Advanced Techniques & Processes 2B: Frequency separation retouching update

23rd April 2015

Here I have done the Frequency separation retouching in Photoshop.

First I duplicated the layers twice by pressing command/control ‘j’ twice. The background layer, the blur layer and the texture layer. I then selected the blur layer and went Filter > Gaussian Blur and adjusted until the ‘blotches’ I wanted to even out in the skin tone were almost invisible and clicked ‘ok’. Then for the texture layer I selected it, went to Image > Apply Image and made sure the layer selected was the blur layer underneath it, the Blending set to ‘Subtract’ and the Scale to ‘2’ and the Offset to ‘128’. I then changed the blending mode between the layers to ‘Linear Light’.

I then selected the blur layer and the lasso tool. I drew around the areas on the face that I wanted to smooth out with regards to the skin tone/colourings. As I selected I made sure the Feather was set to 30 so there were no harsh lines and it looked natural. Once a part of the skin was selected I then went to Filter > Gaussian blur again and adjusted to how much I thought looked good and pressed ‘ok’. I did this all over the face until I was happy with the skin tones. Editing on this layer only affected the tones of the skin and not the texture, as that is a separate layer. So, then I selected the texture layer and wanted to edit the parts of the texture that were un-even or e.g raised blemishes, pours etc. I selected the clone tool and filled in/over the top of the parts that were problem areas with regards to texture, by selecting and cloning the parts of the skin that were smoother than the parts I wanted to retouch.

When I had finished I compared the before and after image close up and saw that the editing I had done looked a little bit fake, so I brought the opacity of the blur & texture layers down a tad so that it looked more realistic. Then wa-la! I flattened the layers and saved it as a new image.

I also did this on a close up of one of my project shots (as the lighting from the side highlighted the problem areas on my skin).

Here are the results –

Through doing this style of retouching I have grown in my understanding of Photoshop and I find this is actually a really quick and easy way to retouch images but not make them look fake – to keep texture and smooth out skin tones. I will definitely be using this technique in future.

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