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How to approach this skin texture?

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  • How to approach this skin texture?

    Hi everyone!

    I'm working on the attached picture. The pores are very noticeable and I've been asked to soften them.
    I've gone as far as I could, but I don't know how to proceed now.

    Attached are original photo, my retouching and a sample given to me.

    What I try to get is a middle point between what I did and the sample given.

    What I've done so far:
    -conversion from RAW to remove contrast
    -frequency separation - healing in the top layer
    -inverted high pass, different radius in different parts of the image
    -a lot of d&b
    -dust and scratches to remove the most shiny spots
    -some curves to get contrast back

    I've tried other things like a blurred layer on top and play with blending options, another frequency separation and masking the top layer... but I don't find the point where it is soft and still realistic.

    I've been looking around the site but haven't found something helpful yet.

    I'll appreciate any guidance.

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: How to approach this skin texture?

    You're just making that way too complicated. It's not necessary to remove much in the way of contrast from that image. It just needs a lighter touch. The deeper tones in the sample may have used a combination of burn/dodge work and a bit of levels.