Join Timothy Sexton for an in-depth discussion in this video Actions and Layer management, part of Photoshop Retouching Techniques: Skin.
To set up our image, we're going to create an action that will enable us to set up all of our images much more quickly. To do that, get this folder right here, and let's label this Setup. Hit OK, and now click on this little page right here, and label it Setup again. Now, after you hit Record, anything that you do will be recorded into this action. So, be careful not to do anything that you don't want recorded into your setup. So, let's hit Record. And the first thing we're going to do is double-click on the Background Layer here, which unlocks it and also gives us the option of labeling it.
So, let's label this ORIG for ORIG, and we hit Return. And now we're going to duplicate that and label this RT. Now, since this image is fresh from being processed, we need to convert it from an eight bit depth. So, let's go to Image> Mode, and we go right here to 8 Bit, and now, let's do a Select All > Cmd+A, and we're going to bring up an adjustment curve now. Option Cmd+M, which is the quick key that I made and hit OK.
And now let's go over to Image> Canvas Size and we clicked on Relative here, and let's change the width to 1 inch by 1 inch. Which will give us a half inch on all sides. So, we hit OK, and the image extends out. Now, let's Cmd+Click the curves right here to make a selection. Shift+Cmd+I to inverse that selection. And now we're going to fill that with a solid color. Let's go right here to this little half moon, select Solid Color, and bring it all the way up to this top left, which gives us a pure white.
You could see it right here, 255, 255, 255. Let's hit OK. And we're going to label that Trim. Now let's throw away our Curves1 layer. And we're ready to go, so let's stop the action. And now, let's just give it a test, to make sure that it works by going back in our history. And we go right up here to select Setup. Select it within the folder. And just open it up so we could see it. And then hit this Play button right here. And boom, it's done.
That's a really, really great way to quickly set up your files. Okay. Now we're going to set a look to this image. And we'll start that with adding some contrast to this image. Option+Cmd+M is our quick key to bring up a new layer. Adjustment curve. So, we'll hit OK. And now right before we bend these curves to create contrast, we want to take a look in these denser areas here. And it is very dark in these areas, in the eyes and in the hair. So, we don't want the image to get too much darker than it is, but we still want to create some snap to it.
So, we can do that by holding the three-quarter tone right here. So, let's just click right there. And we're going to then hit the hand right here and select one of these lighter areas, which is right about there. And from there, using our keyboard arrow key, the up arrow, we're going to just start nudging it up, just clicking away at it, until you see the image starting to snap. Now, regardless of holding that three quarter tone, it is getting a bit plugged up in the blacks.
So, we're going to have to use a separate mouse to help bring out that detail, plugged up means, that when it prints, it's just going to print as big solid mass of black and not look realistic. So, let's go ahead and do that. Now, using the minus key on your keyboard, you could toggle back and forth between these anchor points. So, using the arrow keys again. Using the up arrow key, and the arrow that points to the left. I'm going to nudge this up a little bit. And see if we can't bring out some detail that way, without having to resort to, too strong of masks.
So, click it up a little bit, click it to the left a little. And we're kind of losing that snap so, we're going to definitely have to use the mask there, to bring that detail out. So, that's a pretty good contrast to start with. Let's just put that curve away. And now because of the contrast curve, it's sort of pushed the colors to become much denser, and has caused them to flash a bit. And you could see it all in here, right next to her hair. So, we're going to control that a bit with a Hue-Saturation layer. Option + Cmd + U brings up our hue sat.
We'll hit OK. And let's just slide this saturation down a little bit here. Usually it's between a minus seven and a minus ten that gives us a nice desat look without having to gray out the image. Let's hide that away, and now let's create a nice color look to this image, and I have this trick for making creamier looking skin. So, Option + Cmd+ M will bring up a curve. Let's hit Return. And let's go straight to the blue right here. And what we're going to do, is from the shadow point, we're going to lift blue up into the shadows.
And let me just cranking this so you can see what happens. We're obviously not going to go that far, but let's move it to about an output of 15. And you could type in numbers here, on your keyboard. Hit Return. And now, let's hit this hand right here. And we'll sample an area right here on the lighter part of her skin. Which brings it right above the midtone. And now using your down arrow key, we're going to put some yellow into those lighter areas. This contract of color can really lend to some, creating some really, really cool looks, and can give the skin this creamy feel that we're going for here.
Okay, that's looking pretty good. Now, let's just go up to the green, and we're to introduce a little bit of Magenta into these darker areas. So, it doesn't stay so blue. So, let's just select one of these. I don't want to select here in these really dense areas. I want to move up from the shadow point a bit. That's right about there, okay. And, just we want to click on the keyboard, hitting the arrow that points to the right. And now hitting the down arrow key. You could see how fast that sort of moves. And that's because we're down here low, below the three-quarter.
And now let's balance that off by selecting this light part here, and clicking that up and just putting a little bit of green into those areas. ' Kay, now let's go up to our red and we're going to select these red areas right here and we're just going to add a little bit of ycan into it to balance that off and one click down. And one click to the right should do it. Okay, I like the way that that looks, so let's put that curve away. After I set the color like that I sometimes move my Adjustment layers around.
Let's see how they react to being in different spots and when I put this color curve below the contrast curve. It picks up a little of contrast, but I think I'm going to do it there, I think it's okay there. Okay, let's open up these areas right in here but with some selective masking. So, hitting Q and going into Quick Mask mode and hitting B for our brush. Let's just make this kind of large, and check the settings on it, and it's right where I want it. A very soft brush on Transfer mode. And let's just paint in these areas.
Just lightly. It doesn't have to be perfect and in fact it shouldn't be perfect. And stay off the edges a little bit so we don't pick up any of the background and change the density back there. Okay. Now let's. To exit Quick Mask hit Q again, and that gives us a new selection. Option+Cmd+M for a curve. Hit Return. And right here from the midtones, let's just lift it up a little bit to lift that density, and just crank it so you can kind of see what's happening. So, you can see that there is a lot of detail in there, but we just want a hint of it, so right about there.
Okay, let's put that away. Let's click on our RT layer and go back into Quick Mask by hitting Q. Let's get the brush, and then using the brackets next to the P. Using the left bracket will give us a smaller brush. Now, let's zoom into the eyes, and lift some density in there. So, just nice and loose. And again, this kind of quick selection, you really don't want to have perfect masks for this. You want it to be sort of loose. So, hit Q again to exit Quick Mask. Option+Cmd+M, to bring up a curve.
Let's hit OK. And let's just lift up again in that midtone area. We can see, just by cranking it, what happens. Okay, there we go, just a bit. That's all we want for now. We don't want to overly pop them, just to bring out some detail. And let's hide that away. Let's pan out, take a look at what we have so far. And, I am going to, now that we've opened up these denser areas, I'm going to go back to the contrast curve, and I'm going to add a little bit more density into it. Just to create a little bit more snap, and just pop her off that background a little bit more. Yeah, that looks nice, I like that.
Okay, let's put that away. And then, let's further, let's take a little bit of that color out now. I think, this time, I'm just going to use my keyboard to type in 11. Okay, that's a really great start, and we can begin our retouching.
- Choosing your tools
- Eliminating facial hair
- Reducing blemishes
- Working with beauty skin
- Identifying what to remove
- Enhancing facial structure with Liquefy
- Correcting "dirty" areas, aka gray spots
- Restoring lost or missing texture