Join Timothy Sexton for an in-depth discussion in this video Cleaning up blemishes with the Clone Stamp tool, part of Photoshop Retouching Techniques: Beauty Portraits.
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Now we are going to start on removing blemishes and inconsistencies throughout the skin. Using the same idea as removing the hairs, we will be adjusting our clone stamp to fit with the texture and softness, or the more in focused areas of the skin. So I am going to get a nice small little clone stamp, let's turn of Transfer, and let's bring the hardness up, and if you look at the edge of the brush right here as I crank it up and down, you can kind of visually figure out how hard you need it to be. This is going to be even smaller, and let's just really zoom in, even more than we did for the hair, and let's get in there and let's really go to town on the skin.
You could see how using the harder edge brush right here makes sense, as opposed to a softer, because it's distributing the pixels in a way that makes it feel a bit more natural. And that's why it's always important to understand your tools and how they work and to understand when to use certain tools, when not to use certain tools, and what settings you should have them on. Little make up here we want to clean up. So I kind of do this a bit frame by frame, but I do like to bounce around. I don't like to concentrate on one little area at the same time. And for yourself, if you like zooming in, just concentrating on one area at a time, that's fine. This has just been the way that I found works best for me.
When I get too caught up in one area, I find that I lose sight of its overall, and I tend to flatten areas out and retouch them a bit too much. Now freckles. That's kind of strange looking one right there. It doesn't quite look like a freckle. It looks a little bit more like a blemish, but when you zoom out it looks like a freckle. So what we are going to do is, we are going to take it out for right now, being that we have this blemish layer, we can always go back. But just right now that looks kind of ugly.
Let's get rid of it and let's take a look at everything overall later on and figure out a better way to deal with that. I am just going through--I can see these little spots of color there, and right here you could see why I need to soften up my brush a little bit. Let's move over here and bring the Hardness down, go to Transfer, and just correct that, the mistake that I made right there. Let's smooth this highlight out a little bit.
The clone stamp has come a really long way in Photoshop. It used to look just really bad on skin, but I think as people have gotten better at this, and the industry has moved along, I think people just know how to use it better now. It used to be that you never wanted to use the clone stamp on skin, and now I find it the best way to quickly move through images without losing too much of the texture.
Let's get rid of these little specular highlights in here. Again, these areas can be really tricky, these little specular highlights, because they are basically parts of her skin and it's her texture, but it's also the makeup that's causing it to really pop out like that. So you have to get rid of it, but you have to get rid of it in a way that's not going to soften everything up and make everything really, really mushy, and that's precisely why we're doing all of this on separate layers like this.
So we can control the amount of texture that we are taking out and we can control the retouching. So let's take a minute to zoom out and see where we are right now. Just turn this on and off and see. So we are getting rid of some of the big stuff and let's zoom back in a bit, maybe not as tight as we were before, and let's just continue to get rid of these inconsistencies throughout the skin.
And for this, I can get this done a bit quicker if I just get a bigger brush. Really pay attention when you do skin work with a large brush like this, because you don't want to cause any repetition. You don't want to make any repetitive marks on your skin. Okay, so let's zoom out and let's take a look at this image overall and see where we are let's take care of these necklines right down here. Let's get rid of those, so again, we will zoom in and you can see it's pretty soft down here, so we are going to need a soft clone stamp to get rid of that. This is where we are at, and we are just going to lightly take it away.
And removing lines like this, sometimes you will need more than the clone stamp. You might want a Dodge and Burn, something like that. That's just fine. And when I zoom out, I will be able to see that a little bit more clearly, but for right now, we just want to get rid of it. I can see it's getting a little bit mushy right there, but that's something that can easily be fixed with a Dodge and Burn tool. Sometimes you have to create little problems when you are retouching to get rid of larger problems. It's like chess. Just knowing your next move, and just being prepared to sacrifice one thing for another.
So just pretty quickly I was able to get rid of those, and you could see how mushy it is now down there. So I'm going to move to my Dodge and Burn tool. I have to set the Exposure at 10%, I'm on Midtone, and again, I am going to want to have a soft brush, which is where I am at. Make sure everything is set up, okay. I like to Dodge and Burn when I am zoomed out, like this, because I can really see the shape a lot better, as opposed to being zoomed in. So I am just going to dodge this area right here, this little dark spot, and then holding down Option, it switches over to Burn, and I am going to burn in some of these areas here.
Just even it out a bit. Make it look a less blotchy. Now her skin is very blotchy and I'm going to go over a better technique for dodging and burning overall in a moment. Just for right now, just help me get rid of these lines. I am just going to do that. Beauty images like this, these kinds of portraits, require a tremendous amount of time of skin work. Using the techniques I showed you, I spent a little under two hours cleaning up all of this skin, and just really kind of perfecting it and making sure that the texture is still there.
There is a lot of quick ways out there, quick ways that people find to clean up skin and I find that just really spending time using the techniques that I showed you, just repeating it over and over again, and going over the skin, it's just really the best way to do it.
Next, Timothy delves into several core aspects of retouching—skin, hair, clothing, and body shaping—providing real-world insights and Adobe Photoshop techniques. The course describes ways to enhance eyes and lips, selectively sharpen portions of a photo to draw attention to them, use masks to change the color of clothing, and more. The course concludes with details on how to evaluate your work.
- Working on color, contrast, and tone
- Managing layers
- Removing imperfections with the Clone Stamp and Quick Mask tools
- Using soft and hard brushes to clean up hair
- Refining the eyes and brows
- Plumping lips with Liquify
- Finalizing the color
- Finishing with Dodge and Burn