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Retouching Blemishes

Lesson 3 from: How to Retouch Portraits Using Lightroom CC

Kristina Sherk

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Lesson Info

3. Retouching Blemishes

Lesson Info

Retouching Blemishes

Let's talk about the first thing I always do when retouching an image whether, no matter what program I am in, and that's going to be doing some blemish removal or spots. So we have our Spot Removal Tool and that is this doohickey up here, this guy. Q is going to be the key to activate Q is going to be the tool on your keyboard that's gonna activate that tool. And you can see that you do have the clone option and the heal option and then you have three sliders, you've got size, you got feather which is going to affect how soft the edge of the brush is, and then you have opacity. And you have both of that, you have that for heal and you have that for clone. So, we'll come on in and we'll start getting rid of blemishes here. So, some of them are blemishes but some of them are freckles so we're gonna leave a couple. I don't want to get rid of this guy because that is quite noticeable. I don't want to get rid of this guy cause that's also a freckle. There's a scar I'll get rid of that as l...

ong as it's not extreme and then anything that lies below 50% of, 50% of visibility I'm going to clean those things up too. That's kind of where I sit for you know, if it's not a blemish when do you get rid of it and when do you not get rid of it. I get that question a lot. And so for me, if something lies under 50% visibility, meaning it's kind of there, but it's not it's not an integral part of her face, or his face I'm gonna get rid of it, like that. So we'll use our heal option, I'm gonna use my bracket keys to make the brush a little bit smaller and let's add just a little bit of feather and let's go ahead and get rid of some of these smaller, less visible spots. So if for any reason, let's say Lightroom kinda said "Oh, here's your fix for that spot." You could say, no Lightroom, sorry you didn't get that right. It will rarely do that, but sometimes it does. So the nice thing is that you can manually place the fix area of where you want it to. The other thing you can do is hit the forward slash key and it's gonna give you different guesses. So you can just keep hitting the forward slash key until you see something that you like. If you're like, oh it's so hard to see the different blemishes that I'm working on with all of this, you know with all of these overlays hitting the H key is gonna hide all of those overlays for you so that you can actually pay attention to what you're working on. Actually, I want to leave that one. All right, so I'm gonna show all of my dots so that I call them access pins, because in order to access a blemish removal all you have to do is click on it and that's going to bring it back up Now there is a little bit of a shadow right here above the lip and what I'd like to kind of show is that if I, if I let's say I want to diminish it but I didn't want to get rid of it completely what I could do is I could go over it with the spot removal tool, but then what's nice is that each one of these points has the ability to have it's own custom opacity. And so the way you do that is by coming over here, you know we have this pin activated, right? We're going to come over here and we're gonna pull down the opacity to about half way, so that we diminish the look of that shadow but we're not completely removing it, because if you completely remove it you're starting to change the shape of the face. So that's really nice and and what's really nice is that every single one of these blemish removals can have it's own custom visibility so especially if you're working underneath the eyes, let's say you wanted to do like a large under the eye area, let's not choose there, I always end up choosing the forehead for some reason. So, I don't want it to be at 100% opacity cause I think that that's definitely kind of strong so I can always come in here and change the opacity so it's just slightly fixed, but it's not completely overdone. So, we just zoom out, so we were able to get rid of quite a few blemishes pretty easy just with that one specific tool. Okay, so really quickly I would like to talk to you guys a little bit about the difference between heal and clone. So, it's very similar to Photoshop, but we have two options here. We have the clone option and the heal option. And so, so when you are cloning when you are cloning something well, when you are healing something you are taking the texture from where you're sampling and your placing the texture only to your new location but it's going to try and incorporate the color surrounding it, in the actual new location. Okay? When you are using the clone setting, let's do the exact same thing right underneath it and let's sample the same area You can see that it took the texture and the color from where I sampled and placed it in the new location. Okay, so that's the difference between the two tools. So you can see how this one may work better for getting you for getting you like better blemish removal in this specific situation. Let me hit my H key again so we can bring up those, and delete those we can move forward. All right, and what we are going to be spending most of our time on today is this doohickey over here, which is like the extra long paintbrush and depending on how you're feeling on a certain day you can decide whether you want a long handle or a short handle for your paintbrush. I don't know why it does that, but that's just something silly. But it is our adjustment brush. That's gonna be where we are spending the bulk of our time today. Because this is a really, really exciting tool. It's very powerful, but I just want to talk about the difference between a local adjustment and a global adjustment. So if I were to increase the exposure to you know, one full stop, now you can see oh that was 1.3 so let's pull that down. You can see that I've done that globally across the entire image, it's affecting every single pixel in my image. But, if I wanted to only increase the exposure in one specific area but let's bring this to one stop as well. That's the local adjustment. You can see that there's been an adjustment made but it's only to the point, to the place where I brush it in. So that's gonna be the difference between local and global for your adjustment tool. You also have two options down here for your brushes. You have a, so when it comes to the different brush sizes that I use, I usually have one large brush with quite a big feather, and kind of a medium flow. That's usually where my starting point is for Brush A. And then if I click to Brush B, it's usually a very small brush with you know, a low feather and then flow all the way up. And then you also have the option to do an eraser brush. So, say you added too much to one area you can always erase you know, from that local adjustment as well. So, those are some of my favorite, so that's the local adjustment brush, but I also wanted to put this up in case you guys are big on keyboard shortcuts, because these are all the keyboard shortcuts that I really use on a regular basis. Okay, so Q is for the spot removal tool, K is for the adjustment brush, the Forward Slash key is going to switch between Brush A and B. Option or ALT is gonna hit, is gonna activate your eraser tool. H is gonna hide the Pin Points O, oh I didn't show O. That's gonna show or hide your brush overlay. Shift O is going to change the color of that brush overlay. Here's something, I get, sometimes I'll get the question of, I've tried using the local adjustment but it just turs everything red, I don't know why it turns everything red. So what that is, is it's actually the Mask Overlay showing you where the brush is painting but it is, it's just basically an overlay showing you where that effect is being applied and it's not actually redness being applied to your image. So, if that happens, if for some reason every time you use the Brush Tool, it's red just hit your O key and that's gonna turn that off for you. If you wanted easily and quickly change your brush size go ahead and use your Bracket Keys and then if you want to very easily change your brush feather Shift plus the Bracket Keys is going to do that for you. And then, just the same as in Photoshop, any of the number keys are going to immediately coincide with your Brush Flow here, this slider here. So if you hit two it's gonna take, oh I hit three, I was like, oh so two takes you to thirty? That doesn't make much sense. So, if I hit three it's gonna take me to thirty. If I hit seven, it's gonna take me to 70% flow. So, very good. I like using my keyboard as much as possible because I think it's very helpful. They do have like mats that you can put over your that you can put over your keyboard to show you what all of the shortcuts are.

Ratings and Reviews


Great class, good, clear, easy-to-follow instructions. This is going to have a big impact on my workflow and save me a LOT of time - thank you!


As fast as Lightroom is growing and improving, it's a hard to keep up with everything it is capable of. Kristina did a great job of showing how to speed up workflow by retouching in ways that I though you could only do well in Photoshop. This class is super informative and well worth it!

Robin Spencer

Excellent! This program was short and sweet but packed with lots of very useful tips and tricks. I have been using Lightroom for years and still learned so much. All of her time saving tips especially "Sync" were really appreciated. Highly recommend.

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