Skip to main content

Techniques to Hide Skin Blemishes

Lesson 1 from: Advanced Content Aware and Clone Techniques in Photoshop

Aaron Nace

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

1. Techniques to Hide Skin Blemishes

Lesson Info

Techniques to Hide Skin Blemishes

We're gonna be going over, like, basically three main principles. We're gonna start off with blemish removal. I'm gonna show you some awesome techniques you can use. And we've got an image here with quite a bit of blemishes. So we're gonna show you using the healing brush tool, we're gonna show you using the clone stamp tool, when to use each one of those tools, starting off with our blemish removal. Then we're gonna move into image restoration, where we're gonna be, like, basically removing cracks and scratches, things like that from an old photo, and then we're gonna show you some amazing techniques for removing things from the background. We're going, like, all out. Like, I'm, the stuff we're gonna remove from backgrounds is, like, it's crazy. I'm really excited to show you. We've got a beach with, like, 500 people on it we're gonna totally clean up in, like, two seconds. It's gonna be awesome. Yeah, it's gonna be awesome. For those of you guys following at home, all of our images a...

re provided by Adobe Stock, and they've done a really good job getting us ready for this class so I didn't have to go find someone with skin blemishes. I just headed to and found it on there. All right, you guys ready to get started? All right, this is gonna be so cool. So we are doing advanced cloning in this class, and that really comes down to a number of different techniques. So we're not just gonna be using, like, the clone stamp and the healing brush with this. We're gonna be using quite a bit of other techniques that maybe you wouldn't think of when you're doing, like, blemish removal or object removal from the background and things like that. And that starts with this image here. Let's just... There we go, bring our layers right over there. I'm just resetting my workspace real quick here. That starts with this image here, where what we're gonna do to start with this is, instead of just, like, jumping in, we wanna basically, we got a lot to get rid of here. We wanna get rid of all this redness, all these little, like, scars and things like that, and it's a ton. Now, rather than just, like, starting off by jumping in with the healing brush tool or the clone stamp tool, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna target the color of the blemishes, and I'm gonna first work on changing that color, and the I'm gonna be using, like, the healing brush tool to work on the actual texture of these blemishes. So we're gonna show you some really cool tools to do that. To start off with, we're gonna start targeting the color. I'm gonna grab an adjustment layer and I'm gonna go down to a hue/saturation adjustment layer. And this is one of my favorite techniques for skin blemishes in Photoshop. Let's go ahead and bring that down there so you guys can see it. All right, cool. And we'll close that out. All right, so the first thing I wanna do is I actually wanna target some of our skin blemishes, and this I can do by color. Now, most of her skin is, like, a nice tan color. These blemishes are all that, like, red color. So using a hue/saturation, I'm gonna be able to target just that color, and then I'm gonna change that color to make it look like it's actually the color of her skin. It's gonna be really cool. So to do this, basically with a hue/saturation adjustment layer, by default you're gonna edit the master. Basically this would edit all the colors in the image. Now, to start off, I actually wanna target just the reds. So this is how we're gonna start. We're gonna target the reds, and now I have access to this slider down here, which is a really powerful slider. Now, to start with, I don't even, I really can't see exactly what I'm going to be affecting. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna bring my saturation way up here, okay? Just like that. And I'm also gonna bring my hue up, as well. Now, this just is gonna give me an idea of, like, where I'm actually affecting in my image. And right now you can see that I'm affecting pretty much all of the reds, right? It's affecting all of her skin. So what we're gonna do now, we're gonna go ahead and stretch out our panel, and we're gonna jump into this slider down here, which is, a lotta people don't know about it. It's just a super powerful slider. And what this does, it allows me to focus in on specific reds or greens or yellows, so instead of affecting all of the reds, which is her whole skin tone, I can focus in just on the reds in the blemishes and change just those. So here's what we're gonna do. Right now this is a range that we're affecting. The top you'll see red, and this is what it's basically turning into right now. So we've got red kinda turning into yellow. And you can see that's what's going on in our image. Now here we can adjust this. This is, these lines, the gray lines on the left and the right, this is kinda working like feathering. So I can actually bring these areas in, and it's gonna start affecting less of my image. Now, I can click here in the center of this image and I can drag this to the left or the right, and you're able to see what's actually getting affected in my image. So as I bring it over here, you can see now this is starting to affect everything but the blemishes, but if we bring it over here to the left, we can see this is now targeting our blemish areas and not necessarily targeting our skin. All right, can you guys see that? Isn't that cool? So by basically moving our sliders around, I'm able to affect just those blemish areas. All right, so let's focus in right around there. Now, what we've done up until this point is just about targeting, right? That's why we brought our saturation up and things like that, so we know what's actually gonna get affected in this image. So now that we have our slider in the right place, we know the actual range we wanna affect, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna change my saturation and my hue to be more like our skin tone. So we're gonna take the red from the blemishes and we're gonna push it to be more like skin tone. All right, so let's go ahead and bring this down to zero, both of these back down to zero. It's still affecting the same areas, but we haven't done any adjustments to it yet. All right, so the first thing we're gonna do is adjust our hue. So we're gonna go from red, I'm gonna push this from the left to the right, and were gonna start bringing our hue, instead of that red color, we're gonna bring it more towards our skin color. We're also gonna bring up our lightness, which is going to allow those spots to get a little bit lighter, and here we go. Let's go even lighter with those spots. And then to bring up, match our lightness, we're gonna bring up our saturation just a little bit, as well. All right, and now my job is basically take those individual spots and make sure that instead of red, we have something that's a lot closer to our skin tone. All right, so let's just go ahead and make this invisible real quick. Let me bring our properties window down here so we can kinda see what we did just now. Okay, so turning this off and on, we basically targeted all of the red in the image and we turned it into regular skin tone. So we first showed you how to target that red and then we just changed the red to the skin tone. Now, on my layer mask, it affected her lips, as well, so I'm just gonna paint black on the layer mask to make sure her lips stay the right color. But there we go. With one layer, basically we stripped all of the color from all the blemishes on her face and we push it towards a natural color. So that's a huge step, guys. That takes care of most of our job for us. Now the healing brush tool or the clone stamp tool, it doesn't have to try to fight to, like, get the right color in there. All we need to do from here is to worry about our texture. So it's, like, it's a huge, huge step that makes this so much simpler. All right. And if we need to add some, like, red back into her cheeks later, we can always do that. Well, let's start here with the chest. So we're basically, from here, we're gonna be using our healing brush tool. So we're gonna make a new layer. We're gonna use our healing brush tool. Now, I prefer the regular healing brush tool for this sorta thing because it's gonna allow me to actually sample the spot that I want. And here's what I recommend. I use a soft brush. And we'll just bring our hardness all the way down to zero. And you want the size to be about the same size as whatever you're going to actually wind up removing. So we're gonna sample a nice area of skin. Hold Alt or Option to sample the area you want and then just start painting over your little blemishes and things like that. And you can see these things, like, what I'm getting rid of, like, these were actually pretty big blemishes, and a lot of 'em are completely removed just by changing the color. So you can see this makes my job a lot easier when I'm using the healing brush tool, and even if I miss some of these spots, they don't look that bad anymore. They just look like, oh, okay, it's a slightly different texture from the rest of her skin. All right, and as I do this, I'm just holding Alt or Option, sampling the good areas of skin, and then painting over any areas that I want to be, that I want to look the same. So it's a really quick technique. There we go. And I'm using the regular healing brush here rather then the spot healing brush because I wanna choose where I'm actually sampling. It's important to be able to do that a lotta the time, because the spot healing brush tool is really great, but a lotta the time it'll just kinda choose a random skin texture for you, and what you wind up is a little bit of a mismatch. You'll wind up painting a skin texture that doesn't actually match the skin texture you're trying to paint over. So I recommend for most applications using just the regular healing brush tool over the spot healing brush tool. All right. Cool. So this'll take another minute or so. But really, really easy. Just sampling and painting right over those blemishes. So you can see there is, like, on a large scale, let's just show you the before and the after with the chest, which is pretty amazing that that took, like, a couple of minutes to do. And you can see even these stuff, like, these things on her shoulder and whatnot, I actually didn't even get to her shoulder, but it totally doesn't look that bad. Like, it looks fine. So, you know, you can definitely go in here and get everything perfect if you want, but even if you don't, you're gonna get decent results. All right, now we're gonna move on to her face. So we're gonna create a new layer here and we're gonna move on to her face. Now, this is gonna be a little bit more tricky because we do have such a change in skin texture on someone's face. You know, they have, like, a pretty, usually pretty well-defined skin texture on, like, the cheeks and the chin and things like that. This area of the face, you can see there isn't a whole lotta skin texture that actually exists there, so what we're gonna do is we're actually gonna sample some of the areas around, like, her neck and things like that when we paint on her face. So I'm gonna hold Alt or Option, we're gonna sample these areas that don't have a whole lotta texture natively, and we're gonna work on the face. Now with this, I'm also trying to paint over, like, as large of an area as I possibly can in one go, and what that's gonna do is it's basically gonna transfer skin texture from one area to another, and it's gonna make sure that most of that skin texture is going to be similar for me because I'm sampling it from the same area. All right. There we go. And if I need to go in and refine the skin texture at any point in time, like, at a later time using skin texture from other places, it'd be the, it's the exact same technique, guys. Just using the healing brush tool, hold Alt or Option to sample the texture you want, and then paint over the texture that you don't want. All right. Very cool. Now, I'm also doing, like, a relatively fast example here. You know, if you wanted this to be absolutely perfect, all you would have to do is spend a little bit more time. You know, zoom in and make sure you're doing, you're getting every little... Oop, see, I covered a pore there. If you do cover something, just hit E for the eraser tool and just erase it away. It takes two seconds and you can get rid of, like, if you go too far with the healing brush tool, it's really quick to just erase that away. All right. And you can see, I mean, I'm just sampling right down here on her neck and painting over. Cool. All right. Almost done here getting rid of the majority of things, and then we're gonna show you guys how to blend in different areas, like when we have the transition, for instance, between... There we go. The transition between, like, her cheeks, this part of her cheek and this part of her cheek, where we wanna just have that skin texture look like it transitions a little bit more naturally. All right, so we'll show you how to do that. Now, before we do it, let's go ahead and take a look at our before and after, 'cause it's crazy what we've done so far in really very little time. So again, there's the before and there's the after. So notice I didn't even get every single area with the healing brush tool on the second go around. The hue slash saturation did a lotta that work for me. Okay, well, let's go in here. We're gonna show you guys the fade command, which is really cool. So the fade command is really good when you need to transition skin from, like, this skin texture to this skin texture. Right now that doesn't look incredibly realistic. It's, like, too much of a transition. So we're gonna create a new layer. I'm gonna use the healing brush tool as, we're gonna use it again. We're gonna sample this area, and now I'm gonna paint it over here kinda in that area. There we go. To kinda, like, bring it in there. But now instead of just continuing along my work flow, we're gonna use the fade command. And you can go to Edit and then right down here to Fade, and it'll fade the last thing that you did in Photoshop. So if you used the brush tool, it'll say, like, fade brush tool. If you used the clone stamp tool, it'll say fade clone stamp. The keyboard shortcut is Shift + Command + F. Now, this is really cool, because basically it just fades the last thing you did. So instead of, like, taking the whole layer and bringing the opacity down on the layer, it'll fade, like, just the brush, just the healing brush tool that you did, that you used. So I can bring this fade down and then we can get a blend between this skin texture and that skin texture that's a lot more realistic. All right, let's do that again. So we're gonna sample there, we're gonna paint over there and say yeah, we want some of that skin texture to be in here. So that looks good, but I wanna fade it away a little bit. Shift + Command + F. We're gonna fade that down. And now we have a nice, even blend. So can you guys see how it starts to, like, blend from one skin texture to another one a lot more, like, realistically? And this is such an amazing tool, because anytime you have, like, you'll do an effect sometimes using a healing brush tool or a, like, a patch tool, and fading that away is, like, the thing that will make a difference and make something a lot more believable. All right, so Shift + Command + F. We're gonna fade that right away. And there we go. So let's just zoom in here so you guys can see. This was basically the texture that we pulled from her neck, and this is the existing texture that was there from her face, and here are the two kinda blended together using that fade command, which is really, really cool. All right. Very cool. So that's basically, we could go in and spend another 20 or 30 minutes doing, like, basically this over and over again on the whole thing, but that's basically the idea of skin correction. First target the color using a hue/saturation adjustment layer like this, and then the rest of your job is taking care of the texture, and if you need to blend between areas, use the fade command to do that. Do we have any questions from you guys in the audience? Do we have... Well, these guys can think about it. I definitely have, so... Let's get through 'em. Aaron, can you reiterate, when you were painting on the mask, when you made the color adjustment in hue/sat, and you had the mask... Yup. And you were painting to clean up the lips, was that black that you were painting with? That's right. Tell us a little bit about that mask, if you don't mind. Yeah, for sure. So a layer mask will basically hide or show any part of a layer. So in this case, if you have a white layer mask on a layer, everything is going to be completely visible on that layer. Same with this hue/saturation layer, okay? If it's white, everything is gonna be visible there. If I hit Command + I on this layer mask, it's gonna make everything invisible, okay? So let's say I wanted everything to be visible. I'm gonna hit Command + I so that's gonna be all white. But now we can see her lips are affected by this color. Her lips are actually supposed to be that color. The rest of her skin's what we wanna target. So her lips are affected by this color, so we wanna paint black on the layer mask just over the top of her lips, and that's just going to hide this hue/saturation adjustment layer over top of her lips, revealing her original lip color and making the image look a lot more, well, just like a normal human should have red lips. (laughs) Making it look more like a human. Nice. Thank you. And can you talk about the difference, this is from Photo DJ, what the difference is between using the fade tool and lowering the layer opacity and what, how, why you prefer one over the other. Good question. So layer opacity is going to affect everything you do on a layer, right? Like, if I do something with the healing brush tool, let's just give you an example here. If I create a new layer, and let's say I do something over here and I do something over there and I do something over there, and I like all this stuff, I want this stuff to be 100% opacity, but then I'm sampling over here and this is where I wanna do the blending of the skin textures, if I lower the opacity, it lowers it for the entire layer. Like, all of the other points that I corrected that I actually want to be 100% opaque, the opacity of those is getting lowered, as well. So instead of lowering the opacity of the entire layer, I can just lower the opacity of... There we go. I can just lower the opacity of the last command. There we go. Shift + Command + F on there. And you can see it's not lowering the, it's not fading the entire layer. It's just fading the last thing I did. Even if I were to grab, like, a brush stroke. I mean, if I were to hit, you know, grab my brush tool and paint with green on this layer, I could hit Shift + Command + F and then I could fade that green away. What's cool is you can also retroactively add blending modes. Like, I could change that to an overlayed blend mode if there was something else on the layer, let's say, all right, let's do that, and then let's... There we go. I'll paint with blue on this layer, too. Shift + Command + F. I can change the layer, I can change the blend mode of just that brush stroke to an overlay. Check that out. After I paint it, which is insane, and I can fade it away after I paint it. But even though it's not on the, even though it's on the same layer as the green, it's not being affected at all. The green doesn't get affected. It only fades the last thing that you did. Great. Cool. That was a good question. Cool. Do you guys have any questions? Good to go. Right on. Okay, so that wraps up our skin blemishes. Some really cool advanced features there. Yeah, we got one question in. Could you treat a sunburn in the same way? Good question. The sunburn, actually, yeah, totally. You would target the color of the sunburn and then change the color of the sunburn to be, like, more natural skin. In that case you actually wouldn't have to use a healing brush tool or a clone stamp tool 'cause you wouldn't have a lotta texture difference between it. It'd mostly be a color thing. So let's say she did have a... We're gonna make a fake sunburn here. All right. We'll go to hue slash saturation. Here we go. All right. So let's say she had a sunburn on her, I don't know. Does that look like a sun... (Aaron and audience laugh) Not really. Not really. But you could target that color and basically adjust your saturation and your lightness and your hue to target that color and then change it back to the hue of a normal, what would normally be a skin tone. It's just a, it's a balance between... There we go. You can see. It's a balance between hue, saturation, and lightness. So just find your right hue, which is always gonna be, like, orange. Like, people's skin is orange. People who have darker skin, you just bring their lightness down. People who have lighter skin, bring your lightness up. And then your saturation, you can just, like, you can usually just kinda, like, look at it. You know, it's like, oh, that looks kinda black and white. That's way too much color. You know, right about there is starting to look pretty natural.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Clone Brush

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Very helpful and useful tips. I am not of the belief that Aaron isn't the best speaker. I find that he is down to earth and doesn't come across as arrogant despite the fact he is truly a master at photoshop techniques. I follow his youtube posts and always learn a new tip or technique. In fact I purchased this class based on Aaron Nace being the presenter. This is the first Creative live I've ever purchased. I've watched several of the the free ones but never felt the need to purchase them. I am extremely happy with my purchase and can't wait to try out some of the new tricks I've learned. Thanks

Mel Bazarian

Great course - easy to follow and I appreciated the brevity. I particularly liked Aaron's style of explaining things in layman' terms and was surprised at how simple using the pen tool seems to be. I will also try to embrace the brush tool, which had always looked too "fake" to me. Now that I know how to add texture, I might have to give it another chance. Off to practice some of these techniques.

Kellie Seldon

Aaron is a master of photography and I was so honored to be able to see him work his magic in person. His methods and techniques are easy enough for any photographer whether they be beginners or more advanced. Aaron Nace is really one of the best Photoshop teachers out there!

Student Work