How to get picture perfect skin

I do not do this all the time and I would advise you to use your discretion. When I say picture perfect skin I mean skin that is perfect yet natural and not plasticky.The latter happens if you overdo this part of the processing.

 

Lets start by selecting the Magnetic Lasso tool. To do that right click on the third icon in the Toolbox (as shown) and click the tool from the sub-menu that appears.

 

original

 

Use this to isolate ALL exposed skin. The Magnetic Lasso tool is a wonderful tool to use as it will identify quite accurately the skin border for you. You just have to move along it till it meets the point you first started. In this example I started with the face. You will note that the hands and the left shoulder is separated from the face. How then do you isolate it with the Magnetic Lasso? Just press on the Shift key and with it still depressed use the tool again on these areas one after the other like what you did for the face.

 

With the above method this is what you will get.

 

Lasso

 

When you are finished with the isolation right click on the image and from

the dialog box click on Layer via Copy.

 

Layer via Copy

 

Now go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and click.

 

Gaussian Blur

 

On the dialog box that appears apply a Radius of 30 pixels and press OK. Notice how the areas you have isolated are being blurred.

 

Radius

 

Add a Layer mask by clicking on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom right of the screen (2nd button circled in red). This will allow you to edit the blurring to your taste.

 

Add Layer mask

 

Notice the Layer mask in the highlighted top layer on the bottom right (circled in red) that you have created.

 

Layer mask added

 

Now select the Brush tool. To get that right click on the eighth icon in the Toolbox to the left and select from the submenu that appears. Or just press B as a shortcut.

 

Brush tool

 

Change the opacity of the Brush to 50% here (circled in red).

 

Brush50

 

Make sure the Foreground/Background color is Black on White. Otherwise nothing will happen when you do the next step -  this is a common mistakes made by many.

Now increase the Brush size to an appropriate dimension (press and hold the key “]” down until you reach the required size) and click once and with it still depressed go over all the blurred areas. This is what you will get.

 

Brush click once

 

Now change the Brush opacity to 100% as shown below.

 

Brush100

 

With this Brush at 100% opacity go over meticulously over the eyes, eyebrows and the mouth. I must emphasize on "meticulously" here. As such please take note not to go beyond the borders of these areas.

 

It will help a great deal if you zoom in (Command +, Windows: Control +) for this process.You will now note that only the eyes, eyebrows and mouth are sharp within the blurred areas. That is what we want to achieve.

 

Cleaning up

 

The next step is to click on the Background layer to select it.

 

Click Background

 

Apply Unsharp Mask. Go to Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask. You will get this dialog box as shown below. Type in the values to your taste and click OK.

 

Sharpen

 

Now zoom out to 25%. The reason I do this is that I normally resize my image to 800 pixels at the longest side and at 25% image size, what I see is representative of the final result in my resized image.

 

Click on the top blurred layer to select it. Then reduce the opacity of the blurring to taste till you get a nice looking and yet hardly noticeable post-processed skin. It is important to avoid getting a plasticky effect. If I am satisfied with the result I will Flatten the Layers to move on to the next step.

 

Adjust opacity

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