Skin Smoothing
(and some other techniques)

This is a nice and easy technique for both skin smoothing and blemish removal.

The tools used with this technique are:

  • Clone tool or patch tool or one of the healing brushes (depends on your version of Photoshop)
  • Gaussian Blur
  • History Brush
  • Levels - maybe
  • A Wacom tablet (not absolutely necessary but it sure makes your work easier!)

Ready to go?

The Steps

Open your photograph and do an overall evaluation of the image. Are there some blemishes to eliminate? How is the overall color? Do you need a little or a lot of skin smoothing?
  1. In the sample picture (below) there are a few blemishes (chin), some blotches around the nose and a bit of skin smoothing will help - having said that, she is pretty much OK the way she is!

  2. glamorizing red head original
    Original Image

  3. It would probably be a good idea to Duplicate your original photograph. That way if you mess up you still have the original.

  4. Select the Clone Tool or one of the Patch Tools if you have them and then track down those blemishes. If you are using the Clone Tool make sure your Source is roughly the same hue and brightness as the area you want to remove.

  5. You can see a couple of small blemishes on the chin. To remove them I selected the Clone Tool with my Wacom pen set to increase opacity with pressure and then very lightly brushed the blemishes away. 

    glamorizing blemish

    If you are using a Wacom pen then you will find it easy to lightly tap away these blemishes. If you are mousing then it will be more challenging. You will have to do the best you can do by pre-setting the opacity.

    To be as accurate as possible it is best to zoom in a lot - have your blemish or blotch filling most of the screen and work on it that way. I zoomed in all the way to eliminate these blemishes, selected a small brush and set the source in an area that was very close to the color around the blemish.

  6. Go over the photograph and systematically eliminate all of the blemishes. When you think you are finished then look away from your monitor for a few minutes and then look back again - did you find some you may have missed? When you are completely satisfied then you will start on skin smoothing.

  7. glamorizing blemish after
    Blemishes Removed

  8. Skin smoothing is achieved by using a Gaussian Blur. Select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. When the dialogue comes up there is a slider at the bottom labeled Radius. It is generally sitting somewhere around 1.0. Grab the little triangle in the slider and start moving it around and watch what happens in the Preview box.

  9. glamorizing red head 2
    Gaussian Blur

    As the radius gets larger, the Gaussian Blur becomes more intense. Blur to your taste but don't go overboard. Values in the range of 1.5 to 2.5 seem to work well.

    That little window above the radius slider is very helpful. If you tap and hold on it with your pen (left click with your mouse) the window will cycle between the blurred image and the original image and you can pan around the image by moving your pen (or mouse) around. This allows you to check to see how the little lines around the eyes (the crows feet) are reacting to the blur.

    When you are happy, click OK.

  10. So now you have an image with no blemishes and smooth skin, right - but something is just not right.

    When you look closely you will see that the eyes are blurry as are the lips and hair and nostrils and that is not what you want. To fix that you need the History Brush - Y. This brush will step back in time which is very helpful here.

    Select the History Brush and if you are using a Wacom Tablet make sure the brush is set to change it's size with the pressure you apply. If you do not have a tablet either get one now or you will be constantly running up to the keyboard to change your brush size. If you do not change it then your history brush will bring back parts of the skin texture in small places - and that looks nasty!

    Now start painting in the eyes and watch as they pop out nice and sharp like the original image. After the eyes are done do the eyebrows, the area around the nostrils, the lips, any jewelry or clothing and the hair.

    The only thing that you want to remain blurred is the skin.

    glamorizing red head end

  11. That's it - you're done! Sit back and admire your work ...

This really is a simple and fast technique. There are no layers to worry about as you are just working on a copy of the original.

The more care and time you take with the technique, the better your final results will be.


Blemish Removal and Skin Smoothing

Glamorizing Techniques

These glamorizing techniques are quite easy and provide a new Photoshop user and/or tablet user to become more familiar with using the tools.

 glamorize left image

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