apply this change that I've made to that layer. Get a little smaller brush as I move down here to her chin, and I want to be a little careful. I don't want to paint over her lips or her teeth, because I don't want those softened.
I don't really want to soften her nose either, so I'll keep my paint brush away from those areas. Way up here on her forehead, maybe get a little smaller of a brush again just using those bracket keys, left and right, to get a smaller or larger brush. Right now, if I want to see a before and after of this technique, all I need to do is toggle the eye icon next to the soften skin layer. So that's before and after. Before and after. So you can see we're just decreasing the contrast in those skin areas. If I think I've gone too far, I just need to lower the opacity of this layer. Kind of tone it back a bit.
And then again, toggle the eye icon on and off next to the layer to show before and after. So there's a real quick technique for just softening the skin in a portrait.
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