How to Retouch Images in Photoshop

In this segment, we will take a close look at the concept of photo retouching. We will navigate through the processes of how to retouch images without making it fake.
Touch up photography has actually been an extremely popular subject in today’s context.

In this tutorial we are going to explain

• How to reduce blemishes and wrinkles,
• Skin smoothening without making it blur
• Color correction
• How to dodge and burn skin to add a dramatic effect.

We have taken a sample image for the activity here below. Let us have a closer look at the sample image

We have the following image with lots of skin details. It is on purpose to depict the impact of the activity and the beauty of retouch!

Before and after image for fixed point photography is the most elegant way of illustrating the concept and that is what we have chosen!!

Looks good isn’t it. Let us now enlist the steps that will enable you to make it look equally gorgeous on your own.

Step 1
• Open the image in photoshop.
• Name it as original.
• Now make a copy of the image by pressing Ctrl (or Command) + J and rename it as blemishes.

At the outset, before even touching the image, ensure that you are able to remove the flaws and blemishes of the skin.

In case you intend doing it anytime later, it may end up messing up the image. The tool we will use for this activity remains spot healing brush tool.

Let us retouch up the above in the most seamless manner possible.

The screen captured below will give a first hand visual impression of the process.

Now, zoom into the image by pressing Ctrl+ and click on the marks and blemishes very carefully. The spot healing brush tool automatically samples pixels to correct a spot with one step. Perfect guide for the learner!

So then, how does the image look after the blemishes are removed?

That’s here for you below.

Now make two copies of the ‘blemishes’ layer by pressing Ctrl+J twice.

You may name the lower layer as ‘smoothness’ and the above layer as ‘skin details’.

Below screen captured for visual reference.

Disable the visibility of ‘skin details’. Select the layer ‘smoothness’. Go to Filter menu -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur (Check the screen capture below for reference)

Now, the Gaussian Blur dialogue box will open up.

Move the radius slider left or right to decrease or increase the blur effect. You can get a preview of the blurred image in the dialogue box in case you want to look at it. Then, click ok when you get the desired amount of blurriness. Here we have set the value to 5.

Now select the ‘skin details’ layer and enable the visibility. Go to Filter menu > Other > High Pass.

This effect brings the skin details back. When the high pass window opens up, adjust the radius to get the skin details as shown below.

Here we have set the value to 3.

Now you can change the blending mode of the skin details layer to ‘hard light’ in order to get a view like the following image.

You can also adjust the opacity of the ‘skin details’ layer according to your requirement of the details.
Below screen captured for your reference as well

One small glitch that you may observe here is that these effects are getting applied all over the mage.

No worries though. There is a remedy for that too. In order to resurrect this, select both smoothness and skin details layer and make a group by pressing Ctrl+G or clicking on the group icon in the layer window. Name the group as ‘air brushing’. Create an invert mask by press Alt and click on the group (air brush).
Below screen shot for the illustration as shown.

Now comes the meticulous touches. Go to brush tool and select a soft brush. Set the opacity around 75-80% and flow around 80% to start brushing on the areas you want to make smooth.

After brushing on the desired areas like forehead, check bones, chin you can decrease the opacity of the invert mask layer to add a little originality. Here I have set the value of the opacity to 85%.
Below screen adequately captures all the details.

Now you can set the discoloration of the image if you feel that the same is required.

To do this creates an empty layer name as ‘color’ also change the blending mode to ‘color’. Below screen gives a pictorial representation of the same.

Select the eye dropper tool and click on the image you want to pick the color from.

Then, you may select the brush tool and paint on the areas that are discolored.

This image did not have huge color disorder and hence the changes are seen as above.
And, finally here is the image after color correction. One of the brighter examples of the beauty of picture retouching

Let us now look at the final step for the process.

This step is known as Dodging and Burning. This is done to give your image a proper balance of shadow and highlight.

In order to do this, create a new empty layer name it as ‘dodging and burning’. Set the blending mode of this layer to soft light. Now go to edit menu -> fill. (in line with the below screen reference)

The fill window will open. Now, select ‘50% grey’ in use option and set the blending mode normal, opacity 100%. Once all this is done, you may click ok.

Below screen reference captures the details in entirety.

Now, go ahead and select the burn tool and set the range setting to in the option bar to Midtones and exposure close to 50%. Paint over the areas you want to darken. In order to lighten, you may use the dodge tool. Make sure that the range setting is set to Midtones.

When you are done, you may decrease the opacity of the dodging and burning layer to give a realistic look.

Finally once you are through with all the 4 steps, you are done with the re-touching of the image. The beautified image without any blemish is at your disposal.

And this is nothing short of a professional photo retouching exercise!!

So then, till we connect again, happy learning with Clipping arts