Forums > Photography Talk > Softening of the skin

Photographer

PhotoVRG

Posts: 33

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

I have been asked a few times if I soften the skin on my photos. The answer is always no, I do not. Whenever I look at them, I realized that the little details give character and style that I find appealing. Perhaps that is why I don't shoot glamour or women with heavy make up. At any rate, sometimes I do remove zits and blemishes if they detract from the purpose of the image, but that is as far as I go, and it has to be by special request.

Does anybody have a way of dealing with skin so that looks natural and at the same time even and smooth? Any techniques?

Dec 09 12 03:03 pm Link

Photographer

Veit Photo

Posts: 667

London, England, United Kingdom

I can see why you get those comments - you don't shoot for sharpness which makes skin softer as you can't see pore detail or blemishes as well.

There are heaps of ways. All of them booooring smile
The quick ones you can spot a mile away.
The good ones take a lot of time.
Start by looking for tutorials on YouTube and in the edu section of this site.
You can go a long way by just using the healing brushes in Photoshop.

Dec 09 12 03:32 pm Link

Photographer

me voy

Posts: 1093

Amherst, Massachusetts, US

PhotoVRG wrote:
I have been asked a few times if I soften the skin on my photos. The answer is always no, I do not. Whenever I look at them, I realized that the little details give character and style that I find appealing. Perhaps that is why I don't shoot glamour or women with heavy make up. At any rate, sometimes I do remove zits and blemishes if they detract from the purpose of the image, but that is as far as I go, and it has to be by special request.

Does anybody have a way of dealing with skin so that looks natural and at the same time even and smooth? Any techniques?

This is what I do:

1- Start with a good color corrected image
2- Remove anything you don't want on the image with the spot healing brush tool
This is where the good stuff begins
3- Duplicate layer
4- Overlay
5- Invert
6- High pass filter set it to 10 click OK
7- Gaussian blur set to 4 click OK. At this point the image looks like crap.
8- Go up to Layer, layer mask, hide all
9- Press "B" for the paint brush tool and start painting over the skin. Stay away from eyes, lips and tip of the nose.
10- Change the opacity of the layer. I like setting it to 80.

Turn the layer on and off to see the effect. Hope this technique is what you are looking for.

Dec 09 12 09:38 pm Link

Photographer

Gloria Budiman

Posts: 1683

Beijing, Beijing, China

Frequency separation?
Follow this tutorial -> http://www.computerarts.co.uk/tutorials … separation

I have PS actions for that technique, step-by-step, at least all the steps that can be automated. You still have to heal-brush manually. Just ping me.

Dec 09 12 09:41 pm Link

Photographer

pellepiano

Posts: 2280

Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden

For most control, you can use Dodge & Burn. Here are some tuts and info ...

// Overview by Natalia
http://nataliataffarel.tumblr.com/post/4551849530/dnb
// Tutorial
http://www.dmd-digital-retouching.com/b … -tutorial/

A problem with the Frequency Separation Tutorial in above post is that the smoothing of the skin is done by blurring, and while the result may look good at 100% it will often change appearence when viewed smaller. This is because when viewed close the details are the priority in the image, but when viewed from a distance the details are lost and the bigger/blurred areas are getting thru. An excellent example is the classic image of Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein you can see in Natalias very good article on this ( and Frequency Separation ). http://nataliataffarel.tumblr.com/post/ … nd-cloning

Dec 10 12 01:07 am Link

Photographer

Josh Yu Photography

Posts: 206

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

In cs5 and 6 there is a tool called mixer brush. Set all brush values very low, below 10 but you can play around with settings. It is like a soft smudge, but keeps texture intact. Amazing for smoothing skin whilst keeping detail!

Dec 10 12 04:48 am Link

Photographer

Rebel Photo

Posts: 11446

Florence, South Carolina, US

PhotoVRG wrote:
I have been asked a few times if I soften the skin on my photos. The answer is always no, I do not. Whenever I look at them, I realized that the little details give character and style that I find appealing. Perhaps that is why I don't shoot glamour or women with heavy make up. At any rate, sometimes I do remove zits and blemishes if they detract from the purpose of the image, but that is as far as I go, and it has to be by special request.

Does anybody have a way of dealing with skin so that looks natural and at the same time even and smooth? Any techniques?

The answer is simple.... a soft lens, soft light. The down trodden, price slashed Canon 24-135mm is a good choice for example (if you shoot Canon wink ). I've shot dozens of portraits and not retouched the vast majority, where my "L" glass means super detail... and inflamed carpel tunnel (on portraits).

Dec 10 12 05:44 am Link

Photographer

PhotoVRG

Posts: 33

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

Thanks for all the comments. I am trying some right now.

Dec 16 12 06:29 am Link

Photographer

David Thorpe

Posts: 688

Brandon, Florida, US

Gloria Budiman wrote:
Frequency separation?
Follow this tutorial -> http://www.computerarts.co.uk/tutorials … separation

I have PS actions for that technique, step-by-step, at least all the steps that can be automated. You still have to heal-brush manually. Just ping me.

This.  Learning frequency seperation took my quality up a level or two.

Dec 16 12 06:50 am Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2964

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PhotoVRG wrote:
I have been asked a few times if I soften the skin on my photos. The answer is always no, I do not. Whenever I look at them, I realized that the little details give character and style that I find appealing. Perhaps that is why I don't shoot glamour or women with heavy make up. At any rate, sometimes I do remove zits and blemishes if they detract from the purpose of the image, but that is as far as I go, and it has to be by special request.

Does anybody have a way of dealing with skin so that looks natural and at the same time even and smooth? Any techniques?

http://www.modelmayhem.com/t.php?forum_id=18

Dec 16 12 06:57 am Link

Photographer

PhotoVRG

Posts: 33

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

Frequency separation is wayyy better than any black box filters. Versatile and customizable. Definitely what I was looking for.

Dec 16 12 10:02 am Link

Photographer

L A U B E N H E I M E R

Posts: 8789

Seattle, Washington, US

PhotoVRG wrote:
I have been asked a few times if I soften the skin on my photos. The answer is always no, I do not. Whenever I look at them, I realized that the little details give character and style that I find appealing. Perhaps that is why I don't shoot glamour or women with heavy make up. At any rate, sometimes I do remove zits and blemishes if they detract from the purpose of the image, but that is as far as I go, and it has to be by special request.

Does anybody have a way of dealing with skin so that looks natural and at the same time even and smooth? Any techniques?

start with a great model and great lighting.

it's true, isn't it?

Dec 16 12 10:56 am Link

Photographer

Select Models

Posts: 36182

Upland, California, US

My philosophy on editing is... acsentuate the positive... eliminate the negative.  Also guilty of sparatically tossing in alittle 'creative flare' when I feel it's applicable.  Not only does that include the subject... but also the background and anything that falls into this criteria.  To me... photography is an art form... and I'm definitely guilty of being an artist... wink

Dec 16 12 11:03 am Link

Photographer

PhotoVRG

Posts: 33

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

Mark Laubenheimer wrote:
start with a great model and great lighting.

it's true, isn't it?

Absolutely

Dec 16 12 11:59 am Link