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How to Give Healthy And Smooth Look to Skin With Photoshop

Make Healthy Smooth Skin With Photoshop

In this post, you will learn how to give healthy, smooth, soft look to a face in a photo. First, any skin blemishes should be removed. My previous How to Clear Skin Blemishes post covers that subject. After that, we will create a healthy smooth skin with Photoshop. Lastly, we will adjust color imbalances and lighten the face. Last part can be learned from my How to Whiten Teeth post. I encourage you to read those posts first. We will use those in this post, but here I only mention the steps.

Step 1: Clear Skin Blemishes

First, duplicate the background layer by right clicking and selecting to duplicate or shortly dragging it on new layer icon at bottom right of the screen.

On the new layer, select the Spot Healing Brush and select Content-Aware and Sample All Layer options from Options bar at top of the screen. Then, clear any skin blemishes.

Step 2: Duplicate The Healed Layer and Apply High Pass Filter

Duplicate the layer with cleared skin like told above. Then, apply high pass filter by going in Filter and Other options in the option bar at the top of the screen. High Pass Filter is used to define edges where sudden changes occur at light or color. In our case, edges are around eyes, hair and mouth.


High Pass Filter will filter out everything except edges.  We will use it by inverting it. Thus, the skin itself will not be affected.  Filter needs a Radius value as input. It means how many neighbor pixels will be chosen with the edge pixels. Therefore, if the face has high resolution make radius 24 or bigger, make it smaller than 24 otherwise. In our example, I picked 18. After high pass filter image will be like this:

Step 3: Apply Gaussian Blur Filter

Go to Filter and Blur options in the option bar at the top of the screen. Apply Gaussian Blur. Pick a value that is one third of the value you used for High Pass filter. In this case it is 6.

This blur will help reduce impurities of the skin and soften it. It is because every pixel will be mixed with Radius amounts of neighbor pixels. Since good parts of the skin cover more space they will overwhelm the unwanted parts in a mix. After this filter:


Step 4: Invert The Layer, Change Its Blend Mode To Linear Light

We said that High Pass Filter defines edges and filters out other parts. This sharpens the image. Since we want to soften ours you need to Invert the last layer created. You can do it by going in Image, Adjustments and Invert in the option bar at the top of the screen. Ctrl+I (Win) / Command+I (Mac) can be used as shortcut.

Then change the blend mode of the layer to Linear Light. This will soften the skin by changing contrast. Go to the layer panel bottom right of the screen and change blend mode from Normal to Linear Light. Clicking Here you can learn more about Linear Light and other blend modes.

After step 4 our image is:

Step 5: Change Blending Options

Linear Light makes the image softer but not soft enough. For that you need to change Blending Options of the last layer. You can right click on the layer or use the options icon at the top right of the layer panel.

In the Blending Options panel there is a part named Blend If. This part controls how the current layer blends with the layer below it. You need to balance brightness with sliders. However, you need to use half of the sliders. To do that hold Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key  and click on the left part of the white slider. Slide it to left until white balance seems natural. Then, take right part of the black slider and drag it to left until black balance seems natural (you can decide looking at eyes).

This part can be confusing since it is hard to explain why we did Blend If changes. You find more information about it here. After blending changes our image:

Step 6: Add A Layer Mask, Brush The Face And Adjust The Layer Opacity

We want our smoothing effect only on face. Thus, you need to create mask that only includes the face. First, add a layer mask on the last layer. Click Add vector mask icon while holding on the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key  at the bottom of the layer panel. This will add a black mask, if you do not hold Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) you will create a white mask.

Black mask will hide the last layers effect. Thus, you need to brush the face with white. Select the layer mask by clicking on it and select the brush tool from Tools bar placed left of the screen. Use this options when brushing the edges (around lips,eyes,hair):

You can change the hardness and firmness of the brush when painting the inner parts of the face. Try not to miss any black spots there. After that click on the mask layer holding Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) it will look like this:

Then you need to lower the layer opacity. We want image to look natural, so you need to lower the last layer opacity from up right option at layer panel. Usually 40%-70% is okay.

Step 7: Whiten And Lighten The Face

After step 6 our image looks like this:

The red color from blemishes softened but still ruining the healthy look. Thus, we need to whiten face. First, select the lasso tool and select around the face, add Hue/Saturation layer, change the color option from Master to Reds and decrease the saturation, switch back to Master and increase the Lightness, lastly paint the edges with brush and exclude eyes and lips.

Difference Result:

This is how you can change eye color of photos using Photoshop. You can learn this and much more from a professional photo editing course called Learn Photo Editing with more details. To see my learn photo editing review go to the main page . Thank you for reading!