Photoshop FAILS at Skin Smoothing [Tutorial]

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Watch Tutorial Here!

The Bad & the Ugly

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To duplicate the toxic skin smoothing effect, I’ve added a 10px Gaussian blur to the layer and masked that smart filter to just her skin and then I duplicated the layer and set the blend mode to “Soft Light”. Yikes. That looks bad.

Righting Some Wrongs

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Whenever I begin with a skin smoothing project my highest priority is that I preserve the texture of the skin and get rid of blemishes. That will give an overall look of much smoother skin. We do this by adding a new layer and then using the Healing Brush tool (J) and set the “Sample:” for this tool to Current & Below in the control bar and then Alt/Opt + click to sample clean bits of skin and start painting over all the blemishes.

Texture Smooths Skin Color

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Create a new layer and go Edit>Fill and choose “50% Gray” from the Contents drop down menu and then go Filter>Noise>Add Noise and choose to add 20% noise. Tick on “Uniform” and “Monochromatic” in the Noise dialog.

Mask It In

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Set that grain layer to the blend mode of “Soft Light” to make all the gray go away and leave the grain. Next go Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All to drop a mask in that is pre-filled with black to hide all that grain. Grab the Brush tool (B) and set the foreground color to white and look up in the control bar and set the opacity of the brush to 10%. Paint gentle brush strokes across the face to build up the grain effect on her face and apply a nice texture that will help smooth all the skin colors together.

PRO TIP: By doing additional dodging and burning you can take your skin smoothing game to the next level! Check out my tutorial on dodging and burning to get that info now!

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41 Comments

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  26. says: Robin Owens

    Very interesting article! I would like to add that using such websites should be present in every professional photographers’ working plan. But don’t forget about the key point of success – an amazing and qualitative photograph. To make it you should not only catch a good angle and create a composition, pay attention to the photo editing work. I shoot portraits and natural skin retouching is a must-have step for me. I’m not good at it, that’s why I’ve found a group on FB where guys from fixthephoto.com offered image post-production services. They are good and pro photo retouchers and I’m fully satisfied with all results.

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