5 Steps To Evening Out Your Skin Tone With Photoshop

by anna on November 23, 2009

in making things pretty

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Today I’m going to post the third part of my photo retouching series, which is a quick tutorial on how to even out your skin tone and further smooth your skin. Remember last week, when I first showed you how to use Photoshop to make your eyes appear bigger in photographs? And then I showed you how to clear up your skin with Photoshop? Well, now we’re going to use Photoshop to smooth out the skin even more, and even out the skin tone as well. Because we want our pictures to look as perfect as possible, even if this makes people gasp when they see what we look like in real life, right? Right! That’s the mommyblogger spirit!

Above is the photograph after last week’s edits. The skin looks way better, but it’s still kind of blotchy and porous. And why should we have to look at that? Let’s smooth it out.

  1. Open the image in Photoshop and make sure it is flattened into one layer (Layer –> Flatten Image) from the last time we were editing it.
  2. Duplicate the layer (Layer –> Duplicate Layer)
  3. Choose Surface Blur to even out the skin tone (Filter –> Blur –> Surface Blur).

    You might be wondering why we chose surface blur here instead of Gaussian Blur. Well, Gaussian Blur works to smooth things out, too, but the problem is that it will blur the whole photograph, and it’s really better if we can keep the edges intact some how. This is where Surface Blur comes in: to get the same effect using Gaussian Blur, we would have to use a layer mask in order to keep the edges intact.

  4. Mess around with Radius and Threshold numbers.

    This is where it’s kind of hard to give an all-encompassing rule, because the settings to use in the surface blur dialog will vary slightly based on the size and composition of each photograph, but for a similar. I’m going to try out putting in 15px for the Radius and 10 levels for the Threshold.

    This smooths the skin out, but it looks a little fake. What to do?

  5. Lower opacity to make it look real.

    If we drop the opacity of the duplicated layer down from 100% to about 50%, we get a better effect:

Done! Check out the header pic to compare before and after. Next time, we’re going to mess around with how the hair looks!

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