We see it in all the magazines - those perfect complexions and sparkling eyes. Sometimes controversial, the degree to which images are retouched can lead to comments such as this from gorgeous supermodel Cindy Crawford: "Even I don't look like Cindy Crawford in the mornings!".
How is this achieved in Photoshop?
Starting with a beautifully lit, well exposed image is important. This image of Nina was taken using natural light, with the assistance of a diffuser overhead to soften the light, and a reflector bouncing some light into her face. I opened the image in Camera Raw to make adjustments to white balance and exposure before bringing it into Photoshop for the retouch.
The first step was to remove some of the blemishes. Nina has gorgeous skin, but when doing a beauty retouch, perfection is the aim. On a duplicate layer, I used the healing brush tool to remove the blemishes, the patch tool to remove some of the skin wrinkles and the darker areas under the eyes were corrected.
Next the eyes received attention. Another layer was created and I zoomed in to remove those little blood vessels visible in the whites of the eyes. Whitening of the eyes can be created in several ways, but I used another duplicate layer, changing the blend mode to "screen", before applying a black layer mask, and just painting in the whites of the eyes. Sounds complicated, but it is actually very simple when you see it done! The same method was used to increase the contrast and the sharpness of the eyes.
Skin softening achieves that perfect complexion. Another duplicate layer is created, before applying a gaussian blur filter and again using layer masks you can paint in only those areas you wanted softened. Adjusting the opacity of that layer modifies the amount of skin softening.
Almost there, my last step involved applying some highlights to her hair, and then dimming down an overbright area just next to her ear on the left of the image.
Have a look at the "before" and "after" images, and see if you can see all of those changes. It all may sound complicated but I'm sure once shown, you'll be retouching all of your own images in a flash!
About Julie: Julie is a new recruit with the Bluedog kennel and along with Kim Stevens will be tutoring in Photoshop, Lightroom and Nik software. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +61 7 5545 4777
By Julie Martin
By Julie Martin