Retouching workflow with Photoshop and Lightroom, pt. 1: Reducing blemishes
Retouching workflow with Photoshop and Lightroom, pt. 1: Reducing blemishes
In the next few movies, we'll be working on this photograph. What I want to do here is highlight a way that we can use Lightroom and Photoshop together in order to come up with the best results. We're going to start off with this photograph in Lightroom. A lot of times what happens is we capture an image, we import it into Lightroom, and then we make maybe a few minor adjustments. Let's say we go to the Basic panel, and we realize it might be nice to have a little fill light, a little bit of contrast. And then maybe we zoom in on the image, and we realize that there are a lot of little teeny skin variations.
Because this is a fashion photograph, we're going to want to reduce or remove a lot of those, even some of the little freckles there in the skin. Well, we could of course do this in Lightroom. It would be really tedious. It's going to be fast or more efficient and we're going to get better results if we first go to Photoshop. So let's do that. With this image here, let's use our shortcut to edit this in Photoshop: Command+E on a Mac, Ctrl+E on Windows. Now, what we want to do is edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments.
So anything we've done, even those micro little adjustments, will be sent to Photoshop, so our files will look exactly the same. What I see here is what I'll open in Photoshop. All right! Here I'll click Edit. This will then pass this file off to Photoshop. Here I'll press F to go to Full Screen View mode, and what I want to do then is zoom in a little bit on the image. When I zoom in on the image, I notice there are some small little skin variations and blemishes and whatnot. So I'm going to fix those. I'm going to do this by creating a new layer.
Clicking on the new layer icon gives me that new layer. I'll name this one "r1" for retouch 1. Next, I'm going to select one of my Healing tools, like the tool I've selected here, which is the Healing brush. I want to make sure in my Options bar to turn on all layers. It's over here on the right. Then I'll make my brush nice and small by pressing the Left Bracket key, press Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, to sample a nice clean area of skin, and then to heal or to kind of paste that on top of the area that I want to clean up.
You'll notice that as I am going through the image, working on all these small little blemishes, that one of the things that I'm doing is I am constantly Option+Clicking or Alt+Clicking. I'll make my brush a little bigger here, and I am doing that so that I am always sampling from different areas of skin. I want to hide my tracks as much as possible. This is a beauty image, so I am going for something a bit more idealized, yet I don't want it to look fake. I want to have a sense of realism in regards to the way the retouching is done. I don't want to have anything that gives away that I've done this type of retouching.
So here, I'll go up and work on the forehead. You want to make sure you work throughout the entirety of your photograph; otherwise you may make, let's say the cheeks look good, but then the forehead doesn't, and that's kind of a dead giveaway that there's something wrong. All right! Well, here again, just Option+ Clicking or Alt+Clicking, sampling all these little areas and going through and reducing and simplifying. A little bit bigger brush when you have larger areas to sample from. Just want to be careful that you don't do anything that's too over the top. We're looking for simple, subtle, and stunning retouching. All right! Well, you can see that I could of course have done this inside of Lightroom, but it would have been so tedious.
It would have taken me so much time to get through all these little teeny blemishes, and I couldn't have kind of stacked this on top of it. You notice that sometimes I'm going over multiple areas multiple times. So I'll go back over something and I go and I blend it in with another texture, and then I sample another texture, and then I blend that in, and then I blend this and that. And it's really this back and forth process, working incredibly quickly but really coming up with stunning results. And panning around the image, making sure I'm reducing and simplifying in a way that's consistent across the board here. And work on the neck a little bit.
Some of you may be thinking, "Gosh, I don't really know about this type of retouching, and this type of Photoshop work is new to me." Well, if you're in that scenario, there are plenty of training courses on the lynda.com Training Library that talk about portrait and fashion retouching. It may be worthwhile to go back and revisit those if you're feeling like this whole retouching thing in Photoshop is a new topic. All right! Well, here I think we've done a decent job. Actually a little bit more. We need to work on this wrinkle underneath the eye there. Make sure to get that out.
And also over here. We'll do a little bit more work underneath the eyes, but for starters, we just want to get some of the major stuff that's most noticeable out there. All right! Let's look at the before and after now. Here we have it: before and then after. Again, before and after. So far, so good. We really couldn't have done this type of work inside of Lightroom. It would have taken too much time, and it wouldn't have been worth all of these efforts. Okay. Well, now let's zoom out a little bit. One of the things I'm noticing is I've started to work on this area of the eye, but I haven't done that good of a job.
I need to create a new layer. So I'll click on the New Layer icon. Call this one "r2." Here I'm going to make my brush a little bit bigger, and Option+Click or Alt+Click near the corner of the eye, and then just start to paint alongside of this. I'm just seeing if I can get a good brushstroke there and then bring this a little bit more closely in, and I'm looking to try to bring out some of the shadows underneath the eyes. I'll go to both sides. You saw that previously I had worked on the little wrinkles underneath there; now I'm really going for the dark areas underneath the eyes.
I'm using the Healing brush. Pretty big brush. My adjustments might be a touch too strong, but that's okay, because we can lower the opacity of adjustments like this. The great thing about this is this adjustment just sits on its own layer. There it is, by itself. So now here, I can lower the opacity to blend that in. So we just have a little bit of a softer shadow there, and here's my overall before and then after. Let's zoom in so you can actually see that. Before and after. Really quick work in Photoshop, yet it gives us some pretty strong results.
What we need to do next is save this file out and then go back to Lightroom. So let's save this file. To do so, I'll go to the File pulldown menu, and here I'll just choose Save. And then I'll go to the File pulldown menu, and then I'll choose Close. This will then take me back to Lightroom, and in Lightroom, we'll have two images. You can see these two files: here's the file we started with, and then here's the file after some retouching. Let's zoom in a little bit, so we can see that. And again, here is the original file, and then here is the file after our Photoshop work. All right! Well, so far, so good.
Half of our work is now done. And we've worked in Photoshop because Photoshop was the more effective tool for the task at hand, and you have to keep that in mind. You have to learn Photoshop really well, and you have to learn Lightroom really well and then know when to use what tool. Well, now since we're back in Lightroom, what I want to do is take advantage of one of Lightroom's strengths to make this retouching even better, and we'll do that in the next movie.
Retouching workflow with Photoshop and Lightroom, pt. 1: Reducing blemishes provides you with in-depth training on Photography. Taught by Chris Orwig as part of the Lightroom 3 Advanced Techniques
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