Due to my recent web activities I found that I needed a …gasp…picture..of ..myself. The one I had been using was over 8 years old and very poor quality. So, intrepid amateur photographer that I am I plopped myself down in front of my Studio Gray background ( Annie Liebovitz eat your heart out) and snapped a picture (several really but I don’t want to talk about THAT). When I went to view this picture on my computer monitor I have to admit I was a little shocked. It might not look so bad here because of the smallness, but imagine it on a large monitor, yeesh.You see due to my bad eyes and being middle aged I normally look like this.
I don’t think I had ever seen myself in such horrifying detail ever before. So, I was faced with the unhappy decision between going to the spa and having my pores forcefully closed and my wrinkles scrubbed off OR learn some more Photoshop skills ( Photoshop Elements 6 actually). I opted for Photoshop. I’m just not a spa kind of girl. Luckily, Photoshop has some really great tools that can soften up your skin tone without making you look to freaky. Here’s my speed skin spa treatment.
The first step is to make a copy of your picture. To do this in PSE 6 press Ctrl-J.
With this copy layer selected go to the Filter menu along the top and select Blur then Gaussian Blur from the menu. When prompted for the radius value, start with 6. You might need to play around with this depending on the resolution of your image.
Now, you want to create a blank layer underneath the layer you just added the blur filter to. To do this Ctrl-click the New Layer button in the layers menu. You will then want to group these two layers together. To do this press ALT while you hover the mouse between the blurred layer and the blank layer in the layers palette. When you see two interlocking circles click to group these two layers. At first this will look like the original image. Our goal is to reveal the blurred layer only in the places where we want it without messing with the high detail areas.
To allow the blurred areas to show through you will need to paint on the blank layer with black. Don’t worry this isn’t as scarry as you think. When you paint in black on a blank layer PSE allows the blurry layer on top to show through but masks the detail areas. Let’s start. First, set your foreground color to black by pressing D. Select the brush tool and select a medium sized soft edged brush from the options bar. Now, making sure your blank layer is selected paint away on the areas of skin you want softened. As you do this you will see a nice blurriness as you paint. This takes some patience and you might need to zoom in and out a little and change your brush size to get the whole job done. Here’s my picture in progress. It still looks a little fake but we can fix that in the next step.
Once you have all the wrinkles and blotches adequately blurred you can vary the opacity on this painted layer to get the right amount of skin softening. I dialed mine down to @ 50%.
Now with a little digital dental work (a topic for another post) here something a little more Hi-Def friendly.