Not that my daughter needs a make over, the image does.
better and better digital cameras means you can record more and more
data, but when you’re taking portraits, no matter how informal, even
the slightest skin blemish becomes noticeable.
So the purpose of
this tutorial is to show you how you can tone those flaws down.
In a video tutorial on this site Photoshop users are privileged to see
a method initially concocted by Ashley Ridell.
I’m a Paint Shop Pro devotee, so why should Photoshop users have all of
the fun and help; here’s my take on that make over process adapted for
Pro X4 users. Since the software works in a different way, some
the steps are slightly different and longer.
Note - this tutorial will not work with Paint Shop Pro
versions prior to X4. In section three (Building a new image),
the tutorial uses features that are unique to version X4.
The main steps involve ...
Making a mask
Finding channel with the minimum noticeable blemishes
Building a new image
Smoothing the skin tones
Sharpening only those bits that you want
Paint Shop Pro can be greedy for memory, so two little tricks may be
Turn off, close and don’t use any other software other than
Paint Shop Pro whilst you’re using this process. We’ll be making
a multi-layered image stack and that gobbles memory
When you’ve opened the image, you can ease the stress by
processing in RGB 8bit. You do that by Image > Decrease Color
Depth > RGB 8 bit. The only down-side to this step, is
large expanses of monotone eg when filling the frame with skin tone,
you can lose some of the minor tones and fluctuations that make the
image more interesting. So you’ve to weigh up smoothing against
losing a few tones.
You may also need to remove major blemishes before you start, using the
Making A Mask
Open the image.
Choose Layers > New Mask Layer
> From Image. This mask will be used later in the
process in Step 3
To make that possible we’ll save the make over mask for later use ...
Layers > Load/Save To Disk
> Save Mask To Disk. You’ll be asked for a file
name. Either give it the name belonging to the subject, or
something like mask_DSC1224 so that you can find it amongst the
masks. I have many masks on my system.
This mask contains the overall luminance (brightness) values of the
Close the image and do not save any changes to the image if so
In this step we'll find the channel with the least number of noticeable
Open image again so that you can start the make over process proper.
As in all good practice, make a copy of your background layer before
you do anything else. So if the process goes wrong, you still
have your original image to which you can return.
Layers > Duplicate
We need to split the image into its component channels.
Image >Split Channel>Split
The three channels corresponding to the Red, Green and Blue values will
Look at each of these three channel images carefully. Each will
be a useable, fairly good Black and White image in its own right.
But one will just have the “edge” over the others in your eyes.
For most occasions this will be the Red Channel image. If the
colour image is re-built from the components, red is added to the final
image where there is most white and least black. Since Caucasian
skin contains much red colouring, the Red Channel will appear the
whitest and least marked. We can use the values from this channel
Select the Red channel if that’s the one that gives the best image
The values in the single channel are now used to control the image
(probably the Red Channel value).
Edit > Copy Red
Channel image Edit > Paste As New Layer
as a new top layer
Change blend mode to Luminance
The image has the brightness values now applied from the single channel.
Select the uppermost layer.
You need to access the mask you made earlier.
Layers > Load/Save To Disk
> Load Mask From Disk
Select all layers by holding CTRL and clicking each one in turn to
highlight them. Then whilst the layers are selected ...
Edit > Copy Special > Copy
Merged Edit > Paste As New Layer
The result is a composite layer containing all of the changes you’ve
made so far.
The Skin Tones
The image so far probably looks good. But a little more magic has
yet to be applied to our make over project. In this section the weirdest of filters
produces the smoothest of skin tones.
Select top layer
Find a Gaussian blur value which give the correct feel to the face by Adjust > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
Remember the value and cancel the filter box
Now turn to Effects > Edge Effects
> High Pass and insert the value you got from the Blur filter
Then Adjust > Blur > Gaussian
Blur and insert one-third of the value from the Blur filter box
So if in the first visit to the Blur filter box you thought that 12
pixels blurring looked good
In the High Pass filter you’d choose 12 pixels ...
In the second and final visit to the Blur filter you’d choose 12 ÷ 3
which equals 4 pixels Layers > Invert
To apply the make-over to the entire image.
Change blend mode to Overlay
The skin tones now look great but the eyes, lips and hair lack the
sharpness that draw your eye to them. We put that right in the
Sharpening Only The Bits You Wan t
Select the uppermost layer. We now add a mask above it which
shows this layer in its entirety.
What we then need to do is to
“punch holes” in this mask to reveal the layer below it; it is that
layer which contains the unsmoothed image with the details
intact. The mask is made by Layers > New Mask Layer >
To punch the holes through it, simply select paint brush, grab your Wacom pen and use BLACK paint to punch a
hole in the WHITE
mask to reveal the bits you want sharp
Apart from the finishing touches, there you have a nice make over using Paint Shop Pro X4.