Jul 09, 2014

How to Remove Acne in Photoshop

Remove Acne in Photoshop

Anyone who has gone through puberty knows that acne can ruin a photo. Don’t let those spots get you down, in this episode we show you how to remove acne in Photoshop.

The key to removing acne in Photoshop is to divide the process into two steps. The first step is to get rid of redness and the second step is to remove the blemishes.

How to Remove Redness in Photoshop

Half of the battle is removing the redness around acne and it can be difficult if you don’t use the right tools. In this episode we show you how to use Hue/Saturation to target specific areas of red and alter them so they look like normal skin tone.

Removing Acne Blemishes

After removing the color it is time to remove the blemishes. Adobe has done a great job with the spot healing brush in recent versions of Photoshop (CS6, CC, CC2014). It makes removing blemishes very easy as long as you check a few settings. Be sure to select “content aware” and “sample all layers” so you can use this tool on a new layer and not destroy your original layer.

Simply paint over the blemishes to remove them. We suggest removing small spots first and then moving to the larger areas. To finish off the job, zoom out and paint larger areas. This will help to even out uneven skin tones.

Adding Red Back to Skin

In the first step we removed all the red from the skin. This is a necessary step when getting rid of acne but you will want to add a bit of red back to the skin to make it look more realistic. The difference is that the original red was blotchy and very saturated. This red will be softer and more subtle.

Choose the red color from the lips and paint over the subject’s face, then change the layer blend mode to Soft Light and reduce the opacity to 20%-50% or until the skin looks natural.


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    Sky Cope

    Hi there – enjoying phlearn! Could you make an episode on how to remove dappled light from portraits? Thanks!

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      Natasha Heredia

      This would be fantastic!! First wedding I ever shot the couple wanted their pictures done in a forest….! I’ve since learned some things I could have done when shooting but having editing tips would be fantastico!

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    Markus Lukeous


    I am having a really great doubt!!

    I just started my photography about a month.

    My doubt is that when I take a picture with the camera and when i see it through the lcd screen of the camera, it looks good, but when i put it into my computer,it is not giving that much perfection.

    Can anybody tell me the reason?

    How can I make my picture a perfect one?

    Any settings that i have to change??

    My camera is Canon EOS REEL T5

    with lens 18-55 and 55-250mm….Please help….

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      There are a few things you should realise.
      * Most photographs you see online are at least slightly processed.
      * When you look at the full size image, you can see a lot more imperfections that just fade out when you zoom out a bit. Most pictures taken will never appear as big as they actually are for this reason (unless you print it on a big canvas or something).
      * Also, you computer screen might be calibrated differently, meaning that the colours and lightness of your image might look different. I suggest comparing two screens if you have the chance (for example bring it over to a friend some time), so you can see what I mean. 🙂

      What are the problems you are having? We might be able to give some more detailed tips, if needed at all. 🙂 Also do you have a Flickr account or something?

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      Eric Mancilla

      I think i can understand what you are talking about. One tip i can tell you is that the lcd screen is not and ideal thing to base the end result. imo the lcd is just to know the setting of the cam (aperture, shutter speed and iso). For best results as in exposure and focus use the view ( i am also new so i don’t know the names as such) above the lcd and see the settings and view the focus.

      I use to have a bridge cam and when i upgraded to a nikon d5300 it was a totally different beast. so i think i know what you are talking about. From now on i use the lcd to just know the settings i have set as and use the view to focus and see the exposure. I dont trust the lcd for photos but i do use it for video.

      Is the problem you are coming across is it under expose or what is the problem? (if you use live view)

      in my expirience with my nikon d5300 is that when i use the lcd to take a photo in M-mode and use the lcd the photos came out way under expose but i didnt know why. After looking at the setting of the cam i notice that the cam under the LCD is acting as if you recording video and it take photos with the movie setting of 60fps. So it will under expose you photos as if you were using the video settings. ( do you understand what i am talking about) So the 60fps setting under expose the photo all the time when i use the lcd. ( live view)

      **update is this the problem you are getting? ***

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    Rob @ Amsterdam

    Nice and helpful Tut as always, great Job !!

    But let’s take it a step further Mister Nace …..
    Show us how to get rid of THE BEARD on this funny dude below 😉

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    oscar hernandez

    Disculpas pero no se hablar Inglés.
    Exelente tutorial, me sirvio mucho para practicar, aquí una muestra de lo realizado.
    Es una combinación de este tutorial con algo de separación de frecuencias.
    Me falta para llegar al nivel que quiero, pero seguiré practicando.

    Saludos desde Monterrey, México

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    Peggy Staley

    I read (somewhere) that (someone) “painted” with texture. Is this possible, and if so, how?


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    This is a great tutorial for a task so often encountered. Thank you Aaron.

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    Well done as always. After seeing your video on frequency separation, I used it to touch up acne on photos and it worked great. This method resolves the redness issue that I didn’t have in my photos.

    In your opinion, after resolving the redness, why would this method be used for acne versus frequency separation?

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    This is exactly what I was looking for- so glad a fellow photographer told me about you. Do you have any tips on how to remove braces?

  • user image

    Hi you do great job 🙂 Thank you so much for all tutorials.
    I have 2 doubts.

    1, how to make a black and white image to color?
    2, in your tutorials your talking video is coming in navigator? is it after composting? or we can connect camera and import in to navigator and record the screen?

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    Michal Laffitte

    Hello. excellent job. I did not imagine this. This is a excellent story. Thanks!