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Lesson 14 from: From Capture Through Edit Using Lightroom

Jared Platt

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Lesson Info

14. Retouching

In this lesson you will learn how to use the healing brush and the local adjustment brush to beautifully retouch a portrait without ever going to Photoshop.
Next Lesson: Synchronization

Lesson Info


If you happen to photograph portrait, you will probably at some point want to remove a blemish or some fly away hairs or smooth some skin. But keep in mind that all of the lessons that I'm going to teach you right now also apply to a Coke can on a on grass or a spot in a sky, or maybe a bird that you don't want, because retouching is the process of getting rid of distractions on your photograph. And so we're going to go into a portrait session that I did recently here. Andi, I love this shot. I just wanna work on some issues with her skin so you can see there's a couple inconsistencies in the skin there. There's a couple of fly away hairs that need to be taken care of. Up here is well, so we're going to do that right now. And the way we're going to do that is we're gonna go over to the right hand side, and we have all of our brushes and our Grady INTs and are circular Grady INTs. But we also have this little tool right here, which is super helpful. It's called the healing brush So we'r...

e gonna click on the healing brush and you'll notice in the healing brush of two options. Clone or hell. We want to stay and he'll. Cloning is sometimes useful, but most of the time that's just really a copy paste kind of situation. So it's it's not very helpful. Most of the time he'll is a much more intelligent tool, so usually you'll be in hell and will change the size of the brush by using the bracket keys. So if you open and close bracket, that will change the size of your brush. If you use the shift key and hold down shift and open and close bracket, it changes the feathering. So on the fly you kind of change the size of your brush. And then the pass ity of the brush is controlled by this slider, and usually you're gonna either keep it at 100%. Or in some cases you're gonna be you know what, 30% or something like that, but most of the time at 100% and I'll show you a reason to go on a lower opacity here in a minute. There's also an option called visualized spots and that's really useful when you're dealing with clouds skies where you're you have dust spots on your sensor and so you want to find those really quickly and I'll show you that in a minute. So the first thing we're gonna dio where Let's zoom out of here so that you can see. And now I'm going to start working on her skin. So I'm just gonna change the size of my brush to be roughly the same size as her blemishes. And I'm going to zoom in nice and close so that I can see where those blemishes are. And I'm just going to start clicking on him. And wherever I click, it's gonna choose another piece of skin, similar or nearby, and it's gonna paste it over the top. But you'll notice that when I float away from the photo, you can't tell where that was, because what's happening is it's collecting data from over here, and it's merging it with data here. So it's trying to take the the textures from this part of the skin, and it's it's taking the texture from this part of the skin, and then it's copying and pasting it over here. But then it's adjusting that the brightness and the contrast and the color to match this part of skin. So it's a very intelligent tool, and we're just going to go through and get rid of these blemishes just by clicking on them like this. We're just looking for those areas of her skin that are pretty problematic because there's another tool that will help us to take care of less problematic areas. Now notice here there's a little area where the skin is kind of red, and so I want to get rid of that. But I'm gonna click on it and drag, so I'm going to drag and create a shape that's the same shape is that area. So it's copping an entire amoebic shape over there instead of just a dot. So keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to just keep it as a dot. So let's. And if I hold the space key down, I could drag the image around the little hand appears, and then when I let go, I'm back to my healing brush tool in this area. Here has a little bit of a darkness to it, and I don't like that darkness. So I'm going to do the same thing here. I'm just going to create a brush that's as Bigas that area like this, and I'm gonna let it choose an area. That's probably the wrong area. So I'm gonna move it down here, just grab it and move it. And then here's an instance where we want to not have 100%. We want to go over to the opacity and bring it down to maybe 50%. And that allows this thio kind of take this texture and over over play this texture, but but not completely so it becomes a little bit more subtle. The same thing is true. If you have see how we have a little darker area right there next to her, I sometimes you get like, bags under the eye or something like that. But in this case, we just have a little bit of a dark area right here. And so we want to get rid of that. The way we do it is we just go in and paint that area of darkness and once we've got the area painted, do the same thing, it's gonna select an area noticed that it selected the wrong area. It's got hair coming in there, so it's selected an area down there in the hair. For some reason, I don't know why, but that's okay, because we can just simply click on the question mark or the backslash key and it chooses a different place. Chose the wrong place again. Click it again and again. It's gonna keep choosing the wrong place. But if it gets close to us, we could just grab it and drag it anywhere to get the right place. And this time, instead of a 50% opacity, we're going to really take it down to like, I don't know, 30% or something like that. And that gives us a really good, soft kind of Instead of having a really, uh, dark shadow, we just have kind of a light shadow. We don't want to completely remove that shadow, because then it wouldn't look like a face. It would look like a doll. Eso we're just We're just kind of cutting that shadow down a little bit now. Once we've done that and we go back into editing our blemishes. If I click on a blemish you'll notice that the opacity is still a 28% here, so I need to bring it all the way to 100% to get rid of that blemish completely. So don't forget to put your opacity back up to the right amount, and I'm gonna just keep going through here and getting rid of some of these blemishes. And then once I'm done with the blemishes Now, I want to go in and get rid of these, uh, you know, stray hairs. So I need to take my brush size down, and I'm just going to draw lines in order to get rid of these hairs and notice. I don't necessarily need to do one at a time. I did quite a few there at that time. I need to get rid of this one here, and I don't need to do it all at once. So I'm just doing a piece of it, and then I'm going to do another piece of it here, and then I'm going to do another piece of it right here. And usually it chooses the right place. So it z fairly accurate and fairly good at choosing the right place But if it doesn't, you could always grab it and drag it. Remember, you can always grab it and drag it, so I'm just quickly selecting these hairs that I want to get rid of. And there's one that flies all the way across their cheeks. I'm going to get rid of that one as well. Where we go and the last set right up here that needs to be taken care of is this little area here. I could take care of most of this all at once, so oops, it chose the wrong place. So I'm gonna go in and grab a different spot, and then I'm gonna finish getting this hair right here as well as this area here. And by the way, while you're doing this, sometimes you'll notice that your fan on your computer kicks on when you're doing something like this, because this is a very labor intensive process. So if you find that your computer has toe work super, super hard, In order to do this, you might find that if you have a, um, or souped up computer, it will have to deal with that much less so, um, I don't have a mega super computer. And so my fans sometimes kicks on, and you can kind of hear that fan a little bit. But that's just because this is a really intense process. So there are a couple things that light room uses in order to process, and the more of these things you have, the faster light room can work and the less of a slowdown you'll have on your computer. So here, here's a little list. More ram is always better, So light room loves Dav Ram. Light room loves a fast processor speed, so the gigahertz rating on your processor is very useful. You don't necessarily need a whole bunch of cores, which means multiple cores. You'll you'll know like you'll see computers with 10 core eight core 16 core. The cores aren't as important as the speed of the processor itself and then also a GPU, which is the graphics processor unit. So a good GPU, a good CPU and lots of ram those air things that light room really, really likes, as well as a fast internal hard drive. So if you could get all of those in your computer, you'll have a lot more pleasant time working inside of light room, and you might not have as much, you know, overloading the computer and spinning the fan and stuff like that. So just just keep that in mind. So the next thing that we're gonna do is we're gonna run over here and just take a look at all of these fly away hairs. So I'm gonna go in and kind of widen the brush up a little bit, and I'm gonna try and get as much of these fly away hairs as I can at one time, So I don't have to be super accurate about this. I just need to go in and find a good amount of fly away hairs. That looks pretty good. If I float over it, you can see that I've done a decent job. Um, here, I'm going to stop short of these curves so that it can kind of select this portion, and then I'll do this portion here because it's it's gonna be more accurate if it could do it in sections. So especially when I get close to whatever this window thing is back here, I'm going to try and be as segmented as possible. so see that that's the wrong one. And if I get if I get something that just did it wrong, I can always hit the delete key and it removes it. And it also makes a little explosion sound, which is fun. Eso I'm just going toe try and do that one a little bit less a little bit more accurately, rather because I don't want to copy weird lines. So when you get around windows and things like that, you have to be a little bit more careful. Now, this one here seem to have done the wrong things. I'm gonna hit the lead on that as well. And I'm just going to come in and get a little bit more accurate here like that. Oh, it's because it's collecting it from over here and there's actually hairs over there. So I'm gonna collect from over there. I need to do the same thing here, but you'll notice that I don't have to go into Photoshop to do this. So just because you have some extra retouching whips, see, I grab that moved it. So I'm gonna hit the commands iki toe Undo that and then I'll just start a little bit further over, and I just there, got that. And now I'm gonna go across this little channel, and then I'm gonna go across this board back here, so I'm doing things in segments, and that makes it a little bit easier for light room to get the right results. Okay, that all looks really good. I'm not worried about those. Fly A wears a ways, so let's zoom out so you can see all of our pins. Those pins represent the adjustments or the edits that we've made to either the fly away hairs or blemishes or inconsistencies and skin. So now that all of that is done, we're gonna go back to the brush. So the brush is where we're going to do all of our, uh, kind of large scale smoothing of the skin. Maybe brighten it up a little bit. So what we're gonna do is if if any of your settings are already set, you can right click right at the top or anywhere on this panel, and you can reset all the sliders, so we just reset him. And now what we want to do is we want to brighten her skin up just a little bit. And we want to go down here too. The texture. And we wanna bring texture way down because we're gonna smooth her skin really nicely. And another thing that we do with smoothing skin in order to smooth skin is to come over here to the sharpness and pull sharpness down a little bit and add noise reduction. Those two things help to smooth skin. Azaz. Well, so now that we have that, I'm gonna actually just start painting, I'm gonna increase the size of my brush and I'm just gonna paint and I'm going to turn on the overlay so you can see where I'm painting. And I'm just painting around trying to be accurate enough where I'm kind of. But I'm I'm obviously spilling onto his shirt onto her hair, were spilling over onto her eyes. But I'm just getting the basics down. I'm gonna do the same thing here with her hand and her fingers, and over here do the same thing. There we go. Okay, So I've got a pretty good basic selection, and now I'm gonna go back. I'm gonna zoom in here, and I'm going to go to the erase tool so every brush has in a race, so I can click on the erase tool. And because I'm in the race tool, I can come in and start erasing out these areas. And by the way, this brush if you don't see all the settings on the brush itself So here's the erase There's the brush. But I can pop this down just by clicking on that triangle, And now I can do auto mask and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna have the flow of 100%. I'm gonna have the feather down toe like maybe 80% density at 100%. And I'm gonna use auto mask. And the reason I want to use auto mask is because when I'm here and I'm painting out this area that I don't want to get, I want it to find the edge between her hair and her skin. And I want I want it to follow that edge. So you see how it's not getting her ear. It's just getting her hair by doing that. I saved myself a lot of times, so I'm just going to kind of come in here and it's gonna look for those edges, and it's seeing that edge between her skin and that dark shadow. And it's on Lee selecting the dark shadow. So it's very useful in, uh, unmasking an area that you just mask. So see how now her sweaters not selected, it's just your skin. And now what I want to do is I want to go in a little bit further, and I want to change the size of the brush down small enough that I'm just getting here on her eyebrows because those don't need to be softened. And I'm going to go into her eyes and I'm gonna get rid of the softening on her eyes and notice how it's selecting her eyelashes ous. Well, it's doing a good job, but missing like her nose and stuff like that. And then I'm gonna turn the auto mask off, and by the way, you can use the A key to turn on and off the auto mask, and I'm going to go in without a Nauta mask, and I'm just going to kind of remove most of the masking on her lips. So now the softness is on her skin. It's not on her eyes. It's not on her hair, It's not on her lips. So we're going to zoom out. Hands are pretty good. I don't think I need toe worry about that much. So I've got that all set. I'm gonna turn off the overlays so that you don't see it. And now you can see that That's way too bright. Um, so I'm gonna just find the right amount of brightness, Just a little bit of brightness. We're gonna keep the texture of zoom in a little bit so we can see how much smoothness we want. So this is no smooth, and this is nice and smooth. The other thing that we can do is pull the contrast out, and usually when you pull the contrast out, you kind of remove some of the deeper shadows, and it helps the consistency of the skin. So removing the contrast is a good ideas. Well, we're going to play around with all of these until we like exactly what we're getting. I guess I don't really need to brighten her up at all. So I just removed the exposure by double clicking it and that put the exposure back to zero and I think I like what I've got there. That looks really nice. So we're all set. This is exactly what I wanted to see. I've got all of my fly aware hairs taken care of, got blemishes taken care of. And I smoothed her skin so that she looks really nice. And I did all of that inside of light room. I didn't have to go to Photoshop to do it, So there's a lot of power inside of light room. Now, in order to show you the visualized spot tool, which is in the healing brush, I need to take you to a photograph that has a really blank sky with almost no information, no clouds, no texture in it. Because you don't see dust spots on your your sensor in a tree or in the grass or anything that has a lot of texture. Even in cloudy skies. You generally don't see it because the texture kind of eats up all of those, um, dust spots. But if you have dust spots and you have either a really evenly painted wall with no texture or a sky with no texture, then you start to see those dust spots now the visualized spot tool is so that you can see those without having to zoom in. Because right now, if I wanted to see where those spots were, I would actually have to zoom in really far. And then I would have to just kind of drag my mouse around the sky looking for spots. And this is a really mind numbing process, and it actually kind of could drive you mad. So no one really wants to do this looking for those spots. Because in the instance that you find one. Yea, I found there's a spot right there. I found one. Yea. And so I can remove it. That's not a good way, uh, toe work. So instead, what we're gonna dio let's zoom back out toe full so that we can see the whole sky Gotta go out one more. All right, So I see the whole sky and I'm in the healing brush and instead of just dragging around looking for it, I'm going to click on the visualized spot tool. So that visualized spot tool, it turns this into a graphic. And now you start to see where the high contrast areas are. And of course, it's like a sketch of the surroundings, and you can see that there's some little dots and stuff out there, and those dots happen to be like little houses. But you can see how those spots are starting to show up. But I'm not seeing any of the spots in the sky and the reason we're not seeing it because we haven't turned up the threshold. So I'm gonna I'm gonna amp this up and you're going to start to see Now we're starting to see the clouds and then, oh, there are the spots. So now I can see there's a spot here. Spot their spot. They're spot there and I don't even have toe worry about going in at 100%. I just simply see those spots from a distance and click on them, and they're going to be gone. So just clicking on spots and they're gone. It's a beautiful thing to be able to click on these spots and get rid of them now. Some of them might actually be clouds or something, but usually when they're up on their own, just I think we've gotten rid of all of them But usually when they're a little piece of fleck on their own in the sky, you could tell that they are a spot, and then once I turn this off, then all the spots are gone. But I never had to go in and zoom in and drag around and look for it. So that visualized spot tool is a very useful part of the healing brush. It's mostly useful to get rid of dust spots from sky and from you know, walls and things like that that have no texture in them. You can use them on other. You can use it on other things as well, like you could even use it to find blemishes. But blemishes usually show themselves off pretty easily when you're looking at people, so the healing brush could be used in a lot of different ways. It could be used to remove buildings. It could be reused, used thio, remove spots in your sky, blemishes, fly away hairs and even to soften shadows under people's eyes.

Class Materials

1. Lightroom Presets and Profiles

JP Color Pro

2. RAW Images To Follow Along With


3. Lightroom Creative Cloud Schematic

Lightroom Creative Cloud

Ratings and Reviews

Teresa Piccioni

Great great great class: Jarett explains the Lightroom workflow clearly and thoroughly. I am not a native English person and my English is quite poor but Jarett explains in a very simply and clearly way everything and I understand all chapters perfectly. Thanks guys, great job. I highly recommend this lesson to everybody,


I have watched each and everyone of Jared's classes on Creative Live and they are first class. I've waited a long time for a new one and now we have it and it's another gem. This is a wonderful overview of Lightroom and will repay watching sections (or all of it) several times to absorb the wealth of information presented. For anyone new to Lightroom, this is just what the doctor ordered.


Really in depth, so helpful! Thanks

Student Work