Photoshop Tutorial: Advanced Skin Softening

The tutorial below will show you how you can softening the skin tones and lowering the contrast at the same time.

softening-tutorial-before-after

Step 1.) Press ctrl-j to make duplicates of your background layer in your Layer Pallete. Now that you have ‘layer 1 copy’ and ‘layer 1′, hide the ‘layer 1 copy’ by clicking the eye icon and change the ‘layer 1′ layer mode to Darken.

softening-tutorial-1

Step 2.) Apply 45 pixel gaussian blur filter to your ‘layer 1′ ( filter > blur > gaussian blur)

softening-tutorial-2

Step 3.) Now hide the ‘layer 1′ by clicking on the eye icon, and make the ‘layer 1 copy’ visible by clicking the empty box on the left. After that, change the ‘layer 1 copy’ layer mode to lighten.

softening-tutorial-3

Step 4.) Apply the 65 pixel gaussian blur to ‘layer 1 copy’ (filter > blur > gaussian blur)

softening-tutorial-4

Step 5.) Hide your ‘background’ layer and create a new layer above the ‘layer 1 copy’ layer

softening-tutorial-5

Step 6.) Now you want to merge ‘layer 1 copy’ & ‘layer 1′ and create a flattened version in your ‘layer 2′ by selecting ‘layer 2′ first, then pressing the alt key and at the same time go to layer > merge visible. Or you can just press alt +shift +ctrl +e.

softening-tutorial-6

Step 7.) Hide ‘layer 1′ and ‘layer 1 copy’ and make your ‘background’ layer visible. Lower the ‘layer 2′ opacity to 35% or 40%.

softening-tutorial-7

Step 8.) Mask the ‘layer 2′ to keep the detail areas such as eyes, lips, eyebrows, hair by clicking on the add vector mask button on the bottom of your layer pallete.

softening-tutorial-8

Step 9.) Choose the soft-edged brush, and start to paint the layer vector mask to black to the areas that you should have full detail. Mine is pretty much everything but the skin.

softening-tutorial-9


See also: Photoshop Tutorials





Share your photos with our readers, make your own profile page, create blog, get unlimited storage for your photos, discuss photography equipment & techniques by joining our photo community



Subscribe for our latest updates sent to your e-mail (no spam)


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

RSS feed | Trackback URI

15 Comments »

Comment by Shiva
2006-04-02 03:07:35

Very useful and simple tutorial

 
Comment by gee
2006-04-05 04:08:45

It’s simple and it works, but it’s definitely not professional. You dont see gaussian blurs on magazines. Patch tool + ctrl+f makes much, MUCH, better results. You can see that the image is ‘shopped with gaussian blur, but if you do it well, you wont see it with patch tool.

 
Comment by Debi
2006-04-05 06:20:39

Very good! Thank you!

 
Comment by rwr
2006-04-05 08:56:57

hmm but why to do so when first pic looks a lot better, sharper and juicier than second…

 
Comment by Lauczi
2006-06-29 05:40:21

thanx! It helped my mum to be younger ;) :D

 
Comment by Mike
2006-12-05 07:52:24

gee, can you explain how to use patch tool+ctrl+f to get better results?

thanks

 
Comment by lewis
2006-12-20 03:29:21

Nice. Used in combination with the patch tool this works pretty well. I also found that copying the original image to a new layer, put in a 10 – 15 pixel gausian blur on it, setting it as an “overlay layer” at about 40% opacity and putting this over the top helped to restore some of the colour and tone lost during this technique :)

 
Comment by elilil
2007-02-04 03:23:51

Hi.great

 
Comment by blaa
2007-03-05 04:58:09

Too bad it makes it look like the picture is not as sharp as it used to be

 
Comment by Bernie
2007-12-18 07:05:44

Thanks a lot. Brilliant and simple but incredibly effective solution to an issue I’ve struggled with for a long time.

 
Comment by Kaya
2008-03-18 10:40:28

Extremely complicated compared to other tutorials out there. I don’t care for this version–the Gaussian Blur (in my opinion) shouldn’t be used to soften skin.

 
Comment by Robyn
2008-06-29 00:40:13

Excellent tutorial! Very useful.

 
Comment by Yogesh.KR Subscribed to comments via email
2010-02-11 14:33:31

Pretty complex one but very useful.. thanx a lot.

 
Comment by Dana
2010-05-05 08:25:00

Nice technique but as one guy said. I didnt like the fact that although the skin looked blurry, it really didnt do much for wrinkles or freckles or spots on the face. However, if you make a duplicate layer, then use the overlay mode and then use the high pass filter. Next you select the brush tool and use it to bring back the details in the eyes, lips and hair highlights, not to mention any jewelry or fingernails you wiill get a much better end result. Also, you can add a vector mask when using the brush tool and dial back the opacity to lessen the softning effect for a more natural look. Last of all add a slight amount of smart sharpening to sharpen up the overall photo. One more thing is to add around 10 or less contrast to make it pop.

 
Comment by skin dm
2013-01-07 06:33:02

Everyone loves it when individuals get together and share views.
Great site, stick with it!

 

Have Your Say

Your Comment may not appear immediately due to moderation
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
URI
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your Comment.