4 Replies Latest reply on May 7, 2017 8:26 PM by Giordano - ACP Italy

    Photo Retouching Beauty - basic techniques

    Giordano - ACP Italy Adobe Community Professional

      Digital Make Up of a face where recognize the limits is the basis for excellent results.


      Below we will see the basic techniques for Photo Retouching Beauty which require advanced use of Photoshop, so is not explained how you get a perfect selection, what are the blending modes or whatever because it's taken for granted that you know.

      The following techniques are the gateway to the Post Production, but I specify that the same evolve in ways 10 times more complex and include hair, eyelashes, beard, but for obvious reasons these can't be summarized here.

      In the end it is important to know that these are the notes in reference to a workshop held by me and these steps require, more than in other cases, the practice with the guidance of a tutor.

      For those who have advanced knowledge of Photoshop I hope will find these notes some helpful advice.

      Practice is at the root


      The most important thing to get quality results is to get away the least possible from the original, the best way to learn is to practice and practice of self portraits.


      Which areas of the face you work?beauty_03.jpg

      1. The skin texture
      2. The skin color
      3. Wrinkles and defects
      4. Eyes - white bulb - iris
      5. Lips
      6. Hair / Eyelashes / Beard

      Retouching tools

      1. Healing Brush + variants
      2. Patch tool
      3. Clone Stamp
      4. Brushes
      5. Burn and Dodge
      6. Blend modes
      7. Advanced filters


      Working method


      1) Maximum Zoom depending on the display, 2) Edit small areas in several steps, 3) Most tools depend on the brush, 4) Use the tools to opacity and lowest flow (15-20%), 5) Working on new levels with method "samples all levels".


      Cleaning of flawsbeauty_08.jpg

      First, after stock of the situation (perhaps adding a new blank layer above the subject and with a brush you draw the various parts of the face that need retouching) we start with the "Healing Brush" or the " patch tool " to eliminate defects more apparent.

      1. Reminding us the movement to dragging, saw in the course, where the starting point is the source that will affect the destination of our micro-brushstroke.
      2. We always use a very small brush to work with precision and above all not to impoverish the original texture of the skin.



      Eyes: white bulbbeauty_07.jpg


      1) The white must be worked in the same way, with the fine Healing Brush and neutralizing as much as possible the small red veins.

      2) Then we select the eye to create a mask of a new level of curves and with which we lighten the white in a natural way.

      3) In the level of curves we will exclude the iris filling with black color the mask in correspondence with its own iris so as to work the white of the bulb separately and independently.

      4) Be careful not to whiten too much damaging the credibility of the shot, error by the way of the most common.



      Eyes: the iris


      The iris can be processed in different ways, but it depends on the eye itself make us decide how to act, generally speaking work with " dodge " on a separate layer (as mentioned above) can lead to good results.


      Reflected Lightbeauty_14.jpg


      The secondary reflection is always the exact opposite of the main one and with a brush and white color we paint the reflection (on a new layer), then apply a Gaussian Blur from the Filter menu and change the blending mode to Overlay.




      1. Add a new blank layer and with a soft brush we paint small lines using the corresponding colors sampled from the original.
      2. We apply a light blur and change the blending mode to Overlay.
      3. Acting on the opacity is better defines the right value.

      Ring of the iris

      1. Add a new blank layer that is filled with 50% gray and change the blending mode to Overlay.
      2. With the burn tool set to midtones and exposure to 20% we go over the circle that surrounds the iris.


      From here the techniques that can be added are varied as select the iris and apply a level of curves, a photographic filter, color consultation or different ways to increase the sharpness and so on ...


      ** Normally you can emphasize the iris much more, here we keep it as faithful as possible to the original

      The Lipsbeauty_20.jpg

      1. First with the Healing Brush tool we eliminate any small defects.
      2. After that we proceed to the contour cutting of the lips using the pen tool then right click on the path and select "Create selection"; or we will use a quick mask, is up to you!
      3. With the selection active will add a new level of Solid Color and change the blending mode to "color".
      4. From the newly created layer > double click on color to change color and > click on the mask to slightly increase the gradient of the edges (too sharp).
      5. Always with the level Solid Color selected we add an Inner Shadow.
      6. Acting on "distance", "angle", "opacity" and "shading" will modify the inner shadow to make it as natural as possible.
      7. In the end with a soft brush, white and blending mode overlay we're going to paint the glossy.





      The skinbeauty_24.jpg


      The most common method for retouching skin in a professional manner is called " Frequencies Separation " and which allows you to work the various imperfections without losing the texture of the skin.

      1. First we duplicate the subject twice and rename the two layers respectively " Low " and " High ".
      2. We will apply a Gaussian blur of around 5.4 px to the layer " Low ".
      3. Then select the layer " High " (rasterized) and from the Image Menu > Apply Image.
      4. Will leave the Source unchanged while on Layer will select " Low ".
      5. Merging > Subtract
      6. Scale > 2 - Displace > 128 and click on OK.
      7. we will apply to the layer a blend mode " Linear Light ".


      Now we can work on two levelsbeauty_23.jpg


      • On Layer " High " we will use the Clone Stamp Tool with Opacity > 40% and Flow > 45% to correct imperfections.
      • On Layer " Low " will use the selection tool Lazo to define the area of interest > " improves edge " to highly fade the edges > and apply an increased Gaussian Blur to solve any skin blemish.



      Completed our retouching we can add extra texture to the skin if necessary


      1. New layer filled with 50% Gray
      2. Add Noise > 4% (from the Filter menu)
      3. Apply Gaussian blur > 1px
      4. Add once again Noise > 2%
      5. Blending Mode > Overlay


      I hope these tips will be useful for those who want to approach the Beauty Retouch.

                    Gaetano Giordano - ACP Italy