Photoshop tip - Smoothing skin in Photoshop

08th February 2010
This technique will give your model a nice smooth skin – the kind you find on magazine front covers. It will also smooth over harsh shadows if you didn't or couldn't get the lighting right at the time of shooting.

You can either watch this video or read about this technique below.

1. Removing spots and blemishes
I would normally use the spot healing brush in the tool pallet here:

This model didn't really have any spots or blemishes to remove. Assuming yours does - once you’ve selected the tool you can make it bigger or smaller using the open and close bracket keys on the keyboard. Once you have it a fraction larger than the blemish then you simply click on it and the blemish will disappear.

Smoothing the skin
To smooth any wrinkles, pores or other discoloured skin you select the Eyedropper tool from the tool menu.
Click on a selection of nicely coloured skin as this will be the basis for colouring discoloured skin elsewhere.

Now click on the brush tool here:

Ensuring you have a soft brush from the menu at the top left of your screen. Also ensure the opacity is down to around 20% so that the effect is not too harsh. The opacity figure is at the top of your screen when you have a brush selected.

Now all you need to do is paint the skin with the brush tool and keep switching between the Eyedropper tool and the brush tool by pressing the ALT key on your keyboard.

You need to switch between them when you move into a lighter or darker shade of the skin so you can take a new Eye dropper selection and then start painting again.

After all, you can’t use the light coloured skin tone of the cheeks on the darker shaded areas of the face.

The principle is really about smoothing the skin rather than making it all the same shade, although the contrast is generally reduced to give a nice soft, pleasing effect.

The following photo is exactly the same as the one above and I have purely used this technique and nothing else. Hopefully you can already see the difference with just this simple skin smoothing technique.

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