Photoshop Smoothing | Easily Smooth And Soften Skin In Photoshop | High-end Retouching Techniques [free Action Included]

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Easily Smooth And Soften Skin In Photoshop | High-end Retouching Techniques [free Action Included]


Hi, welcome back to the PhotoshopTrainingChannel. com. I’m Jesus Ramirez. In this video, I’m going to show you how to smooth skin in Photoshop. You’re going to learn two powerful skin softening techniques. Both of these techniques are nondestructive, which means that you’ll be able to come back and make adjustments to your edits at any time. But most importantly, these methods leave the skin texture intact, which will give you beautiful smooth skin without it looking too soft or too fake. The first technique will take advantage of a brand new feature of Photoshop CC. If you’re in an older version of Photoshop then don’t worry. The second technique will work with Photoshop CS6. It does require a few more steps, but it gives you total control over your image and your skin softening effect. And make sure that you stick around until the very end of the tutorial, because I’m going to be sharing with you a free Photoshop retouching action. This action will allow you to apply the second technique, which is one single click, so that you can start smoothing skin right away. Okay, let’s get started. This is a portrait that we’re going to work with. Again, this first example is for the latest version of Photoshop, Photoshop CC. If you’re working on an older version, then you can fast forward to the second technique and you can follow along with that. So, with this layer selected, I’m simply going to press Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac to duplicate the layer. This step is not really necessary, but it will help me show you a before and after when we’re done. Now, before you smooth the skin of any portrait, what you have to do is remove large blemishes that the skin smoothing technique may not get rid of. If you zoom into your portrait, you may see some larger distractions. She, actually, doesn’t have too many. Maybe this one here, maybe this blemish there. It’s not a lot, but we’ll remove it now. That way, things are much easier when we apply the skin smoothing technique. So what you want to do is create a new layer. To work nondestructively, we’re going to make all our adjustments in this layer. I’m going to rename it and and I’ll call it spot healing, because I’m going to use a Spot Healing Brush tool. With that layer selected, go into the Spot Healing Brush tool found in the tools bar. Make sure that sample all layers is selected, and before we actually start working with it, I want to show you one thing. I’m going to use the right bracket key on the keyboard to make the brush larger. You can see the preview there. That shows you how big your brush is. If you don’t see that, that’s because the Caps Lock key is enabled. So if you see a crosser, like that one, just tap on the Caps Locks key to disable it, and the brush preview comes back. So what I want to show you is how most people work with this tool. Most people, uh, just work with this tool with the normal setting. Notice that the mode is set to normal, and that just means that Photoshop samples pixels depending on where you paint. And in most cases it does a really good job. Unfortunately, if you zoom in, you’ll notice that sometimes it destroys the texture of the skin, and that’s because we’re targetingall pixels, and usually, we don’t want to do that. We want to target specific pixels. So I’m going to undo those adjustments. And what you want to do is select your Spot Healing Brush tool. Then in the mode, select either darken or lighten. The mode that you select depends on the blemish or distraction that you’re trying to remove. If the distraction is darker than the skin tone, select lighten. If the distraction is brighter than the skin tone, select darken. So let me show you how this works. I’m going to click on lighten, and I’m just going to start removing some of these distractions. And notice that as I do that, I’m not destroying the highlights of the image, I’m just removing the darker pixels. So I’m removing the darker blemishes and keeping the bright areas, which will allow me to keep the skin texture. So I’m going to double-click on the Hand tool to fit the image to screen, and I’ll just remove some of the darker blemishes in the image fairly quickly here. She actually doesn’t have too many. Uh, I’m just showing you just in case your image has larger blemishes that the skin smoothing technique will not get rid of. So, I’m just removing some of these blemishes. And, that’s the before and the after. Really quickly, we were able to clean up her face. I’m going to zoom into the corner of her mouth, and there’s a white spot there that I want to remove. But watch what happens. With that same technique, if I make my brush a little smaller with the left bracket key and tap, it will not remove that distraction because it’s brighter than the skin tone. So I don’t want to lighten it. Instead, I want to darken it. So I’ll select darken, and I’ll just remove that blemish. And notice how I didn’t affect the shadows in the darker pixels, only the brighter pixels. And that’s why I recommend using modes, because you will eliminate only the pixels that you’re targeting. And I can switch in between ’em. I can go back into a lighten and just, maybe, remove some these spots. But this is really not necessary. The skin smoothing technique will get rid of those of spots. I’m going to double-click on the Hand tool again, to fit the image to screen, and you can see the before and the after. So once you remove the larger blemishes from your image, what you need to do is select your spot healing layer, hold Shift, and select your portrait layer, and right-click, and select convert to smart object. That will place the two layers into a smart object. A smart object is a container that can hold one or more layers, and you can apply adjustments, distortions, and filters non-destructively, which means that you can always come back and edit them at any time. So, with this layer selected, I’m going to go into filter, Camera Raw filter. And the Camera Raw filter allows you to adjust the tonality, color, and details of a photo, and that’s what we’re going to use to create beautiful soft skin. We’re going to use one of the brand new sliders in Photoshop CC, the Texture slider, which can be found in the basic panel right above the Dehaze and Clarity sliders. I’ll zoom in so that you can see how it works. The Texture slider allows you to enhance texture or reduce texture. So notice that when I reduce the texture, it smooths out the skin. I might not want to go all the way to the left, maybe at about negative 75. And if that’s still not smooth enough for you, you can adjust the clarity. If you bring the clarity back down to the negative values, it’ll also smooth out the skin. I probably don’t want to go too far with the clarity. And if you want to learn more about the Texture, Clarity and Dehaze sliders, then I have a video on adjusting texture in Photoshop. I explain in a lot of detail what these sliders do. So I highly recommend watching that video. I’ll place a link down below under the description. But, anyway, once you set your texture down, you might want to go into the Detail tab and just add a little bit of sharpening, just so that you get some of that skin texture back. Also, here’s a trick for you. If you hold Alt, Option on a Mac, and click on the Masking slider, notice how the image turns white. That means that the entire image is being affected by that sharpening effect. If I drag to the right, only the areas in white will be affected. So, maybe, you can adjust it accordingly depending on your portrait. In this case, it really is not going to make a huge difference, so I’ll leave it at zero, but that tip may be really, really valuable for other types of images. So once you’ve set your sharpening, you can just press OK, and Photoshop applies that effect. But, it applies it to the entire image, and we don’t want that. We only want to apply it to certain parts of the image. So, what we’re going to do is click on the layer mask for the smart filter, and we can then press Ctrl I, Command I on the Mac to invert. Or you can click on the invert button in the Properties panel to invert the mask. Notice now how the mask is completely black. That means that everything is hidden. With a mask, black hides, white reveals, and the different levels of gray give you different levels of transparency. So what I’m going to do now, is with the Brush tool, I’m going to make sure that my foreground color is set to white, which it is, and I’m just going to paint in the areas where I want to apply the skin smoothing effect. So not everywhere, just in the areas that require a little bit of smoothing, and that will quickly smooth out her skin. We’ll be able to see a lot of detail. And all this is nondestructive, we can edit it. So if I make a mistake, I can just paint with black and remove the effect from that area. Switch back to white, and I’m switching between white and black by clicking on this arrow. You could also press the X key on the keyboard to swap back and forth, and just paint with white in the areas where you want the effect. I’ll zoom in just to show you one other thing. You could also use a mode with the Camera Raw filter, much like we use with the Spot Healing Brush tool. And if you want to use a mode, you can double-click on this icon here, which brings up this window. This window is a lot like the Fade command. It allows you to bring down the opacity of the filter, and it also allows you to change the blending mode. So we can change the blending mode to lighten, and notice how much brighter the highlights get. So if you want to keep the original highlights, change the blending mode to lighten. I’m going to keep it at normal, because I think it looks better in my case, and opacity at 100 works. I just wanted to give you that option in case your portrait requires it. I’ll press OK, and we’re back to where I was before. What I’m going to do now is simply double-click on the Hand tool, and click on this eye icon so that you can see the before and the after. Much, much better. Also, since all this nondestructive, you can always double-click on the Camera Raw filter label and make further adjustments. You can come in and adjust how much texture we’re going to have, how much sharpening you’re going to apply. press OK when you’re done, and Photoshop applies those new adjustments to your document. Once again, before and after. And as you can see, this is a very powerful technique for smoothing skin in Photoshop. I highly recommend that you use it. What I’m going to do now is show you how to do something similar in an older version of Photoshop. It’s going to require a few more steps, and I’m going to provide an action that you can simply run and apply the effect to your portraits to save you a little bit of time. First, I’ll show you how the technique works, and then I’ll show you where you can download the free action. The first step is to select the portrait layer, right-click, and select convert to smart object. And I’m going to press Ctrl J on Windows, Command J on the Mac, to duplicate that layer one time, and I’ll do that again to duplicate it a second time. So now I have three smart objects. It’s important to note that when you duplicate a smart object, they remain linked to the original. So if you change the contents of one, it will change the contents of all. And that’s going to be really important later on in the tutorial. For now, I’m going to place these smart objects into a group. So I’m going to select them both by holding Shift, and pressing Ctrl G on Windows, Command G on the Mac. And I’m going to expand the group so that I can see the contents. And I’m going to work with the bottom image first. And even though I don’t need to, I’m going to disable this layer so that you can be sure that I’m only working with this first duplicate. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to apply a filter. I’m going to apply the Blur filter. So I’ll name this layer blur, then go into the filter menu and select Blur, Gaussian Blur, and this is going to blur my image. And what you want to do is just blur it up to a point where you lose all detail. So in this case we can take it up to, maybe, six pixels and we are losing all the detail in the image. And what the Blur filter does, is remove high-frequency information. If you don’t know what frequency is, or what it means, then check out that video I referenced earlier in the tutorial, the one about enhancing textures. In that video I go into great detail about what frequency is, how it works, and what you can do with it. So watch that video, I’m placing a link right below under the description. But, anyway, just know that Gaussian Blur removes detail, high frequency information, six pixels. I’ll press OK. I’m going to enable, now, the second layer. And with this layer we’re going to apply a different filter. And we’re going to use the High Pass filter. High Pass is the opposite of blur. It removes the low frequency information, so it only keeps the details and texture of a layer. So, I’m going to go into filter, other, High Pass. And I’m going to enter exactly the same value, six pixels, and I’ll press OK. Then, I’m going to change the blending mode of this layer to blend with the layer below, and I’ll select linear light, and then bring the opacity down to 50%, and that virtually gives us the same image that we started with. I’m going to enable the portrait layer, and if I disable the eye icon for the group, you can see that it’s virtually the same image, it’s slightly different. And that’s because we used the filters to separate each frequency and put it in it’s own layer. Then we use the blending mode to combine the frequencies and give us the original image back. So now we have the texture on one layer and the colors in another layer. And we’re going to adjust each layer independently to soften the skin. And the reason that I went through that long explanation is so that you understood what those filters did behind the scenes. Now that you know what these filters are doing, we’re going to change the settings so that we can get smoother skin, and reduce the intensity of the skin texture. And we’ll start with the Blur filter in the blur layer. Double-click on the Gaussian Blur label, and maybe increase this to about eight pixels so we get a much, much smoother transition of her skin tones. And I’m going to double-click on High Pass and reduce it, so it reduces down to three pixels, and press OK. And that’s the great thing about working with smart objects, you can always come back and make adjustments later. So these settings, and more, I can always adjust them. So with the group selected, I’m just going to double-click on the name to rename it, and I’ll call it skin softening. And, I’m going to create a layer mask, but I’m going to hold Alt as I click on the Layer Mask icon, which is Option on the Mac, to create a black mask which hides everything in that group, and I can simply paint with white on that mask to reveal the effect, like so. So notice how I’m just revealing that skin softening effect on those areas. This is very similar to what we did in the previous example. And I’m going fairly quickly here, but obviously take your time in your image. And I’m going to click on the eye icon so that you can see the before and the after. And you probably have already noticed one thing, that I didn’t do my Spot Healing Brush tool adjustment, and that’s why I have a blemish here, and some of the blemishes on her nose. So, remember, this is a smart object, we can always come back and edit it. So if I double-click on the smart object, it’ll open up in a new tab, and I can do the same technique. Create a new layer, select the Spot Healing Brush tool. Make sure that lighten is my mode, and I can just paint away some of these larger blemishes that you see here. Her nose and on other areas of her skin. The white on her mouth . . . So I’ll change that to the darken mode on the Spot Healing Brush tool. I’ll quickly remove those white dots. Then I’m going to close the smart object, save it, and those changes are applied to the image. Remember, these smart objects are linked, so the updates will happen on all instances of those duplicated smart objects. And that is a great thing about working with smart objects, you can always come back and edit your adjustments. That way, you get the best smooth skin as possible. Again, these adjustments are all subjective to what works best for your image. But generally speaking, you don’t want to push the effect too far, but- but it’s up to you to decide. What I want to do now is show you the free action that I mentioned earlier in the tutorial. This action will help you create all these layers in folder just with one single click. So check out the link down below in the description, so you know where to download the file. Once you download your file into your computer, bring it into Photoshop. And the way that you would do that is by going into the Actions panel. You can click on this icon, or go into the Window menu, in Actions, and click on the fly-out menu, and select load actions, and load that ATN file onto your computer, and you should see a skin softening action. And all you need to do is hit the play icon. The action will run, Photoshop will ask you how much blur you want to add. So, I think I added six pixels to start with in this video. So, press OK. Then the action will ask you how much High Pass you want to add. I’ll go to two in this case, press OK. And, you’ll have instruction on what to do next. Paint with white using the Brush tool on the group’s layer mask to reveal the softening effect. And you can check out more of my tutorials on my website, ptcvids. com, and this is who I am. I’ll press stop and I can continue working. With the Brush tool, I can paint with white on the group’s layer mask to reveal the skin smoothing effect If you expand the group, you will see the layers that the action created. And you will see an extra layer that I did not show in the tutorial. This blur edits layer allows you to locally fine-tune the blur. In other words, you can blur small portions of the image without affecting the rest of the photo. Let me show you how it works. Select the Lasso tool in the Options bar, add feather. The feather determines how soft the edge of the selection will be. I don’t want the sharp selection, so I’ll use a feather of 10 pixels. Then make a selection around the part of the face that you would like to edit. I’ll select her forehead. Then go into Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur, and increase the blur until you have a soft smooth area without blotches of color, and press OK. Then, I’ll press Ctrl D in Windows, Command D in the Mac to deselect. I’ll collapse the Actions panel, and disable the blur edits layer to show you the before and the after. You can see how much smoother the skin looks in this area. In a real project, I would need to go and fine-tune some of the edges, of course, but I think that you get the idea how this works. And by the way, let me know in the comments below what you think about these techniques. If you like them, then click on that Like button now. Also, if you’re brand new to the Photoshop Training Channel, then don’t forget to click on that subscribe and notification buttons. That way you’re notified whenever I post a new tutorial, and you don’t miss any new Photoshop tips and tricks. Also, if you enjoyed this video, then don’t forget to check out my tutorial on creating skin texture from scratch, is one of my 90 second Photoshop tips. I’ll place a link to that video right below under the description. Thank you so much for watching, and I will talk to you again in the next Photoshop tutorial.