How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

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How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

Photoshop is an extremely useful tool for improving portraits by touching up skin. In this post we’ll look at how you can easily remove blemishes and smooth skin in Photoshop with the help of our Retouching Photoshop Actions. This set includes actions for working with skin, eyes, teeth, and lips, but for this post we will be looking specifically at the actions for skin touch ups. Below you’ll find a video that will demonstrate the same steps covered in the text of this article.

Here is a look at the before version of a sample photo that we will use for this tutorial.

How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

Our process will basically fall into two steps. The first step is to remove the most significant blemishes, and the second step is to smooth the skin.

To get started, first install the Retouching Photoshop Actions if you have not already done so. Next, click on the first action in the set “Blemish Remover.” The action will duplicate the background layer and you will be working on the duplicated layer, so if anything gets messed up or if you don’t like the results you can simply delete the layer copy and you’ll be left with your original photo untouched.

How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

After running the action you should see a circle wherever you move your mouse on the photo. You can use the bracket keys to make the circle smaller or larger, and you’ll want to place that circle around a blemish that you want to remove. When the circle is around a blemish click the mouse and Photoshop will remove it. Repeat this process with each blemish that you want to remove and Photoshop will zap that most noticeable blemished from the photo. If you get a result that you don’t like simply undo it with the keyboard shortcut Control + Z (PC) or Command + Z (Mac).

After removing the blemishes the sample photo looks like this.

How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

That’s a major difference in just a minute or less, using just a handful of quick clicks.

At this point you may have the results that you want. If so, you’re done. If you’d like to smooth the skin you can continue with another action. The retouching actions include 4 different strengths of skin softening (gentle soften, soften and lighten, stronger softening, and porcelain skin). For this tutorial I will be working with the “gentle soften” action. Click to play the action.

To soften the skin all you need to do is brush over the areas that you want to soften. Make sure white is selected as your foreground color and choose a soft-edged brush, and size it according to your needs. Then just brush over the skin that you want to soften. After brushing over the face in this photo it looks like this.

How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

And that’s all there is to smoothing skin in Photoshop with the help of our Retouching Photoshop Actions.

Here is a side-by-side look at the before and after.

How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

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Published Thursday, February 6th, 2014 Pin It

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About the Author: Ian Pullen

Ian Pullen

Ian Pullen is an enthusiast photographer and web developer by trade, based in rural Spain. I'm interested by all aspects of photography and am constantly trying to improve my technique and try out new ideas.