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Remove Any Skin Blemish In Photoshop

Apr 04

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We’ve focused on retouching a lot here at Phlearn, taking care of zits, applying makeup in Photoshop, you name it. But we’ve never covered taking care of larger scale blemishes and redness, such as rosacea or in this case red powder. This technique works great for clearing up skin, and we’re using an extreme example to prove it!

Hue & Saturation

Most of the red powder in this portrait can actually be cleared up by using a simple Hue & Saturation adjustment layer. By changing the color range, we can bring the powder and the skin together to create a smooth, natural skin tone. Adjustments can be made on top of this layer, such as removing smaller blemishes.

Adding Highlights

To bring highlights back into the skin, use the brush tool to paint white over the entire face. With the Blend-If tool, we can make the white only appear on the lighter parts of the skin. This creates natural highlights that prevent the skin from looking too flat.

  • Paul Ferradas

    You threw me for a loop Aaron. I thought you were going to use the color picker tool to select your color range. I like the technique you used. I learned something new this morning, thanks to you. (Applause)

  • Ben

    Love this technique. Thanks for sharing it with us. I think I told you already that you are the boss but it’s never enough with you :)

  • Alex Hochstrasser

    My mind is blown. Again. Good job, Aaron!

  • Cyril Rana

    Aww, thanks Aaron for using my picture.

  • Pingback: Remove Any Skin Blemish In Photoshop | xposing ...

  • Marco Antonio Sariñana

    Awesome technique!!!!! This totally helps with those crazy color casts I get from shooting near grass or colored walls. Sometimes I don’t catch it when I’m shooting but now I can easily fix. Thanks so much!!!!!!!

  • Richie Antonio Bonilla

    Amazing technique. Wow.

  • Ole Martin Wold

    Nice jingle at the end. Should use it as intro-jingle :p

  • Dionysius

    Great Episode!!! I’ve been struggling with correcting those type of skin blemishes for a while. I’ve seen other techniques but this one is simple and smooth. The blend if option makes a huge difference! And the singing at the end…you’d probably win american idol lol

Episode Transcript

Secrets revealed. Lights changed. Photoshop is neat.

Hey, guys. Welcome to Phlearn. My name is Aaron Nace. You could find me on twitter @aknacer. Today we’ve got some awesome secrets on how to fix some skin blemishes. This is going to be perfect for anyone who’s taking pictures of people and they have something like red pulses and slight discoloration in people’s skin which happens all the time. Maybe someone had Rosacea in which some of the blood of them has skin break and is a little bit more red. That would be an extreme case but in most cases you are going to get some redness in a photo.

Today we’re using an example, an extreme example. I’m going to show you how to fix it. The works on this photo is definitely going to work on all of your photos. Here we go. This is Cyril’s image and this is a winner of last week’s contest, the close up content. Very, very cool image. I love this image. These are not skin blemishes here guy. These are what look to be actual red powder. I figured if I can make all that red powder disappear using a technique, you can probably definitely use it to actually fix some people or all people’s skin texture. Let’s go ahead and show you guys how to do it.

Basically what I want to do, the whole idea behind what we’re doing here is I want to figure out a way to target certain areas and then change their colors. We’re going to target areas like this and this, all those redness in here and you know, that’s an extreme case, but this is pretty red here as well. We’re going to have to figure out and then target those areas and then we’re going to need to change them over to color like this which is the actual skin tone. This is the skin tone that we want the face to be. Keep in mind this is just an example. I’m using the extreme over here but this is going to work on all your images as well. Let’s just delete that later and I’ll show you guys how we’re going to do it.

Here is the secret. We’re going to go on to our adjustment later. I’ll go down to where it says hue/saturation. You might say like, “Well, that’s not that powerful. I thought we’re going to be getting cool than that.” It’s still really cool I promise. Here is the trick: when I’m in the hue [set tray 00:01:59] and you have your master which is just adjusting everything, hue, saturation and lightness. As I adjust my hue and saturation you can see it just covers everything in the image which is pretty much not what we want. Same with my saturation and things like that. It’s just covering everything. Let’s just undo it. The key here is going to be choosing instead of having it say master you’re going to actually choose the color range that is going to edit.

Let’s go ahead choose red. There we go. Now we’ll have the color range that knows to edit and it’s not going to touch my green [trends 00:02:29]. Let’s go ahead and shift the hue of the red and you can see, the greens are staying the same but the reds are changing. This isn’t working perfectly as well because it’s changing the entire face. The range of what this is actually changing which it wants to be. It’s basically changing everything that says hey, this has got some red in it. What we need to do now is refine that down to say like, “Okay. You know what? Instead of affecting all the red I just want to affect some red.” So this is targeting. We’re targeting a certain color here and then we can actually change it.

The targeting happens down here. I’m going to change this around. It’s going to start changing my different colors. From red now we’re actually going to be changing greens. You can see it’s going to change to green in the photo instead of the reds in the photo. It can tough to see what is actually being changed when you move this around especially if you want to really target some area. Here is a quick fix for targeting those areas.

What we’re going to do is I’m going to drag my saturation up and we’re going to go drag our hue up as well just to make it something that looks like this. This is only so I can see what I’m actually doing. Now, when I move the slide around we can see the areas that it’s starting to affect, right? I can see that right over, there we go, it’s starting to affect the clients that are over here and bringing it closer to look now it’s affecting the face. It’s not affecting the entire face now. It’s just affecting parts of the face like a seed map. Cool.

What we can do is further applying this. If I just click right here in the middle of these two points what it’s going to do is it’s going to bring area down in which it’s actually affecting. I can continue to bring this to the right and now what I want to do is basically target all the areas that have that red color. If by bringing this … I’m sliding from the right to the left and I can see it’s starting off on my normal skin tone. You can see the skin tone here and on the nose. As I continue to bring this to the left, it’s going to start to encompass more and more and more and here just about everything.

Now as I bring this up the other way you can see now it seems to be targeting those reds. Right above there it seems to be leaving the skin tone alone and targeting all those reds that are in image. Well, this is perfect. This is basically half the job. First target was targeting, which we just successfully did. We targeted those red areas and now we have to work on changing them to match all the other colors in the image or just the other skin tone. Here’s why we’re doing that.

All right there we go. Let’s go back to where … looks like we’re good. Now what we’re going to do is change our hue and our saturation [inaudible 00:05:00] just bring them both back down to zero. Back down to zero we can see we’re still targeted here but nothing has really happened. This is a little bit darker as well so it’s not just changing colors. This is an extreme example because it’s red powder. In most area on this you won’t have to mess with lightness at all but in this case we are going to change the lightness. I’m going to bring our lightness up a little bit and we’re going to bring our saturation up. Then what I’m going to do is just change my hue. Instead of dragging this like if I drag this hue up, all that red powder that’s on his face becomes purple. If I drag this to the right it should get closer and closer to the actual skin tone. If I bring my lightness up even more what we can see is that it’s probably starting to match what’s going on in the actual skin tone of the rest of the image.

Let’s bring that up even more with the lightness. Bring our saturation up. There we go. Here we can see … let’s bring our saturation down just a little bit. Basically what we’ve done is completely gotten rid of all those reds in the image which is amazing. This is an extreme example but all those reds are completely gone. There are some areas that we want to keep so let’s [inaudible 00:06:09] for a layer mask on there and we paint black on our layer mask on areas like the bandana and things like that. Keep in mind: this is a totally normal layer. There is nothing really that can’t be done with it. You can use layer mask, you can change your layer blending mode, you can do all kinds of things and still that you’re affect with changing the skin tone to the right skin tone.

The other thing that I would probably do is anytime you’re going to be editing and really pushing color around, sometimes you’re just going to get a little bit of area where it is not very clear. What I would do is bring your [inaudible 00:06:44] just a little bit and there we go. We get something a little bit better. We can see this is doing something that a healing brush tool is not going to do this. A clone stamp tool is not going to do this because it’s actually changing the color range.

This would be a great fix if someone has a lot of red in the skin, you want to fix that and then you have a small blemish up there, then what you’re going to want to do is go grab your healing brush and if they have a small mark or something like that then you can go and healing brush that away as well. You’re going to see in just a couple of minutes what could’ve been completely covered with this or red marks or powder. Your uncle who’s been drinking so much his whole life and shows up at Christmas and makes a fool out of himself and reminds everyone you’re a failure. All those things you can fix with just using hue saturation and a little bit of healing brush which is great.

Photoshop can fix problems in actual life. There we go. I just went ahead and got rid of those. There we go. Here’s our color and a couple of blemishes ad we are good to go guys. Very, very cool trick. You know what? Here for the very last, I think we can just finish off in a cool way. I’m using white as my foreground color and I’m just going to paint it white over top in here. There we go. We’re going to bring in a little bit highlight color into the skin. We’re going to paint white over there. If you guys have been watching Phlearn for a while you know I’m a big fan of this tool called blend if. We’re going to double click over here, bring up for blend if and I’m going to color this white. It’s not the visible layer where the underlying layer is darker. There we go.

Holding down alter options to do so and then we’re bringing some natural highlights back into the skin so it didn’t look so incredibly [inaudible 00:08:32]. We went from this which is covered in paint to that which actually looks like the real base color and then we went ahead and brought that highlight right back over the top. Very, very cool transformation. It didn’t take long and you guys can see. If it worked on this extreme example of skin discoloration, it’s definitely going to work on your photos.

Guys thanks so much for watching Phlearn. I hope you love this image … this episode. This is a really, really cool image. And to everyone else, continue to enter our contest because that’s how we get episodes and images and we edit here on Phlearn. Guys thanks so much. I’ll Phlearn you later. Bye everyone.

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Random Tips

If on a mac, close and reopen Photoshop every hour or so – speeds things up a bit.