Learn How To Clean Up Skin Tones and Complexions in Photoshop
Photoshop Tips – Remove Blemishes
Ok, removing blemishes is a quick and easy one but can be sometimes very effective, especially with wedding portraits.
The first thing that I must point out, is that if you are doing paid work for a client, it is important to check before making any radical alterations.
When asking about blemishes, please be quite tactful, this is a sensitive area! “Do you want me to lose your zits and wrinkles”? just won’t cut it. Normally, a bride or woman (or men) will jokingly say something like “Get rid of my lines would you?”
If this happens, jump in and say something tactful about how good he/she looks anyway, but if you would like some “digital make up” done, it won’t be a problem. Get the approval to remove blemishes from his or her person and then make subtle and well made alterations.
Do not remove permanent scars, moles or other disfigurements unless specifically asked to do so. You may end up with an irate client left feeling paranoid about themselves, not good for business.
What you should be concentrating on is removing small blemishes, spots, sunburn or anything that will be gone in a short time anyway. Maybe the person had a late night before the wedding and has dark areas under the eyes or cuts and/or razor burn from shaving. Whatever you are removing, just be tactful and good at what you do. If you do it well you should just get comments about how nice you have made them look without any embarrassing situations.
Ok, open the image that you wish to work on. I guess it is only fair that I should use a member of my family for this tutorial (in this case, my son) as I don’t want to offend any clients by highlighting their spots etc. on the web for all to see!
Now admittedly, in this image (see fig.1), the blemishes are few but there are minor things such as scratches, bits of dust from playing and a little “drool” around the mouth (nice!). I do have some of him with chickenpox but that may take a little longer to illustrate…
Photoshop Tips – Remove Blemishes Fig.1
We are going to use the healing brush to remove blemishes as it pulls information from the surrounding area we are altering and blends it to make the transition smooth and unnoticeable.
To make things more effective, we need the right kind of brush. Too hard and it will show. As in fig.2, I normally use a hardness and spacing of 10%, the diameter will change as you work so there is not a set size for this. You can experiment with these settings, these are just what I find most effective.
Photoshop Tips – Remove Blemishes Fig.2
To really remove blemishes well, you must zoom right in on the area that you wish to “clean” (fig.3) and work with a small brush, this will result in changes that even his lovely mother wouldn’t notice!
Photoshop Tips – Remove Blemishes Fig.3
First place the brush over an area of skin that is similar to that which you wish to change. Make sure it is a largish area with no blemishes, lines or other effects as these will be transferred, blended and noticeable in the result. If the area has small pores this is great and will make the effect even more natural.
When you have placed the brush over a suitable area, press the ALT key and left click on the mouse, this selects that area as a benchmark and will use it for all healing until you do that process again. Now you can start to play. Place the brush over the scar, scratch or blemish and start to “paint” over it whilst keeping the left mouse button pressed.
All the time you are “healing” you will see a marker cross which indicates where you are pulling the healing information from (fig.4). You will notice that it moves as you move the mouse. Be careful not to let it run over an area that is different to your selected patch, otherwise it will show in the result.
Photoshop Tips – Remove Blemishes Fig.4
When you release the left mouse button, you should see that the blemish has gone…magic (See fig.5)! Have a play at this point and see where errors can be made. Don’t go too mad with the alterations, it is easy to get carried away when you first discover this tool. Make it look natural.
Photoshop Tips – Remove Blemishes Fig.5
While you are zoomed in close, press the space bar and move the mouse around the image to remove all other blemishes, remembering to select a new area close to that which you wish to change each time. Your end result should be a nice, clean image with unnoticeable results as in fig.6. A portrait to be proud of.
Photoshop Tips – Removing Blemishes Fig.6