Photo Retouching Tips in Photoshop

In this article, you will learn some photo retouching techniques and speed secrets in Photoshop.Workflow

1. Definition of colors
If you want to sample foreground and background colors, use Eyedropper tool (Pipette) (I), first select the foreground color, then swap colors with the X key and select the background color. But there is a way easier.
To begin with, we determine the foreground color in a way that is convenient for you, then hold down the Alt / Option key and take a sample of the background color. Instead of changing places of two colors, we took a sample with just one click.

2. Groups
Groups allow you to systematize all layers, which is very important when working with large projects. Groups can be collapsed and then their contents will not be visible. This frees up space on the layers panel. If you need to move layers into a group, then to quickly expand it hold down the Ctrl / Command key and click on the triangle next to the group name. All groups of the first level on the layers panel will open. In the same way they can be minimized. To reveal not only the main groups, but also subgroups, hold down the Alt / Command key.

3. Split-toning effect
Create two gradient maps with Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map). You can, for example, create a first gradient from dark blue to beige and a second from dark brown to white. To adjust the gradient, click on the color bar to bring up the dialog box. Gradient editor (Gradient editor). In it on the bottom sliders set the necessary colors.

Click OK. Then double click on the second gradient layer (to bring up the panel Layer style) and under the inscription This layer (This layer) in the Layer Style window (layer style) move the right slider to the left. To make the transition smooth, click on the slider with the Alt / Option key held down and move it to the right. Click OK.
Note: In the same way, you can customize the bottom layer without leaving the Layer Styles panel. Gradient map, moving the sliders next to the inscription Underlyning layer (Bottom layer).

4. Vignette
To create a vignette turn Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Levels. Move the white slider to 150. Now use Brush tool (Brush) (B) black to edit the mask of the adjustment layer in the center of the canvas. Instead of a brush, you can use Elliptical Marquee Tool (Oval selection) (M) and fill the created selection with black.

you can use Move Tool (Move) (V) to adjust the position of the vignette or blur it with a filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian blur). You can also increase or decrease blackout. To do this, open the dialog box with the parameters of the adjustment layer Levels (Levels).

5. Retouching Skin in Camera Raw
Open a photo in the program Camera raw (for example, in Adobe Bridge, right-click on the file and select Open in Camera Raw (Open in Camera Raw)). Retouch skin with Spot Healing Brush Tool (Spot Healing Brush) and other tools. After that, hold down the key Shift and click Open object (Open object).

The image will be opened in Photoshop and placed on the new layer as a smart object.
You can also click on the blue link at the bottom of the screen, which will open the dialog box Workflow options (Working environment parameters). In it, you can configure other options. Make sure the option is activated. Open in Photoshop as Smart Object (Open in Photoshop as a smart object) and then confirm by pressing OK to open the image (without holding down the Shift key).

Click the right button on the layer and select New Smart Object via Copy (New smart object by copy), then reopen the Camera Raw dialog box. Set the Clarity parameter to -100 and click OK. Hold down the Alt / Option key and click on the Create Layer Mask button, then use a soft brush to edit the mask. Use the Opacity slider to adjust the intensity of the retouching.

6. Adjust the light and dark areas in the photo
If you want to change the lighting, you must first make the light in the photo neutral. Move on Select – Color Range (Highlight – Color Range) and select Highlights (Bright tones). Duplicate the selected area on the new layer with the command CTRL + J. Go back to the background layer and through Color range (Color range) select Shadows (Shadows). Duplicate the selection on a separate layer (CTRL + J) and change the blending mode of the layer with shadows to Screen (Lightening) and layer with bright tones on Multiply (Multiplication).

Reduce the opacity to about 30%, depending on the image. Create a new layer, fill it with a neutral gray color and change the blend mode to Overlay (Overlap). Start adjusting light / shadows with tools Dodge (Clarifier) ​​and Burn (Dimmer) (O). Or you can create a new layer, change its blend mode to Soft light (Soft light) or Overlay (Overlap) and paint with low opacity with black and white colors in the required areas.

7. Add pallor
To add pallor to the skin, copy the background layer and set the copy blend mode to Screen (Lightening). Then use Image – Adjustments – Desaturate (Image – Correction – Discolor) or Black White (Black and white) to enhance the effect. Parameters may vary, depending on the image.

The created effect will cover the entire image. So that it acts only on certain areas, hold down the Alt / Option key and click on the button Create layer mask (Create layer mask) at the bottom of the layers panel. Use a white brush to edit the mask. The intensity of the effect can also be adjusted using the parameter Opacity (Opacity).

8. Lightening and darkening
Merge all layers on one new Shift + Control/ Command + Alt/ Option + E, then set the blending mode to Vivid light (Bright light). We use Control/ Command + I, to invert the contents of the layer, then apply Filter – Blur – Surface Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur over the surface) with a radius of 70 pixels and Treshold (Threshold) 40. Click Shift + Control/ Command + Alt/ Option + E again, remove the bottom layer and set the blending mode to Overlay (Overlap). Apply filter Gaussian blur (Blur according to Gauss) to soften the contour a little and then Image – Adjustments – Desaturate (Image – Correction – Discolor).

9. Bright eyes
To make the eyes bright and shiny, let’s do the following. Move on Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Exposure (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Impact). Fill the layer mask with black (or just invert it) and draw with white on the iris and black on the pupil. Set the blending mode of the adjustment layer to Luminosity (Glow). Increase the parameter Exposure (Impact) to the structure of the iris has become more contrast. You can try experimenting with the slider Offset (Shift).

10. Orton Effect
Note: This effect got its name due to professional photographer Michael Orton. This is a unique expressive photographic technique that creates a dreamy, artistic feeling in photographs, with a combination of sharp and blurry elements. The original effect was created using two slides stacked together.

To create the Orton effect in Photoshop, two copies of the image – sharp and blurred – are superimposed on each other. Copy the background layer Control / Command + J and go Image – Apply Image (Image – External channel). Change the blending mode to Screen (Lighten) and click OK. Duplicate the working layer again. Apply filter Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur). The filter parameters depend on the image, but the outline should be slightly blurred. Set the layer blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication).

11. Optimization of the selection obtained with the Lasso Tool (Lasso)
Many users (even professionals) prefer Lasso Tool (Lasso) (L) pen (P) for simple selections. To quickly switch to Polygonal Lasso Tool (Rectangular lasso) (L), while running, hold Alt / Option. To go back to the Lasso Tool (Lasso) (L), simply release the Alt / Option key.

It often happens that during the allocation there is not enough working space. To move the canvas, hold down the key Space (Space) and move the mouse.

12. Level alignment
Some tools in Photoshop are little known. This is one of them. If you activate Move Tool (Move) (V), you will see strange symbols on the top panel, called alignment tools (which are similar to free transformation tools).

If you activate only one layer, the alignment tools will not be available. But if you select two or more layers by holding down the Control / Command key, then you can align the contents of the layers using these buttons. Select Align top edge (Align top) and Align vertical center (Center vertical).

13. Recovery of selection
It is often the case that while working with a complex selection, we accidentally delete it. But, fortunately, there is a way with which it can be restored. Hit Shift + Control / Command + D. This combination will return the marching ants again. You can also undo the last action Control / Command + Z or several Control / Command + Alt / Option + Z at once.

By the way, you can hold down the Alt / Option key to subtract unnecessary items from the selection at any time. Or hold Shift, to add new items to the selection. Pressing both keys at the same time will create a crossed selection.

Author: Dirk Metzmacher
Translator: Max Enin
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