The 15 Minute Makeover: Photoshop Beauty Retouching
1 The 15 Minute Makeover: Photoshop Beauty Retouchin
|A split image showing results both before and after my 15 minute makeover.|
Skin needs to be retouched. Even beautiful skin with great makeup. The problem with most of the Photoshop techniques I’ve experimented with over the years (burning & dodging individual pores, Surface Blur filter, Dust and Scratches filter, etc.) is they take too long, aren’t very convincing, or - worst of all - make the subject look like a victim of plastic surgery gone bad.
In this article I’m going to show you a combination of techniques I regularly use that results in beautiful, smooth skin that still looks totally real. Best of all, it won’t take all day to accomplish. From start to finish, an experienced Photoshop user should be able to do this in about 15 minutes.
Our workflow follows three basic stages.
1. Manually retouch big flaws and wrinkles via a separate retouching layer
2. Merge the retouching edits into the image layer
3. Use the Red channel of the merged layer to smooth the skin
Before we get started I want you to beware of and avoid what I call Photographer’s Tunnel Vision - that compulsive desire to do the fun stuff first. Making things perfect comes at the end, not the beginning, of the retouching process. Keep your eye on the big picture (no pun intended).
The first tools we'll be reaching for are the Clone Stamp Tool and Spot Healing Brush. With these we can retouch major blemishes, flyaway hairs, and any other texture/color irregularities.
Stage 1: Retouch Obvious Blemishes and Imperfections
Create a new, empty pixel layer above the Background layer to receive the retouching. The trick here will be to choose the Sample All Layers option while using the Spot Healing Brush and the Current and Below option for the Clone Stamp Tool. This ensures that your chosen tool will copy pixels from the Background into the new layer above it.
Why not retouch right on the Background layer? If you make a mistake, and don’t notice right away, you have to start all over again! Well, couldn't I just duplicate the Background layer, you may ask? That's better than nothing, but it’s still not a great solution: any retouching you do this way is interwoven into the image pixels, so mistakes can often be more complicated to correct.
By contrast, using a separate 'retouching layer' is elegant. It avoids destructive editing, keeps file sizes small, and allows you to easily change your mind or correct mistakes. Since there’s nothing in the retouching layer but retouching edits and transparency, mistakes are easily dealt with; just delete or erase problem areas without touching the rest of your work. Of course, if you like the adrenaline rush of working without a safety net, be my guest. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Cloning and Healing
The Clone Stamp Tool (S) has been a standby for retouchers for many years. To use it, make sure the Aligned Sample box is checked and set the sampling option to Current and Below, which allows you to match tone, texture and color. Option/Alt+click to set the source from which to copy. Then click or brush to remove the blemish.
The Spot Healing Brush (J) is a more recent addition to Photoshop that does a remarkable job of automatically matching tone, texture and color. To use it, enable the Content-Aware and Sample All Layers options. There's no need to set a source point, just click or brush to remove the blemish. This tool can often seem like magic, but it's not infallible. If your first stroke with the Spot Healing Brush isn’t perfect, undo (Cmd/Ctrl+Z) and try stroking from a different direction. To be certain your work is perfect, always view your file at 100% magnification when retouching. If texture, tone, or color do not match, undo and try again. Our goal is for each brush stroke to be invisible - even to you.
With either tool, you will find that some blemishes call for a single click, while others are best removed with a series of short brush strokes. Initially you may have to experiment to find which situations calls for one or the other, but with practice, this will become second nature.
How do you know when you're ready to move on to the next stage? Retouch as I've described above until you’re satisfied that no flaws bigger than a freckle are visible anymore.
Pay Attention to the Eyes
I always use a separate layer when working on the eyes because it allows me to adjust the opacity of the retouching; striking a perfect balance point between enhanced and overdone. Allowing a bit of the original image to show thorough keeps everything real. It’s up to you how much. If you’ve never done this, you’ll be amazed at the control you can exercise by adjusting the overall opacity of an under-eye retouching layer.
Yes, I know… You can achieve the same result by varying the opacity of the brushes. But with brushes you have to get it exactly right the first time. There’s no experimenting. No changing your mind later. It’s so much easier (and more powerful) to smooth away folds, bags, or dark circles under the eyes, and then dial back the opacity until it looks believable. Take a close look at the examples below.
Stage 2: Merge All of Your Layers Into a New Layer
Now we're ready to merge all of our working layers into a brand new layer. Why a new layer? Because in a moment we’ll be using the Red channel as the basis for our skin smoothing, and we need that channel to include all of the visible information: the original pixels and the retouching.
Furthermore, we don't want to lose access to the hard work we've done up to this point, so we want to copy all of these layers into a new layer, rather than simply flattening the image! The Merge Visible command is found in the fly-out menu at the upper right of the Layers Panel as well as in the main Layers menu. But here's where a keyboard modifier is a must. Holding the option key when choosing this menu item tells Photoshop to merge into a new layer. Otherwise, it's virtually the same as Flatten Image. The keyboard shortcut for merging all visible layers into a new layer is Opt+Shift+Cmd+E (Alt+Shift+Ctrl+E on Windows). This shortcut is affectionately known as 'The Claw'. Try it with one hand and you’ll understand why!
As you can easily find yourself with multiple retouching layers, now is a good time to get them organized by using layer groups. Select your retouching layers in the Layers panel and choose New Group From Layers in the panel's fly-out menu. Give the group a name, like oh, I don't know, 'Retouching' and hit OK. This is a great way to keep your layers manageable and easily accessible.
Sep 30, 2014
Jun 18, 2014
Jun 18, 2014
Jun 18, 2014
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.
Nikon has announced the development of the long-awaited replacement to its full-frame D810: the D850. Nikon says that the D850 will build on the strengths of its predecessor and offer 'new technologies, features and performance enhancements.'
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.