Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Cleaning up images, part of Retouching Bridal Portraits with Photoshop.
When it comes to portrait retouching, I'm often asked hey Chris, well where do you begin? Well often the best place to begin is by cleaning up the photograph. By reducing or removing any distractions or blemishes, and then later by working on the color or by enhancing the photograph. Well that's exactly the strategy that we'll be taking here. We're going to begin by removing a few distractions so let's create a new layer. To do that we can click on the new layer icon and let's rename this layer clean up.
Go ahead and double click the layer name and rename it clean up. Next, let's zoom in a bit closer on the image. Press Cmd+Plus on a Mac, or Ctrl+Plus on Windows a few times so that you can zoom in close. I ought to get rid of these little feathers here, which are coming close to the eyes in this portrait. To do that, we'll be using two different tools. We'll start off by using the Spot Healing Brush, which you can find right here or you can access by pressing the J key. And once you've selected this tool what we need to do is to turn on the option for Content Aware and then Sample All Layers.
With Sample All Layers turned on, this will allow us to perform our retouching so that it's applied to another layer Rather than the background layer, and this way it will give us extra flexibility if ever we make a mistake or if we need to undo what we've done here. Now you often want to work with a really small brush size. In this case the last brush size that we used is really small here. A ten pixel brush, that will probably work really well. Just position your brush over the blemish and see if it's a little bit bigger than the blemish that you're seeking to remove.
Next you can also zoom in closer in order to do even more detail work as I'm doing here. Here I'll go ahead and just position the cursor over that area and then click and drag to begin to remove this from this part of the image. In doing that you can see that htis allows us to really easily get rid of this little distracting element here. If you find that there are other elements there that you want to reduce or remove, well by all means, while your zoomed in, just click and drag over those. And I'm just going to get rid of a few of these little freckles here.
We'll talk a bit more about reducing the freckles or little teeny distractions later. But for now, again while I'm zoomed in I'll just take care a few of those items. Also, because I was retouching a straight line, you may need to go back over that and just click and drag a few times. To make sure you're hiding your tracks. You know, the real telltale sign is when you click on the eye icon to see your before and after, and just make sure that this actually looks better after you've retouched that away. In regards to the edge up here, in regards to how this ends, I'm going to try to mirror, or follow, what I'm seeing over here.
How this sort of, tapers off. It may be difficult to see, but it looks like it just dissolves a little bit there. Well to do that, we'll work with the Clone Stamp Tool. Select the Clone Stamp Tool by pressing the S key, or by clicking on the Clone Stamp Tool in the Tools panel. Next, what you can do with this tool, is you can lower its opacity here. And here we'll decrease its opacity to around 30% or so. We'll see if that will work. You want to make sure that you're sampling all layers. Here if we select all layers, this will allow us to perform our retouching on a separate layer, which just gives us our flexibility.
Alright well next, the way that this tool works, as you probably know, is you option or alt-click in a certain area. Let's Option+click on a Mac, Alt+click on Windows. And then we start to just paint. And all we're looking to do here is just to give that a little bit of a soft edge as we've done there. Well, that looks pretty good. Next, I want to get rid of this other feather. Now, because this feather cuts across the eyebrow, and also the eye, Most likely, the clone stamp tool will work better and most likely I'll need to zoom in even further.
So, here I'm going to zoom in past 100%. I'm going to work with this tool with a little bit of a higher opacity. I'll try right around 70%. Option or Alt+click right next door to where you're retouching and then just go ahead and start to paint away. Now, because we're doing this at a little bit of a low opacity, we'll also need to probably option+alt+click from another area, and then paint from another side. In changing your sample area, as I'm doing here, it just allows you to sort of hide your tracks and not create a repeating pattern.
That's really important. So, we want to disguise our tracks as much as possible. In regards to getting up to this area, we'll just decrease your brush size, and then you can go ahead and just see to sort of taper that off a little bit here. And with using a little bit of a lower opacity, in this case 70%, it allows us to reduce or remove that. You know, if the retouching that you do with your clone sample tool isn't perfect You can always go back with your spot removal tool, and you can go on top of that, and you can then bring back some other texture as well, and sometimes that will help out.
Alright, well, let's get to the tricky area. Here, I'll press the space bar key, and click and drag down to work on this area, and go back to the good old clone stamp tool. WIth this tool selected, I'll press the Option key right next to the blemish that I'm working on, and I'll just click and drag over that. You can see I'm just painting little, teeny brush strokes over that. And I'm looking to do this detail work just a little bit at a time. If you make a mistake, as I just did, I press Cmd+Z to undo that. And here I'm going to go from the other side as well.
I just want to make sure I'm evening out the tone here. In doing that, I'm really just trying to hide my tracks as much as possible. I'm going to decrease the opacity a little bit more, and when you have lower opacity, it just allows you to work a little bit more slowly. It allows you to make really subtle adjustments Now of course, how you make these adjustments really depends upon how much time you have. In this case, I'm taking time to do this. Perhaps this is a portrait which is really important and you're going to print this one big or something along those lines.
So if that's the case again you want to take time and make all of these little teeny brushstrokes. You want to continually Option or Alt click to sample a new area. And just go through this piece by piece. And in doing that, ideally, what you'll be able to do is to retouch this out in a really natural and clean way. I think we're getting close to that. We could obviously spend some more time, but for demo purposes, if we click on the eye icon, here's the before. And now here is the after. You know, when you work on a little detail area, you almost always want to zoom back out.
Sometimes you can get so close to your photographs that you forget to take a look at how this fits into the overall image. Well, here, when we click on this to see the before and then the after, I think it looks good Except this upper edge, here. It's a little bit too defined. So here I'll decrease the opacity, Option or Alt + Click to start to paint that away. I'm just going to sample from a few surrounding areas here, just to sort of taper that off there a little bit in that way. All right, well, great. We've done some of our initial clean-up work.
Again, we can evaluate how we're doing by clicking on the "i" icon to see the before and then to see the after. We obviously have a little bit more detail work to do. So let's go ahead and keep this file open as we'll continue to work on it in the next movie.
- Cleaning up images and removing distractions
- Softening skin and reducing freckles
- Enhancing eyes
- Adding blur to the background
- Using Liquify to change the wedding dress
- Adjusting light and color with Curves and masking
- Painting in light with the Camera Raw adjustment brush
- Whitening teeth
- Cropping to improve compositions
- Converting to black and white