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Reducing Blemishes/Shadows Quickly

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Old 07-21-2011, 04:03 PM
Mr. Tony Mr. Tony is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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Reducing Blemishes/Shadows Quickly

Hey, I haven't been an active member of the forum. I've mainly been reading and applying techniques from others and learning as much as I could. Anyways, I thought I'd share a small technique that I find helps reduce blemishes and shadows fairly quickly - only reduce, not remove. I've always been a more natural retoucher, I've never liked making things look too professional since I'm always working with locals where everyone knows everyone.

This has helped me reduce the amount of time it takes dodge and burn my way to healthier-looking skin, so here you go:

I used one of the free raw files posted by another user "CMS", here.

1. Do a standard freq separation. Enough to just only get the skin texture in.

2. Leave your high freq layer alone. Do another freq separation with the low freq layer. This time, the amount of blur you need to apply should only begin to blur out certain blemishes. It will not work properly if you blur it out completely. Usually, I find a Gaussian blur twice the amount as the original Gaussian blur does the trick.

3. Afterwards, your image should look like an awkward unsharp mask. :/ Delete Background layer 3 (the second separation/re-blurred image).

Your layers should look like this:

Background copy 2 (in linear light/high freq)
Background copy 4 (in linear light)
Background copy 3 (now deleted)
Background copy (org. low freq)
Background (orginal file)

4. Invert Background copy 4 and apply a black layer mask to hide everything with that layer (if you don't the image will look very soft...and hard - not good).

5. Afterwards, simply reveal selective parts of the skin that needs works.

Using CF009326.TIF, this is what is achieved.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 01.jpg (98.9 KB, 60 views)
File Type: jpg 01a.jpg (97.7 KB, 62 views)

Last edited by Mr. Tony; 07-21-2011 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:11 AM
Der_W's Avatar
Der_W Der_W is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Germany
Posts: 558
Re: Reducing Blemishes/Shadows Quickly

If I'm not completely mislead with your instructions, all you seem to be doing is a band stop filter, which can be created far more easily by just blurring the low frequency layer of the first separation.

See this tutorial here for an explanation of why this is the same as what you're doing here:

Anyway thanks for sharing, it's always good to experiment and try out new things :-)!
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