Smooth skin effect

With the advent of the digital era, glam photos were retouched by skilled photographers to remove imperfections on the skin. Today, with the help of advanced image editors such as Adobe Photoshop, realistic results can be easily achieved in retouching. However, many existing retouching techniques remove too many details, making the skin plastic and unrealistic. In this tutorial, we will teach you how to efficiently retouch without losing texture in Photoshop.

Step 1. To get started go to the menu File (File) – Open (Open), to open the photo you would like to edit. Since we will work with fine details, it is important that the image be high resolution so that skin details are visible. The image that I chose has a high resolution of 10 megapixels with fairly detailed skin.

Step 2. In the next step, we duplicate the layer twice and apply two filters to each of the new layers. Since the image I work with is a weighty 31MB of photos, the process of applying the filter will greatly load the processor and be slowly applied. Before I continue to duplicate the layer, I need to use the tool Lasso (Lasso), to create a selection of skin and duplicate only this area. This will reduce the number of pixels with which to work, and reduce the load on the computer. You do not need to do this if there is no need for it. This can be useful if you do not have a powerful computer with a large amount of RAM, or if your photo is not that big.

Step 3. So, press Ctrl + J or open the menu Layer (Layer) – Duplicate layer (Duplicatelayer), to duplicate the layer. Do this again to get two layers. Now rename the top layer to “High Frequency” (High Pass), and the middle layer to “Low Frequency” (Low Pass). As you might have guessed, on the “High Pass” layer (High Pass) we will apply a filter Colour contrast (HighPass), and on the “Low Pass” layer, we will apply a low pass filter.

Step 4. Let’s work to begin with the “Low Pass” layer. In the layers panel, click on the eyelet opposite the “High Pass” layer (High Pass) to hide it and select the “Low Pass” layer, on which we will work.

Step 5. Instead of applying a low pass filter, also known as a filter Gaussian blur (GaussianBlur), we will use the Blur filter on the surface (SurfaceBlur). Select menu Filter – Blur (FilterBlur) and select Blur on the surface (SurfaceBlur).Filter Blur on the surface (SurfaceBlur) will blur the image, but will not affect the edges. It is great for smoothing skin without losing contours.

Blur on the surface (SurfaceBlur) provides two parameters:
Radius (Radius):
This setting specializes in the size or strength of the blur. Use a larger setting value for a larger image.

“Parameter Radius (Radius) determines the size of the area selected for the blur ”(Adobe Help Center).
Threshold (Threshold):
This option allows you to define the area to blur.
“Parameter Threshold (Threshold) controls how much the values ​​of the tonality of the neighboring pixels should differ from the value of the central pixel before becoming part of the blur. Pixels with a pitch value smaller than the value set in the parameter Threshold (Threshold), excluded from blurring “(Adobe Help Center).

To get started, install Radius (Radius) and Threshold (Threshold) so that the image becomes blurred, but still visible. Then lower the value of the parameter Threshold (Threshold) and stop when the edges become sharp. Now adjust the parameter Radius (Radius) so that the skin becomes smooth.

Step 6. We’ve finished work on the Low Pass layer. Now we will work with the “High Pass” layer (High Pass), which will show fine details, such as pores and irregularities. Select the layer, click on the eye opposite the “High Pass” layer and change the layer blending mode to Linear lighting (LinearLight).
Minor skin imperfections become more visible on neutral skin tones and less visible on dark skin tones. To mimic such a natural effect, we add layer mask (layermask), which will reduce the appearance of irregularities on the dark skin tones in the image. Add a layer mask (layermask) by clicking on the button or by going to the menu Layer – Layer Mask (LayerMask) and choosing “Show all” (RevealAll).

Step 7. Now we will add to the image External channel (ApplyImage) to apply a copy of the image to the layer mask. Now we have a layer mask that defines and reduces the effect on those dark areas.

Step 8. We have completed the work with the layer mask, so click on the layer icon (not the layer mask).

Step 9. Then we will apply the filter Colour contrast (HighPass). In the next step, we need a lot of accurate adjustment settings, so before you start, set the image display scale to 100% so that the skin is visible.

Step 10. Select Filter – Others (FilterOther) and select filter Color contrast (High Pass). In the filter Color Contrast (High Pass) set a small value Radius (Radius), skin to look natural.
Reception: Click on the slider Radius (Radius) and press the up and down buttons to more accurately reduce or increase the degree of application of the effect.

Note from translator: You can also use the mouse scroller: scrolling down decreases the radius value, and scrolling up increases the scrolling. This technique also works with increasing / decreasing brush size and other parameters in Photoshop, where you can scroll.

“Color Contrast (High Pass) keeps the edges of the parts in the indicated radius, where sharp color transitions occur, and in the rest of the image suppresses them (radius 0.1 pixels. saves only the edges of pixels). The filter removes low-frequency details in the image and gives the opposite effect. Gaussian Blur (GaussianBlur) (Adobe Help Center).

Step 11. Now we will come back and slightly adjust the settings. layer masks (layermask). In the layers panel click on layer mask (layermask), to activate it. Then go to menu Image – Correction (ImageAdjustments) and select tool Brightness / Contrast (Brightness/Contrast), reduce contrast (contrast) and adjust brightness (brightness) so that the bumps on the skin become less noticeable in dark areas and more visible in bright areas.

Step 12. We are done with the smoothing of the skin, but now the whole image has become blurred. We need to use layer mask (layermask), to erase the effect from areas that are not skin. Select the top two layers and press the key combination Ctrl + G or go to the menu Layers (Layers) and select Group layers (GroupLayers), to group the layers. Then add a layer mask by going to the menu. Layers – Layer Mask (LayerLayerMask) and choice Hide all (Hideall).

Step 13.
Note translator: Before you begin this step, read it completely, including step 14, it may be easier for you to use the tool. Fastmask (Quickmask), if you have a good experience with it.
Now you should see the image, how it looked initially without the effect of smoothing the skin. We will mask the layer over the skin. But since the effect is subtle, it can be difficult to see it on shaded areas. Therefore, before painting the layer mask, add a new layer above the Color Contrast layer (High Pass) and fill it with red. Then change opacity (opacity) red layer at 50%.

Step 14. Select the group layer mask again by clicking on the black thumbnail in the layers panel. Choose a tool Brush (Brush) and paint over the skin so that the effect of smooth skin becomes visible on the areas you paint over. To change the settings brushes (brush), Click somewhere with the right mouse button and you will see brush settings (brushsettings). Start with diameter (diameter) large size and stiffness (hardness) about 50. Then paint the small dots brush (brush) smaller size. No need to be too scrupulous in this step. Minor slips will not be noticeable.

Reception: To quickly change the size of the brush, press the [key to reduce its size and the key] to increase the size of the brush.

Step 15. Remove the red layer when you are ready.
Final result
Look at the images to compare the results before and after the effect.

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