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Jun 05, 2014

How to Create Freckles in Photoshop

Creating a Custom Brush in Photoshop

In order to make freckles look real when applied in Photoshop we have to start with a texture that is organic and random. In this episode we will show you how to create freckles in photoshop using a photo of granite as our base for creating freckles.

After choosing the best image we start to extract the “freckles”. To start we select the color range of the details we want to become the granite. After making a good selection we create a new layer and fill it with black. Then we create a new layer and fill it with white and place it under the black freckle layer. This will give us black freckles on a white background.

Next it is important to paint white on the edges of your document so that the brush pattern will not look like a rectangle with visible edges. If the edges are visible you will lose the illusion that this is a natural and random pattern.

Next we resize the document down to 600PX in width and create the brush template by going to Edit > Define Brush Preset…

This gives you the shape of your brush but you will still need to alter some brush settings to make it perfect. For this brush we alter Shape Dynamics as well as Spacing.

Download the Phlearn Freckle Brush

Click here to download the custom brush we created in this episode. Brush is compatible with Photoshop CC and newer.

Applying the Freckles onto a Face

After creating your custom brush (which will only have to be done once) you are ready to start creating freckles. Choose a dark color and start to paint with your freckle brush on a new layer. Be sure to size the brush appropriately to your subject. The closer the subject is to the camera, the larger the brush will need to be.

It is best to create these effects in a a few different layers. Each layer will give a bit more depth and make the freckles look truly organic.

In this episode we show you how to paint the freckles over skin and then use a layer mask the fade the freckles away from areas they are not needed.

Completing the Effect

To finish off our freckle effect in Photoshop we group all of the freckle layer and place a layer mask on that group. We then paint black over areas like the eyes and mouth, making sure no freckles are visible.

Now it is time for you to try! Create your own freckle brush or download the Phlearn Freckle Brush.

19 Comments


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    Marco

    Dear Plearners
    The frackles left on the face should be more out of focus becouse the face is more unsharp there. How would you do that? Specialy portraits made whit wide open lenses.

  • user image
    Daniel Hine

    Hey Aaron,
    I have a freckle in my eye. It’s an actual thing, and I believe it looks radical

  • user image
    Maja Top?agi?

    Great tutorial, really loved it. I wondered how to add freckles in Photoshop! Thank you! In the next episode I would like to learn how to retouch teeth and to fill in eyebrows!

  • user image
    Maja Top?agi?

    Great tutorial, really loved it. I wondered how to add freckles in Photoshop! Thank you! In the next episode I would like to learn how to retouch teeth and to fill in eyebrows!

  • user image
    Maja Top?agi?

    Great tutorial, really loved it. I wondered how to add freckles in Photoshop! Thank you! In the next episode I would like to learn how to retouch teeth and to fill in eyebrows!

  • user image
    Maja Top?agi?

    Great tutorial, really loved it. I wondered how to add freckles in Photoshop! Thank you! In the next episode I would like to learn how to retouch teeth and to fill in eyebrows!

  • user image
    Maja Top?agi?

    Great tutorial, really loved it. I wondered how to add freckles in Photoshop! Thank you! In the next episode I would like to learn how to retouch teeth and to fill in eyebrows!

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    Matt

    Hey Aaron and Co,

    Can you do an update on printing your work? I know there was a short series on this topic when phlearn was still learning to walk, but an update would be great. I really love the framed prints on the wall behind Aaron. Do you add the white border to the image you upload, or do you have a site you use that has a customizable boarder? mpix has white borders but no option to adjust width or opt to not clip from the image. Any help would be greatly appreciated as printing work is definitely a big reward!

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    Adfo Arts

    Hey Aaron, is there a way to retouch goosebumps without removing water from skin as well?
    I had a shooting in a sea, my model was coverd by waterdrops and water running down the skin, i want to keep the drops but remove the goosebumps. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with that problem ;)

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    Rob @ Amsterdam

    Amazing.
    This is the technique I was missing !

    Guess what, I took my family pictures from the last 20 years and I gave everybody a good portion of Freckles, they went berserk.

    What’s next, acne ??
    Making granny look like a teen again ;-)

    Okay I understand it’s all about the technique and not so much on the outcome (although it looked good).
    But seriously, why would you add freckles to a non freckled face ???

    Anyway, love Phlearn, love the Tuts and everything else.
    Keep up the good work !!!

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      rtimko

      Rob (nice name) – I could have used this YESTERDAY! I had 2 redheads with freckles in my studio and no matter the lighting nor the dynamic range of my D800, I couldn’t make their freckles appear in the image nearly as much as they did in real life.