Deke’s Techniques 073: Creating Silky Smooth Skin in Photoshop
Hey Gang. Today I make up for my outrageous post from last week with a classic retouching technique. One in which I take a photograph of a lovely woman and make her skin look wonderfully, reasonably, and altogether realistically smooth.
Here's the official description from lynda.com:
This week's free Deke's Techniques demonstrates a classic skin-surface retouch that keeps important things like the eyes, mouth, and other character-defining detail intact. By judiciously applying a Smart Filter blur to the skin areas, then masking the key defining features, you can ensure your model remains authentic looking (and "recognizable by her own mother," which is one of my favorite retouching guidelines by noted Photoshop Diva Katrin Eismann).
Deke begins by selecting the skin with a new feature of the Color Range command in Photoshop CS6 that allows you to automatically select skin tones. Next, you'll deselect those key areas that shouldn't be included like the eyes and mouth before applying the Gaussian Blur filter. The technique doesn't rely on exact selections; you'll see how Deke uses the Polygonal Lasso to demark major areas of the face that should be masked from the blur. After scaling back the blur opacity to realistic levels (we all have pores, after all), you can paint back in areas around the nose and eyes that add character.
Here is the before image (left) and the retouched smooth-skin version with all the things that make a face a face still intact (right):
To finish the effect in the final image, members of lynda.com can watch Deke's exclusive video this week, which shows you how to add vibrancy back to naturally discolored teeth without making them artificially white. It's sensible retouching week in Deke's Techniques. And with the flexibility of these techniques, you should adjust to taste when retouching your own portraits.
And Deke will be back with another free technique next week.
Seriously, this might be my most practical Deke's Techniques ever. Don't expect this thing all the time. In fact, next week, I promise you nothing practical at all.