Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Toning down color in skin, part of Learning Color Correction in Photoshop (2013).
Accurate and pleasing color can always be important in an image, but when were talking about skin tones it can be all the more important. In this photo, for example, the skin in this woman is looking a little bit ruddy. We've got some red tones that are a bit too saturated, and so we'd like to tone those down. To do that I'll reduce saturation and that should take care of most of the problem. I'll go ahead and start by creating a hue saturation adjustment layer. So I'll click on the add adjustment layer button at the bottom of the layers panel and I'm going to choose hue saturation from the pop-up menu. And then I can reduce saturation but I want to reduce saturation just for those skin tones.
So I'm going to change the master pop-up so that we are reflecting the red values. I'll then increase the value for saturation so that we can confirm that the correct range is being affected. As needed I can adjust the range of colors with the color gradients down below. The lighter grey shows the color range that is being completely effected by the adjustment. And the darker grey shows the area of transition. In this case, I might bring the handles inward just a little bit to tighten up the transition on either side. But then I might expand the range just a little bit so that we're making to get. All of those skin tones.
I'll go ahead and zoom out on the image, and then adjust that saturation back and forth. In this case, I would probably want to reduce the saturation for the image. But as I do that, you'll notice that I'm not only affecting skin tones. I'm actually affecting the red bricks throughout the image as well. And that's because I defined my adjustment based on a specific range of color values. Normally that works great but not when I have the same color values repeated throughout the image, and I only want to affect a specific portion of the image.
So in this case I need to paint the adjustment into the image. I can still leave the adjustment as it is. As far as the adjustment itself is concerned. Because I do only want to effect that range of reds that I've defined, but I want to make sure that I'm also limiting the adjustment to a specific area within the image as well. And so I'll need to modify the layer mask that is associated with my hue saturation adjustment layer. To begin with, I'm going to fill this adjustment layer mask with black. In the context of a layer mask, white reveals and black blocks.
So by filling this layer mask with black, the hue saturation adjustment will not be affecting any of the image. So, I'll go to the Edit menu and choose Fill. I'll then set the use pop up to black, and make sure that the blend mode is set to normal. And the opacity is at 100%. And then I'll click OK. And that layer mask is now filled with black, so the effect of this hue saturation adjustment layer is not visible anywhere in the image. I will then go ahead and choose the brush tool from the tool box, I will press the letter D on the keyboard to make sure the colors are set to their default values, which in the case a Layer mask is white for the foreground color and black for the background color. On the options bar, I will click on the brush pop up to make sure that the hardness is set to 0%, that the blend mode is set to normal and the opacity is at 100%.
I can then zoom in on the image once again. And adjust the brush size as needed, using the left square bracket key to reduce the brush size, and the right square bracket key to increase the brush size, and then I'll paint with white just in the area that I want to affect; in this case, the face, primarily, the skin tones within the image. Now of course you can see that the adjustment is a little bit strong, but that actually helps make it easier for me to see exactly where I'm painting. Now that I know I'm effecting the correct area of the image.
I can go back to my adjustment, and fine tune it so that we get a better result. In this case just bring that saturation back up. I'll take it up to about zero initially, so we can see the colors that were a little bit too vibrant. And then I'll reduce the value just enough, so that we tone down the colors in those skin tones. I think right about there will work pretty well. I'll zoom out and then turn off the visibility for my hue saturation adjustment layer by clicking the eye icon to the left of that layer on the layers panel. So you can see, those skin tones are a little bit too saturated, but now we've toned them down, maybe a little bit too much.
I might bring that saturation up just a little bit, but right about there looks good, so now we've taken those skin tones and toned them down. Both by focusing our adjustment on a specific range of colors, but then also utilizing the layer mask to make sure that we're only adjusting those colors in a very specific area of the image.
- Configuration considerations
- Understanding and evaluating color
- Foundations of color adjustment
- Balancing a specific color
- Eliminating a problem color
- Recovering color detail
- Neutralizing highlights and shadows
- Whitening and brightening
- Using an adjustment layer to paint in a correction