Jan 17, 2014

How to Add Skin Texture to a Photo in Photoshop

Because the world consists of textures

Adding some texture back to the skin of a model can help bring depth and life back to their face. Perfection often looks fake, and character and texture adds personality to images.

Creating Custom Brushes

We start by quickly making a brush designed to create random marks and specks. First we create the shape of the specks, then we use Shape Dynamics like size and angle jitter in the brush dialog box to randomize the specks.

Making the texture look like skin.

The best way to find color that will look natural on the skin, is to take a color that already exists on the skin! Here we grab a shadow color from the nose to use for our speckle color. Switch the blend mode to soft light and you’re all set! But don’t forget the highlights! Using the same techniques paint more speckles with white to help balance the skin. Then a quick layer mask and we’re all done! Make sure to add your version of this image in the post below.


user image You
(will not be published)

  • user image

    Thanks for the tutorial, but I see the texture in final image more like a kind of noise

  • user image
    Bodo Brochterbeck

    The skin now has an unnatural texture. It looks like noise. The trained eye wonders why the photographer did not remove that noise to bring out some beauty. Or, why the photographer used an outdated equipment. The “improvements” indeed look like a flaw. At best we think that the photographer wanted to enhance a certain statement with his technique. But the artificial flavour remains.

    A much better way to control natural texture on the skin is to use “frequency separation”, a technique that has already been described here at phlearn. With frequency separation you can control texture completely.

    Conclusion: with the technique described in the article we replace an unnatural look with just another unnatural look.

  • user image
    Chris Daniels

    I just watch these for the bloopers…

    Really though, thanks Aaron and Phlearn team!

  • user image
    Antony Shvain

    Very, very cool! And most importantly, it quite easy!

    Thanks a lot, Aaron!