Skin Retouching Techniques


This is part two of Retouching skin in Photoshop. In our previous post, I discussed about “Touch-Up Layer Technique”. Today I will discuss about “Frequency Separation Technique” Frequency Separation is the best option if you want to get a beautiful skin on photographs. Frequency separation helps to touch up effectively without even harming skin texture. It helps to keep the skin texture constant without losing it. Frequency separation usually works on red patches, little blemishes, wrinkles, oily skin, dry skin and all kind of skin problems. Frequency Separation technique works especially on under eye dark circles. It also works on smoothing make up that are not blended well on photos.

You will find many tutorials on retouching skin in Photoshop. Frequency Separation Method is the best technique for getting better skin tone and smoothing the blemishes of the skin. Now, let’s move towards a question that might arise which is, “How does it work?” You’re essentially separating the detail from the color and putting them each into their own layer. That way you can adjust either quality without affecting the other. Let’s start the Step-by-Step Process of doing skin retouching using Frequency Separation Technique.

Also you may check out my previous post about 3 Techniques for Retouching Skin In Photoshop (Part-1)

Step – 1

First set the stage. This work is best in 16-bit mode, so we will select 16-bit mode for doing this work.

Step 1

Step – 2

After opening your image, you have to make duplicate Background layer twice by clicking Ctrl+J twice. You can rename the top layer by “High Frequency” and the layer below rename “Low Frequency”.

Step 2

Step – 3

Click on low frequency layer by activating/clicking on low frequency layer and deactivate high frequency layer go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Set the frequency of Gaussian blur according to the size of the image and as per your requirement. Gaussian blur is needed to smooth blemishes, wrinkles hair etc

Step 3

Step – 4

Now, it is time to work on High Frequency Layer. Click on high frequency layer to activate the layer. Go to Image>Apply Image. In the dialog box you will get by clicking on apply,,

select Low Frequency in the Layer drop-down menu. Select ‘Subtract’ in the Blending drop-down menu. Click on OK to complete this step.

Step 4


Step – 5

Keep the High Frequency Layer selected and go to the Blending Mode and select Linear Light. Set the frequency of Linear light as per your requirement. By doing that, you just separated the details from the color. You can now edit everything without touching the other thing. This would help your skin to get a natural look.

Step 5


Step – 6

Now, it is time for Smoothing Blemishes in the High Frequency Layer. You need to zoom in the areas in 100% magnification to edit the areas more effectively. Again, you need to select High Frequency Layer and set the sample. Select clone stamp tool to activate it. Work with clone stamp tool around the blemishes and dark circles of the skin. Remove those unwanted spots, blemishes, blackheads and make the rough skin smooth by clone stamp tool. This technique is required a lot of skill to do, but it only takes a little practice and you should have it down in no time.

Step 6

Select the “High Frequency” layer. It’s very important to set the “Sample:” field in the Tools’ Option Bar at the top of the open window to “Current”. Remove unwanted sharp detail like blackheads and rough skin texture, or use this layer to seamlessly clone detail back into burned out areas, using the Clone Stamp Tool set to 100% Opacity and Flow.

Step – 7 ( Retouching Skin In Photoshop)

When it comes on skin retouching, we cannot forget mentioning two tools which are Dodge and Burn tool. Dodge an Burn tool work tremendously on lighten or darken a particular area of a skin image. You have to do this on Low Frequency Layer. Now, Activate Low Frequency layer and select dodge or burn tool. Brush over the areas like wrinkles and blotches will you get your desired skin.

retouching skin in photoshop

So, that is the way of these kinds of skin retouching using Frequency Separation Technique. We can clearly see the difference between two skin images where we applied this technique. The time needed for each image depends on the condition of your subject’s skin. Nearly anyone could benefit to some degree from this method. Hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. Keep your eye on our blog to get more beneficial tutorials.

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