Dominic McMahon

Posts: 53

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Help. Just  Help.

I feel like I have hit the wall with my retouching lately.

The two key areas im coming undone on are (in my mind anyway):

Blotchiness of skin
Smooth transitions and glowing texture.

I have been trying to work out gradient maps for fixing transitions and colour but Im just not seeing the results.

Also i fully understand Dodge and Burn but the one problem I have is knowing when to NOT over d and b in key parts of the face etc.
ie. what are people using for reference? (other good selections of the face?)

I would love to know other fellow retouchers step by step methods of using Gradient Maps, adding texture (HP) and dealing with transitions.

Please see my portfolio for where I am at. … 0after.jpg

Apr 12 13 09:59 pm Link



Posts: 62

London, England, United Kingdom

honest advice: stop wasting your time with all these techniques of frequency splitting and hp etc etc, it is not industry standard ie no one professional in the fashion world retouches like this.

simply spend your time learning how to retouch with 2 curves, 1 lightening 1 darkening. dont spend hours on end in @ 400% as you will find when you zoom out it will look like shit, get used to retouching at all levels and importantly from far away, you need to train your eye as well as the actual techniques of retouching.

in regards to your example, try and leave the original colours and just work on getting the basics right ie where you removed the flyaway hairs on the right, it now looks fake always keep a couple (or draw back in) a few hairs to keep edges natural.

hope this helps.

May 02 13 07:23 am Link



Posts: 403

East Newark, New Jersey, US

+1 He is so right.

Well from the high end places I have been in the past few I would say they use mostly the plain old d&b tools on a jumped layer for speed and clone stamp mostly and the healing brush a little. I would say stay zoomed out and zoom in but mostly out. Don't change the shape of the face that is a sure fire way to not get called back. Learn to do more with less.

I just took a look at some of your images including your avatar and I see that you are removing way too much making it look fake. You want to keep pixel variation in the skin or it will look like you ran a filter and that's not good. In a retouching house they will say it looks plastic meaning no call back.

May 02 13 04:32 pm Link


Dominic McMahon

Posts: 53

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thanks guys. I'll take that all on board.

Any tips are greatly appreciated.

May 03 13 07:22 am Link


LarrySparks Photography

Posts: 117

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

I agree with the rest... Start with the basics and gradually work your way up, its the basics that hurts any novice from excelling, keep it simple, fresh and basic smile

Aug 07 13 03:15 am Link


Jakov Markovic

Posts: 1128

Belgrade, Central Serbia, Serbia

If you're a beginner NEVER EVER EVER start with flat images. They look easier as the texture is less prominent, but you really need to be a master to make them pop without making people look like aliens.

Sep 18 13 06:22 am Link