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How to smooth and flawless facial skin in Photoshop?

flawless , we will teach you step by step how to remove freckles, moles, pimples and blemishes on the face and body in Photoshop software. This is also called retouching.

Step 1 Make a copy of the image

An image that recently opened in Photoshop is displayed in the Layers panel in the Background layer. Before smoothing the skin, start by removing any unwanted stains. To protect the original image, work on a separate layer.

 Press and hold the Alt key on the keyboard, click on the Background layer, make a copy of the Background layer and drag it to the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Duplicating the Background layer in the Layers panel in Photoshop

Repeat Background layer.

In the Duplicate Layer dialog box, name the layer “Spot Healing” and then click OK.

Naming the duplicate layer 'Spot Healing'

Name the layer “Spot Healing”

A copy of the image appears on a new layer called “Spot Healing” at the top of the page

The image has been copied onto a new layer named Spot Healing

The initial cleansing of the skin is now done on a separate layer.

Step 2: Select the Spot Healing brush from the toolbar

Selecting the Spot Healing Brush from the Toolbar in Photoshop

Select Spot Healing

Step 3: Set the Spot Healing brush to “Content-Aware”

Make sure Type is set to Content-Aware in the options bar

Setting the Spot Healing Brush to Content-Aware in the Options Bar

Content-Aware must be selected by default.

Step 4 Click on Skin Blemish to remove blemishes

Click on the Spot Healing brush to remove unwanted skin blemishes. Photoshop instantly “improves” blemishes by replacing problem tissue with skin-friendly tissue from the environment. For best results, choose a brush that is slightly larger than the stain. To resize your stylus, press the right bracket key (]) on your keyboard to make the brush larger, or the left bracket key ([) to make it smaller. If the stains are not completely removed in the first test, press Ctrl + Z on the keyboard to neutralize the operation, then resize your brush if necessary and click on the same stains to try again.

If we look at the image of a woman’s forehead, we see that something like a large pimple is located to the right of the center. I put the Spot Healing brush on it and choose a brush that is a little bigger than spontaneous.

Positioning the Spot Healing Brush over a skin blemish to remove it

Place the brush on the skin spots.

To remove stains, click on the stain with the Spot Healing brush. Photoshop analyzes the area I clicked on, finds good skin texture from the area around it, and then blends a good texture that matches the color and the main color of the area. Like magic, stains are gone:

Clicking with the Spot Healing Brush to remove the skin blemish

Click to improve spots.

I do the same with another stain on the forehead, choosing the Spot Healing brush just a little bigger than the area that needs healing:

Positioning the Spot Healing Brush over a second skin blemish to heal it

Put the brush on the second stain

I click on the stain again and Photoshop removes it immediately:

The second skin blemish is gone after clicking with the Spot Haling Brush

The second stain is gone.

After a few more clicks to clear the remaining spots on the forehead, the skin looks much softer:

The spots have been removed from his forehead.

Eliminate blemishes and not facial features

As you retouch your skin, keep in mind that while it is good for temporary problems such as acne or other minor skin conditions, it is usually not appropriate to remove permanent features such as moles or even certain scars, as these are part of the personality. Are individual. After all, the purpose of image retouching is to help people look their best, not to make them look like someone else.

Initial skin cleansing

Continue working around the face to remove any remaining spots. Here is a comparison of what a woman’s skin looks like at the beginning (left) and after a quick retouch with a healing brush (right). In most photos, this initial skin cleansing should not take more than a few minutes.

A before and after comparison of the skin cleanup with the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop

Left before retouching and right after initial skin retouching.

Step 5: Make a copy of the “Spot Healing” layer

By removing the spots, we see the skin smoothing and softening, and it is still better to work on a separate layer. In the Layers panel, press and hold the Alt key on the keyboard, click on the “Spot Healing” layer, make a copy of the “Spot Healing” layer and drag it down on the new layer icon.

Making a copy of the Spot Healing layer in the Layers panel in Photoshop

Duplicate the “Spot Healing” layer.

In the Duplicate Layer dialog box, name the layer “Smooth Skin” and click OK:

Naming the new layer 'Smooth Skin' in Photoshop

Layer naming.

Now we have the main image in the Background layer, the first skin retouching is on the “Spot Healing” layer and a new “Smooth Skin” layer is on top of them.

The original image, the Spot Healing layer and the Smooth Skin layer in the Layers panel in Photoshop

The “Smooth Skin” layer appears above the “Spot Healing” layer.

Step 6: Apply the High Pass filter

To smooth the skin, we will use the High Pass Photoshop filter. Select Filter in Other from the menu and then select High Pass:

Selecting the High Pass filter from under the Filter menu in Photoshop

Go to the High Pass filter

The High Pass filter marks the edges and highlights them, and the Radius option at the bottom of the High Pass dialog box controls the “thickness” of the raised edge. In other words, when Photoshop detects an edge, the Radius value tells it how many pixels are on each side of it as part of the edge. Low radius values ​​only highlight the best details of the image. But to make sure we don’t soften these important details, we also need to highlight the areas around them, which means we need a larger amount of Radius. For normal shooting, a 24 pixel radius works well:

Going to Filter> Other> High Pass.

Setting the High Pass filter Radius value to 24 pixels in Photoshop

Set the Radius value to 24 pixels.

If your subject is blurry, or working on a lower resolution image, a radius of less than 18 pixels or even 12 pixels may work better. But why these special values? Because for the next step it is important to choose the value of Radius so that it can be easily divided into 3. For example, 24 is divisible by 3, 8, 18 is divisible by 3, 6, and 12 is divisible by 3, 4.

Click OK to close the High Pass dialog box. Your image will be mostly gray. Solid gray areas are non-edged areas with minor details such as skin, while large, high-contrast halos highlight the edges.

The image after applying Photoshop's High Pass filter to detect the edges

Result after applying the High Pass filter

Step 7: Apply the transparent Gaussian filter

We need to erase the effect of the High Pass filter. It may seem inflexible, but in fact, blurring helps the skin to come out more properly. Go to the Filter menu, select Blur, and then select Gaussian Blur:

Choosing the Gaussian Blur filter from under the Filter menu

Go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur.

In the Gaussian Blur dialog box, set the Radius value to exactly one-third of the value used for the High Pass filter. In my case, I set the High Pass radius to 24 pixels, so I set the Gaussian Blur radius to one-third, which is 8 pixels. Click OK to close the dialog box:

The Gaussian Blur dialog box

Adjust the Gaussian Blur radius to one third of the High Pass radius

Despite the blur, the High Pass effect now looks smoother and more detailed:

The result after applying the Gaussian Blur filter

Result after applying the Gaussian Blur filter

Step 8: Change the Layer Blend Mode to Linear Light

In the Layers panel, change the “Smooth Skin” layer blend mode from Normal to Linear Light:

Changing the blend mode of the Smooth Skin layer to Linear Light

Change the layer composition mode.

This mixes the High Pass result with the image, creating a high-contrast, over-sharp effect. It may sound scary, but don’t worry.

The image after changing the Smooth Skin layer blend mode to Linear Light

The image after changing the blend mode of the Smooth Skin layer to Linear Light

Step 9: Invert the layer

Go to the Image menu, select Settings, and then select Invert:

Choosing the Invert command from under the Image menu.

Go to Image> Adjustments> Invert

With the inverted layer, the image looks too sharp, chaotic and blurry, strange and with big ugly halos around everything:

The image after inverting the Smooth Skin layer

Result after inverting layer “.” Smooth Skin

Step 10: Open Blending Options

To reduce the halo effect, click on the Layer Styles icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:

Clicking the Layer Styles icon in the Layers panel in Photoshop

Click on the Layer Styles icon.

Select Blending options from the top of the list:

Opening the Blending Options in Photoshop

Open Blending options.

Step 11: Drag the “Blend If” slides

In the Layer Style dialog box, search for the Blend If slider at the bottom. There are two sets in the slider, one called “This Layer” and the other under it called “Underlying Layer”. We need higher sliders (those labeled “This Layer”):

The Blend If sliders in the Photoshop Blending Options

Sliding Blend If

Notice the slider below each gradient bar. These sliders control how the “Smooth Skin” layer is combined with the image below it based on the brightness of the layer. The bar slider on the left is used to mix the darker areas of the layer, and the slider on the right mixes the lighter areas:

Photoshop Blend If sliders.

Dark sliders (left) and light right

Reduce the halo of light

Start by lowering the lighter halos. Press and hold the Alt key on your keyboard, click the slider on the right and start dragging it to the left. Holding down the Alt key tells Photoshop to split the slider in half so that only the left side of the slider moves while dragging while the right is in place. When you drag a slider, look at your image and you will see lighter halos. Slide the slider almost completely to the left to reduce it as much as possible:

Blending the lighter areas of the Smooth Skin layer with the Blend If sliders

Drag the left half of the slider to the right.

This is the result after dragging the first slider. Most light halos are now gone, or at least much less so. Only darker halos remain:

The image after reducing the lighter halos with the Blend If sliders

Lighter halos disappear after sliding the slider on the right.

Reduce dark halos

To reduce dark halos, press and hold the Alt key, click on the slider on the left, and drag half of it to the right. You have to drag almost completely to the right again to eliminate most of the dark halos. When you are done with the Layer Style dialog box, click OK:

Blending the darker areas of the Smooth Skin layer with the Blend If sliders

Drag the right half of the slider to the left.

My image after dragging both sliders is as follows. Her skin looks very smooth, but there are other flaws in the image. We will solve the following problem:

The skin smoothing effect in Photoshop after dragging the Blend If sliders

The darker halos disappear after dragging the slider on the left

Step 12: Add a layer mask

To limit the smoothing effect only on the skin, add a layer mask. Return to the Layers panel, press and hold the Alt key on your keyboard, and click the Add Layer Mask icon:

Clicking the Add Layer Mask icon in the Layers panel in Photoshop

Add a layer mask while holding down Alt.

A small black mask image appears on the “Smooth Skin” layer. In this case, the smoothing effect is hidden from view, so we can use it only where we need it:

A black-filled layer mask has been added to the Smooth Skin layer

The black mark of the mask is added to the “Smooth Skin” layer.

Step 13: Select the Brush tool

From the toolbar, select the Brush Tool:

A black-filled layer mask has been added to the Smooth Skin layer.

Select the brush tool.

Step 14: Set your brush color to white

Make sure the foreground color of the brush is set to white. You can see your current foreground and background colors in the swatch color charts at the bottom of the toolbar. swatch In the upper left is the Foreground color. If not set to white, press the letter D on your keyboard to quickly set the colors to default:

Setting the brush color to white

The foreground color (brush color) should be white.

Step 15: Paint on the skin

Before you start painting, check your brush options in the options bar. Make sure Blend Mode is set to Normal, Opacity is 100% and Flow is 100%:

The Mode, Opacity and Fill options for the Brush Tool.

Make sure the Mode, Opacity and Fill options are all set to their defaults.

Then apply the brush on the skin to determine its smoothing effect. A soft edge brush will work best. We already know that we can change the size of the brush from the keyboard using the left and right bracket keys. To change the brush stiffness, add the Shift key, press Shift and the left bracket key to soften the brush, or press Shift and the right bracket key to make the brush stiffer.

Example: Pulling a brush to reveal smooth skin

I start by drawing a brush on my forehead. Because we paint on the layer and not on the image itself, we do not see the color of the brush as we paint. Instead, we reveal the smoothing effect in the areas we have painted:

Painting to reveal the smooth skin in the woman's forehead in Photoshop

Return the smooth skin to the woman’s forehead.

Next, I apply it on her nose, cheeks and around her eyes to correct the skin surface in those areas. Adjust the size of your brush as you wish so that you do not paint on the color details that need to stay sharp. If an error occurs on an area, press the letter X on your keyboard to set your brush to black, and then draw on this error to hide the smoothing effect. Press X again to turn your brush white and continue painting to soften the skin:

Revealing the smooth skin in the woman's nose, cheeks, and around her eyes

Emollient effects are more pronounced, but only on the skin.

Finally, to smooth and soften those areas, I paint around the mouth and above the chin, while at the same time you have to be careful to avoid painting his lips:

Smoothing the skin in the lower areas of the woman's face in Photoshop

Softening of the skin is evident in the lower parts of the face.

View the mask layer

To see exactly where you drew, press and hold the Alt key and click on the Layers mask on the Layers panel:

Switching to the layer mask view in Photoshop

Hold Alt and click on the layer mask thumbnail.

This will change your view from image to layer mask. The white areas on the mask are where you smoothed out to repair the skin, and the black areas are where the smoothing effect is hidden. Viewing the mask is a great way to make sure there are no stains and you can paint directly on the mask if necessary. To return to your image, press and hold Alt again and click on the mask layer thumbnail:

Viewing the layer mask in Photoshop to see where the skin smoothing is visible

Use the mask view to search for lost areas.

Step 16: Decrease the Opacity Layer.

At this stage we have softened the skin, but the effect is very strong. To reduce it, reduce the opacity of the “Smooth Skin” layer. In general, the amount of blur between 40 to 60% works best, but it depends on your image. I set 50%:

Lowering the opacity of the Smooth Skin layer in Photoshop

Reduce the opacity of the skin emollient effect by up to 50%.

Our job is done! Here, after reducing the opacity of the layer, the final result is determined. Her skin looks great now:

The final retouched image with smooth skin in Photoshop