Retouching a portrait in Photoshop

In this lesson you will learn how to create a fashionable retouch model in Adobe Photoshop. You will see the process of creating a wonderful effect of natural leather without the use of expensive plug-ins and filters.

Final result

Lesson details:

Program: Adobe Photoshop CS2 +
Difficulty: Beginners
Time to complete: 10-15 minutes

As the work was chosen this photo model.

Step 1. Open the downloaded model image. Remember that not all images of girls are suitable for retouching. You must select a high resolution image, the skin of the model should not be too smooth or blurred, and pores should stand out on it. For an example, what should be the image of the model, the author cited the following.

Create a new layer on top of the model layer, Ctrl + Shift + N, select instrument Spot Healing Brush Tool (J) (Tool “Dot Repairing Brush”) and turn on option “Sample All Layers” (“Sample from all layers”) on the tool settings panel. Due to this, we will only touch on those parts of the image that we need, as a last resort, everything can be brought back. Set up the tool as shown below.

Click on one mouse click in those places where you need to get rid of skin defects. Change the size of the brush tool, depending on the size of the spot. Remember that this tool can correct far from all defects, so you can use others as well, such as Clone stamp tool (S) (Stamp tool), Patch tool (J) (Patch tool) and others for retouching later. For a model in which the skin does not have a large number of defects, like the one that the author used, the tool is quite suitable Spot Healing Brush Tool (J) (Tool “Spot Healing Brush”). Do not try to make the skin perfect, just remove the excess. In the image below you can see the result of the author.

Step 2. Press simultaneously Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E, to merge layers into one that will appear on top of all layers. Select filter Filter – Sharpen – Smart Sharpen (Filter – Sharpen – Smart Sharpen).

Configure the filter as follows: Effect thirty%, Radius 1.0 pix.


This step is optional and depends on the sharpness of the image of the model. If it looks very rough, you can soften it before proceeding to the next step.

Step 3. Merge all the layers again, as you did at the beginning of the second step. Before you start, again review all skin areas for defects, otherwise the effect will be terrible after applying the following filter. Select filter Filter – Other – Custom (Filter – Others – Customized)

If for your image you need to adjust the brightness a little, you can do it by filling in the field “Offset” (“Shift”), or leave it empty.


If you are not satisfied with the result, you can reduce the effect with the command Edit – Fade: Custom (Editing – Loosen: Customized).

In the Layers Palette, below, click on the command “Add layer mask”, to create a layer mask. Then, remove, with a black, soft brush, excess sharpness in the area of ​​hair, eyes and eyebrows, lips and teeth.

Step 4. Next, we will create adjustment layers. Select the next adjustment layer. Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Selective Color (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Selective Color Correction), adjust it according to the example in the image below.

The result of the creation of a correction layer.

Step 5. Create the following adjustment layer: Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Photo Filter (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Photo Filter).

The result of adding a correction layer.

Step 6. Create two adjustment layers Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance), see the settings for each one below.

The result of creating two adjustment layers “Color Balance”.

Step 7. If you choose a different model image, you can still work with adjustment layers to achieve the desired result. Now we will lighten the dark zone of the model’s neck a little. Create a new layer on top of all layers, select the tool Brush Tool (B)(Brush tool), the brush is white, soft, and paint a little on the spot shown in the image below.

Change the blending mode of the new layer, in the Layers Palette, to Soft light (Soft light), Opacity 100%.

Step 8. At this stage we will brighten the face. Create a new layer on top of all, select the tool Brush tool (B) (Tool “Brush”), brush white, soft, and hold it in the forehead, with the opacity of the brush 40%, between the eyebrows, under the left eye and under the lips with opacity 100%, under the right eye with opacity thirty%, over lips with brush opacity 70%.

Change the layer’s overlay mode to Soft light (Soft light), Opacity 60%.

Step 9. Create a new layer using the tool Brush tool (B) (Brush tool), brush soft, color # c6828d, Redden the cheeks of our model. Then, change the layer blending mode to Soft light (Soft light), Opacity 100%.

Step 10. Add shadows on the face. Create a new layer. Choose light gray # c7bdb9 and swipe the tool Brush tool (B) (Brush tool) along the edges of the model’s face, as shown in the image below.

Change the layer’s overlay mode to Multiply (Multiplication), Opacity thirty%.

Step 11. To emphasize beautiful lips, create a new layer, select a color. # b45f6d, Brush your lips as shown in the image below.

Change the layer’s overlay mode to Soft light (Soft light), Opacity 50%.

Step 12. To lighten your teeth, create a new layer using the old pattern and draw a soft white brush over your teeth.

Change layer blending mode to Soft light (Soft light), layer opacity thirty%.

Step 13. Create a new layer. Again use a soft brush, color # b37c76. Brush in the eyelid area as shown in the image below.

Change the layer’s overlay mode to Linear burn (Linear dimmer), Opacity thirty%.

Step 14. At the final stage create a new layer, click Ctrl + Shift + N, Mode select “Overlap”, Opacity 100%, select the option “Fill in the neutral color of the mode” Overlap “(gray 50%)”.

Using the following tools Burn tool (O) (Dimmer tool) and Dodge tool (O) (Brightener tool), with the following settings, Range Mid tones, Exposure 40-50%, we will highlight the facial features of the model. Choosing a tool Dodge tool (O) (Brightener tool) use a brush to enhance brightness in the following areas of the face: nose bridge, chin, forehead, skin above and under the eyes, area under the nose, white eye cover (if there are significant redness).

Tool Burn tool (O) (Tool “Dimmer”) is applicable to darken some areas, such as: the sides of the nose, the iris, eyelids, eyelashes, especially their tips. Keep in mind that all darkening and lightening depend on the original image of the model, on how the light and shadow fall on the face. The result obtained by the author, you can look at the image below.

Final result

When increasing individual areas


We hope you enjoyed the tutorial on creating natural skin. If you have something to say, ask a question, do not hesitate – write us in the comments! Just waiting for your work.

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