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how can I improve skin tone?

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  • how can I improve skin tone?

    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post. I hope you guys can help me out :-). The question is to how to improve the skin tone, see attached file. The problem is when you simply apply gaussian blur, the image lost much of the details. Is there any better way to make it smoother while keeping the details around?

    Another related question is how to make it "looks" like sharp? (I understand that you can't create details if it were not there before), am I asking too much here?


    Attached Files

  • #2
    I took a stab at it.
    Here`s how it came out.

    Here`s how I did it in Photoshop 7.
    {disclaimer : This was a quickie, and there`s lots of room for tweaking, here }

    Copy twice.
    Top copy ( copy 2 ) blur out all detail. Make it smooth.( i used 8.7 px ) Set layer mode to Multilply.
    Layer underneath ( copy 1) Image>>Adjust>>Levels.
    Pull the sliders just inside the edges of the histogram, and the center slider a bit to the left, to bring it back into skin tones ( I ended up with 29 ; 1.36 ; and 205.

    Then I selected the white areas with the pen tool, made a selection, and re-filled with white to cover the blur leakage.

    Hope that helps.


    • #3
      Hi Oliver,
      Welcome to Retouch Pro. I think your legs look great but I see what you are getting at. I certainly can't improve on Docilbob's advice and results. His is a tough act to follow and a technique I plan to steal myself. For getting first class help you can't beat this site and the wonderful members who make it up. Glad you joined the ranks.


      • #4
        Cool trick docilebob! I'll have to remember that one.

        I took a very similar approach-

        1- made 2 duplicate layers. The top I set to screen and middle to multiply.

        2- applied a gaussian blur (used about 8 pixels) to the top (screen) layer.

        3- used a levels adjustment layer to bring some contrast can also adjust the opacity of the screen layer down a bit to darken the image

        4- I took docilebob's idea and I selected the area around the legs using the wand and filled with white.

        I like to use a multiply layer to build up a little density before doing any blurring...hope that helps!
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Very cool! thanks, docilebob and Grey

          I like what I see here, very much.

          I tried a different approach (no Gaussian blur), and I do think yours technique and result are much better ..., I wrote mine down just for the sake of sharing...

          - make a selection of leg, save it as mask

          - set foreground color as "#EABD9D", a light skin tone from Bruce's skintone chart.

          - create a new layer "leg", filled with above color, load the previous selection, inverse and delete the rest -- so you end up with a uniform texture (with leg shape)

          -duplicate background layer and move it on top of leg layer, set the blending mode as "overlay"

          - it is a bit yellowish, so I reduce the yellow hue a bit, and adjust the level as final step.

          In the process, I lost quite a bit shadows, maybe overdid a bit.

          thanks again for your wonderful tips.



          • #6
            sorry, I forgot to attach the image.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              There's a couple of tutorials on this site that might help you with skin. One's about skin grain, that will help you to add texture and sharpness to skin, especially after you've blurred it. Check the tutorials section. The other is a nice way to add some depth to skin colour using duotones, called blended duotones. These two were what was used to get this effect. It's kind of blurry, not so great, a little fake-looking, but if you have a nice sized file it will make it look real nice.

              Have fun,
              Attached Files


              • #8
                Skin correction in one layer

                The simplest fix I could think of didn't require blending modes (surprising since I am so used to piling up layers in most of my work and multiplying, screening, overlaying them etc.). To me the biggest problem here was not smoothing the skin, which is easy to do in a dozen ways, but fixing the color and removing the unnatural yellow in the shadow between legs.

                1. Magic wand on the white areas, feather 1 pixel, invert selection, command/control-J to make separate layer with just legs and no background.

                2. Set this new layer to "lock transparent pixels." This keeps the blur from next step from affecting the non-leg areas.

                3. Gaussian blur adjusted to taste.

                4. Color balance to cut the yellow slightly and add a bit more red.

                5. Select yellow shadow with wand, go to "select color range" and feather the selection 4-5.

                6. Hue/saturation to more red, less saturation, darker.

                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Phyllis- I think that's the best one yet!...I know mine developed some horrible yellows!


                  • #10
                    hi, mig,

                    thanks for the tutorial advice. I will take a read now. Your retouch give it a very glamorous look, do you mind to post your steps of doing that?




                    • #11
                      Hi Oliver,

                      The steps are too numerous, but they're all included in the two tutorials I mentioned.
                      A couple things I'd recommend are to cut out the legs using the pen tool if you know how. If not, use whatever method you know to make a clean selection of the legs and save the selection in an alpha channel. (To do this, with the selection active, go to Selection>Save Selection - I think.)
                      You can then find that selection in the channels pallette later when you need it again.
                      Do a levels correction on the image. This will give more life to the image.
                      Do the tutorial about Adding Grain from the tutorials section.
                      Then do the tutorial on Blended Duotone at the end.
                      Finish off by playing with the colours - I used Selective Color, but Hue/Sat, Color Balance, or any of the other colour tools will work.
                      You'll end up with something similar to the sample I posted, which is a deep, waxy look that's popular in magazines and advertising.


                      I forgot to mention, when you blur the legs to get rid of the jpg artifact, make sure you have the selection of the legs active, that way the blur won't really bleed outside of this selection. That's an important reason why you need to save the selection in the beginning, because you'll need it a few times.


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