It is not to easy to find lessons or tutorials how Pro prepare images of models for magazines and advertising. I try to accumulate information what I learn from different professional retouchers in this tutorial.
I do not pretend to “guru” status, you can correct me. I just want to learn how to do sublime retouching and post-production and share my knowledge with you.
This is an example of fast work-flow for a portrait retouching and post-production for print or web. If you like to learn this process in more details you can find a bonus links below.
Mouse Over to see Before and After
1 step. Clean Skin
Convert image from camera RAW, duplicate layer and start most important part of retouching using Healing Brush Tool. Holding ALT key (Option) pick up similar area of the skin and replace a problem area. Be sure the photo is open full size 100% or even more: 200%, 300%. More time you will spend on this part of work, best quality picture you will have at the end.
So, my suggestion is do not try to save time on this part of retouching, you can skip any later steps except this one. This is important.
I used these brush parameters:
The size of brush you can quickly change by using “[" and "]” keys
I spent about 40 minutes to achieve this result for a whole face. For the perfect result you may need to spend a whole day. Everything depends on how the image will be used:
For advertising print you need more time and better quality than for upload for web image.
Mouse Over to see Before and After
2 step. Even Skin
Now I want to make smoother skin under the eyes and nasolabial folds:
- Duplicate last layer and choose Screen on blending option menu.
- Add Layer Mask with holding Alt (Option) key.
- Pick Brush Tool very soft, 15% Opacity and 25% Flow and brush dark circles under the eyes and all dark areas you like to be more lighter.
- The same procedure (start from duplicate layer) we are going to do for darkening light areas, only difference is blending option make Multiply.
3 step. Soft Blur Skin
- Duplicate layer/Filter/Blur/ Gaussinal Blur
I select radius 30. Now you should link up your brain and eyes and play with the numbers:-). Sometimes you will need radius to be 20 (for full body) sometimes 60 for hi res close-up portrait.
- Applying a noise. Create a new layer and full it with 50% Gray
Filter/Texture/Grain(grain type – enlarged)
For this image I’ve used parameters Intensity 30% Contrast 30%
- Image/Adjustments/Desaturate, blending options - Overlay
- Layer/Create Clipping Mask
- Change opacity of blurred layer 20-30% (my choice is 25%)
- Add Layer Mask for blurred layer with holding Alt (Option)
- And than paint over the skin with a very soft brush avoid eyes areas, eyebrow, lips, paint over only skin.
4 step. Glare and shadows for adding picture a radiance and voluminosity.
- Duplicate layer, blending option Screen,
- Add Layer Mask with Alt (Option) holding and paint glare where you like using very soft, almost transparent brush. I did it little bit on cheeks and the forehead.
- For shadows repeat this part with blending option Multiply. I painted small shadows under cheeks to accentuate cheek-bone.
5 step Brightening eyes and teeth.
Duplicate layer, apply blending option Screen, Add Layer Mask with Alt (Option) holding…(looks very similar to previous step, isn’t?:-). There are many methods to retouch photographs, different combinations and using tools, but these steps basically the same. Now I choose to do it using layer masks and blending options, somebody use masks and curves, somebody use dodge and burn tools, and somebody plug-ins. This is up to you:-)
OK, paint eyes and teeth and move opacity slider to 20-30%.
6 step. Adding contrast to image
In some cases we can add shine to hair using this step and apply mask only for hair, now I will skip this part.
7 step. Sharpening
- If you prepare the image for printing I recommend use High Pass Filter.
Duplicate Layer/Filter/Other/High Pass
I apply radius 2.4 and blending SoftLight (you can try Overlay and see, if you like the result). Play with Opacity if you like.
- If your photo for web the best way to use Smart Sharpen…
Resize the Image/Filter/Sharpen/Smart Sharpen…
My options for this image – Amount 500, Radius 0.2
And this is the final image:
More photos with this retouching you can see in my another post: Studio portrait photography with color gels
Thank you for reading. I hope this lesson will helpful for YOU. Any feedback and suggestions are very welcome!
Atlanta photographer Alex Koloskov
And bonus links about skin and hair retouching:
DVD Video Lessons:
- Introductory beauty retouching tutorial course teaching high end techniques & Photoshop tools. by NataliaTaffarel and Vitaly Druchinin
- Intermediate and advanced techniques on how to retouch beauty & hair images. by NataliaTaffarel and Vitaly Druchinin
- Mastering Retouching by Nick Saglimbeni
- Photoshop CS4 Beauty & Portrait Retouching Kit with David Cuerdon
- Dramatic Dior magazine look by Ray12
- Superb Skin Airbrush Technique
- CS4: Portrait Retouching with the “Spa Treatment”
The best retouching forum RetouchPRO