Acne and blackheads can make your photos look less beautiful. How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop? In this article, we will share the best guidelines to make your skin look young through retouching.
Photos speak a lot about us. Hence, we need to make great impressions using them. However, if you have blemishes, black spots, scars, acne, and blackheads, we have a solution for you. We will show you how you can use Photoshop to smoothen your skin and make it look as flawless as possible. Here are some four methods that you can use for utmost efficiency.
Method 1: Hyperbola Smooth Skin
The hyperbola method equalizes the skin of the character by creating two curves; one for brightening and the other one for darkening. This method is the most time-consuming, effective, and can be used with almost any portrait photos.
Step 1: First, duplicate the layer to protect the original image. Then use the healing brush tool to repair the large spots on the image. Ensure to hold down the Alt key while sampling an ideal place that you can use to repair the large spots.
Step 2: Once done with the skin retouches, create a highlight curve, then change the white layer mask to black using the shortcut (Ctrl + I). Pull the curve up to bulge upwards and outwards.
Step 3: Create a pressure curve and change the white layer mask back to black, keep the dark curves and pressure curve symmetry. Hence, for the adjustment of the curve radian, you will need to ensure the root curve is symmetric to guarantee the brush opacity and flow values remain unchanged.
Step 4: Create a black and white layer, adjust the red and yellow hues to increase the contrast of the skin. This will make the dark and light spots appear. Hence, you will get a better overview of where to adjust.
Step 5: Take the brush tool, set the foreground color to white and the background color to black. Use the white brush tool and change the mode to the spray gun. Also, ensure the size of the brush is smaller than the dark spots or bright spots for more efficiency. The major goal is not to damage the surrounding skin. The brush is ideally used to paint dark spots on the light curve, and paint bright spots on the dark curve.
Step 6: Properly enlarge the color of the black and white layer, so that the blemishes on the face can be contrasted under the black and white layer, and then continue to apply. After repeating step 5, the skin will appear gray under the black and white layer. At this time, you need to adjust the slider again to increase the contrast.
Step 7: Adjust the skin tone, definitely not on the curve layer. You need to first overprint the previous layer by using the shortcut (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E). However, when overprinting the layer, make sure to hide the eyes of the black and white layer. If not the layer will have no color. You can then compare your original image and the retouched image.
Method 2: Neutral Ash Smooth Skin
This is a common smoothening method used in commercial retouching. It works almost the same as the hyperbola method.
Step 1: Open your Photoshop software, open the image and duplicate the layer. Use the healing brush tool to remove the notable color spots on the face. To use the healing brush you need to first click Alt + Click a spotless area, then you will be able to repair the spots using the copied pattern in the area.
Step 2: On the duplicate copy in the layers panel, create a neutral gray layer. Use the shortcut key Ctrl + Shift + N, on the popup that will appear change the color to gray, and name it “Repair Layer”. Also, change the mode to “Soft Light” and below it check the option “Fill Soft Light Neutral (50%) Grey.
Step 3: On the repair layer, adjust the slider to highlight the skin blemishes. This is by adjusting the red and yellow hues to increase the contrast of the skin.
Step 4: On the black and white layer, create a curve layer and adjust the curve to an “S” shape. The goal is to enlarge the black and white contrast and make the flaws more obvious.
Step 5: Select the brush tool, change the foreground color to white and the background color to black. On the top toolbar, pick any brush size, set the mode to normal, the opacity to 50%, flow to 10%, and smoothing to 7%. We adjust these parameters to ensure a slight operation.
Step 6: Use a white brush for dark skin and a black brush for light skin. Apply on the repair layer until the portrait skin has a perfect gray transition.
Step 7: Adjust the character's skin tone and sharpen the image. On the menu bar, choose filter > sharpen > Unsharp Mask. Adjust the options then click OK. Only the selected part will be sharpened and the rest of the image will remain untouched. Check the comparison between the first image and the second one.
Method 3: Frequency Separation Technique in Photoshop
The frequency separation technique is fast, however, you need to be keen enough not to miss a step.
Step 1: First, duplicate the background layer into two layers and name the lower layer “skin layer” and the upper layer “frequency layer”.
Step 2: Click on the eye icon of the frequency layer to hide it and blur the “Skin Layer”.Click on the top menu bar > Filter > Blur. Choose “Types of Blur”, then “Gaussian Blur”. Set the radius between 2px and 4px and Click OK. You need to blur so that you can’t see the facial features clearly but keep the skin tone.
Step 3: Click on the eye icon of the frequency layer to show it. Then, select “image” and “apply image”, select “skin layer”, change the blend mode to “subtract”, and set the offset value to 128.
Step 4: Change the “frequency layer” layer mode to linear light. Now superimpose the “frequency layer” and “skin layer” to create a photo that looks similar to the original image.
Step 5: Use the imitation stamp tool to spot and repair the “skin layer”.
Step 6: First use the Repair Tool to repair the obvious scar on the “Frequency Layer”, then go to the channel panel, duplicate the blue channel on a layer, and execute the Filter > Other > High Pass. Set the radius between 20 and 26 depending on the size and resolution of your image and click OK. The high contrast is reserved, and the radius pixel is probably set so that dark spots can be seen clearly.
Step 7: For the copied blue channel, click execute image > change blending mode to bright light to get an alpha channel. Choose calculation, mix mode, and select “Strong light”. Repeat the process three times.
Step 8: Hold down the Ctrl key, select Alpha 3, load the light selection, reverse and select the dark region. Then, navigate to the Layers panel, create a curve layer, then pull up the curve, and create a mask. Using a black brush, wipe out the mouth, and eyes on the mask
Step 9: As a final step, duplicate the original layer and place it on top, then click Filter > Other > Surface Blur. Surface Blur is used because it preserves the outline of the edges. Set the value to around 0.8 and change the mode to linear light. The texture of the skin will be restored.
Method 4: Plugin Exfoliating
Portraiture is an amazing Photoshop plugin that helps reduce the tedious manual labor of selective masking. Hence, you get to achieve excellence in skin retouching, smoothening and removing imperfections.
- How to Use the Portraiture Plugin
Step 1: First download the Portraiture Photoshop plugin here. If you choose the “Buy Now” option you will need to add the software to the cart. Choose you to want to download the plugin for Photoshop. If you choose the download option, you will be prompted to enter your email to get your trial software.
Step 2: Once the plugin is downloaded, install the portraiture plugin by going to Edit > Preferences > Plugins and scratch disk > Check additional plugins directory. Then choose where your downloaded plugin is and install it.
Step 3: After installing, choose filter > Imagenomic > Portraiture. Alternatively, locate it in the Photoshop Filter library. You will get a menu on the right with options you can use to edit your image. There is detail smoothing, skin tone mask, and enhancements. These options can help to remove any blemishes that may be on your photos.
Step 4: To use it, simply adjust the slider to smoothen the skin in your photo. You need to increase the slider to the appropriate value. Also, on the color palette below adjust the skin tone.
It even allows you to change the preview options allowing you to compare the original image from the modified one.
Choose Different Smoothening Methods for Different Objects
In smoothening the skin, there are different methods you can use according to different characters. Women generally require white and tender skin, so hyperbolic smoothening can be chosen. Men need stronger skin texture, so high and low-frequency smoothening can be chosen. Hence, when editing choose the best technique to ensure your photos remain as natural as possible.