Photoshop Tutorials
The Design Center, DT&G, Photoshop Department: Beauty Retouching  

Beauty Retouching

Photoshop 911 calls are numerous wanting to know how to remove blemishes from photos, give skin the fashion magazine look, or just how to get that certain glamorous fashion look. Well, when so many people wanted the same advice we asked The Glitter Guru! to help us out. Of course she did. Last month we discovered Marija Matijasec, an incredibly talented photo retoucher from Vinica, Croatia. Her work blew us away, so we asked her for a few pointers as well...

Beauty RetouchingBEFORE

with Marija Matijasec

Beauty retouching is one of the most demanding parts of photo manipulation. There are a couple of different methods and only few tricks. The main trick for your results to be astonishing is patience. With time you'll get faster, but this is not five-minute job even for professionals.

Step 1:

retouching Improve the colors on your image as much as you can. Even if your final mode is CMYK, do most of the editing in RGB -- it is much more flexible and editable than CMYK. And don't ever hesitate to use selections with various feathers while editing.

In this case I've started with curves and hue/saturation corrections -- image was too red. After that I've used variations to lighter image -- I lighter image in midtones and added red and yellow (see image 01). I find this method excellent whenever I have too dark image.
(Note: some of the enlargement images are quite large and may take a moment to open. Some will be set to 800 x 600 pixels, so some scrolling will be necessary.)

Step 2:

After you've finished with color editing, make a new layer -- that is how you can control your work and if you don't like what you've done, you can go from the start or return to an earlier part of the image. You also can use it only to impress your clients and friends.

Now is time to start retouching. I've used heeling brush and cloning stamp to remove all blemishes and bigger imperfections on face (see image 02). Heeling brush is also excellent for removing ugly lines under the eyes.

imageStep 3:

Too big nose or chin, too small lips and other similar problems can be easily solved with liquify filter (see image 03). This filter, under the "Filters" menu, allows you to move, smudge, squish, and otherwise distort your image. The default setting has the grid turned off, but you might want to try some work with the grid showing. This gives you some clear visual feedback on how the tool is reacting. The Warp will be the most useful, however "Pucker" and "Bloat" are best for shrinking or expanding the area. Be careful and experiment. The brush size has a lot to do with the results. Go slowly, moving a tiny bit at a time.

On this image I've use it for reducing the nose (with the "Pucker" tool) and chin (with the "Warp" tool,) and removing bumps on the neck.

Step 4:

smoothing the skin Now is time for final skin smoothing. I've selected bigger cloning stamp with small hardness -- about 15%. It can be used hardness from 5 -- 30%.

With that brush I've careful smoothed the skin (see image 04).

Doing that I always use multiple clicks, not strokes. This is the part of work when you must be most patient while doing it -- be very careful not to repeat pattern. Every now and then take new snapshot in history palette (see image 5). This way, if you don't like your final product, you can easily return to exact step in history.

Step 5:

smoothingIf I go too far with smoothing on some parts, I use history brush with hardness about 15% and select snapshot I like the most, then partially restore specific area. If this is not possible on some areas that came out too smooth, I use selection and add noise filter to simulate skin texture (see image 06).

Do some final color adjustments if necessary and you are finished.

Finished: Open this final image with the Before and After (It's a "rollover" so move the cursor over the image to see the changes, then out again to toggle the before and after.) Notice the results of the Liquify Filter in the nose and chin. Also notice that areas of the shot didn't need modification, such as the areas around the hair.

Dramatic Changes

Other dramatic changes can be seen in these Before & After samples of Marija's work. (May take a moment to load on slower connections.)
Girl gets Hair and Eyes fixed - watch this one as you rollover to reveal the finished piece -- note the eyes and much of the hair had to be rebuilt
Normal Girl goes Gold... Here's a magazine shot where Marija had to literally turn the model into gold!
Model loses ten years... Trim, Soften, Fix Hair, was the story on this shot that started out pretty hard, but ended pretty soft!
Chiselled features in this facial - note here that the face behind the net is virtually unchanged! But the lower face and neck had to practically be rebuilt -- including a blemish on the leather glove. (Don't forget to scroll around!)
Replace the head... Everything in this shot was perfect... except the head. So a second shot was combined for a perfect solution.
Two plus Two equals Three... where several shots had the right components, but they had to be reassembled for the final results. (May need side-scrolling)

About the Author

Marija Matijasec is a ten-year veteran of professional photography and retouching from Vinica, Croatia. She studied at the Institution of Graphic Technologies, and has worked for such clients as Cosmopolitan, Playboy, Story, Loaded, New Beauty, Laboratorium, UNEX, BBDO, Bruketa i Zinic and others. Her specialties are photo retouching, color editing, and just about everything connected with Photoshop. She uses a Mac G4, 1.25GHz, 1.25Gb RAM, and Photoshop CS.
      Contact Marija via the Design & Publishing Center!

And that wraps up another case study from the emergency calls at Photoshop 911 dot com. To see more case studies, and tips generated from Photoshop911 just go to our Tips & Tricks department.


Check out iDigital Emotion for yet another "smoothing" tutorial.

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