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Portrait Retouching Basics

Lesson 7 of 7

Liquify Tool & Unsharp Mask


Portrait Retouching Basics

Lesson 7 of 7

Liquify Tool & Unsharp Mask


Lesson Info

Liquify Tool & Unsharp Mask

When it comes to liquifying, I leave that to the end just because you can't undo liquify if you've done all this work, so it's kind of a problem. I don't liquify too much. I liquify things like if there's a weird bulge or something, I'll push that in. But aside from that I don't liquify too much. The way that I liquify is really simple, I'm gonna show you. Now, let's say for example I wanna liquify this. I can't right now because it's just a folder that I've selected. I have to make a solid layer on top of everything. Okay. And the shortcut is using basically all of your modifier on your keyboard, which is shift, option and command and then hitting the letter E. So again, it's shift, option, command and E. Okay. Sounds like rocket science, it's not. It's just like all of your modifiers and then E. Then I'll have a new layer on top. Now go to filter, liquify. And once that's done, you get into liquefy command and the tool that I use the most is gonna be this first one over here. This fi...

rst forward warp tool. And my pressure's usually five. My density is 50. Pressure is like flow. Density is kind of like softness, if you will. And size is subjective to what area you're working on. And the reason I do this is, is because normally pressure's at but with five it's easy to nudge things a little bit easier. So, if you want to increase the volume of the hair, you can easily nudge things out a little bit easier or you wanna nudge, you know, angles of the arm because it's closer to the lens, it's easier to do that. But if it's at 100, which is normally at it can really become difficult to liquefy. Okay. So, I'll hit okay. And like I said there's not a tone of things that I liquify. It's just based on if you want to or not, etcetera. When it comes to things like sharpening I typically will make a duplicate of this and say command J or layer, duplicate layer. And then I'll go into filter, sharpen, unsharp mask. And the reason I do that is very simply I can get a very visual idea in terms of how much I'm sharpening. I usually like to keep it at .5 radius, pixel radius and I start with about and kind of work my way from there. If I check and uncheck preview you can kind of get an idea of what's happening. Also, when you click on the image itself, this preview image, what happens is you can turn the on and off and see the final impact. So, I'll keep it at about 50 or so and then mask in just specific areas. Like I won't do the skin again if it's not necessary. I'll do like the eyes, the lips, etcetera. Okay. And then aside form that usually when it comes to web standard I'll resize it after I've saved as a separate copy. And I'll usually do like 2048 pixels for Facebook on the long end 'cause that's what usually Facebook likes, 2048 pixels. But do that as a separate copy 'cause you don't wanna save over your PSD. Haven't done that before. (laughing) Not fun. So aside from that, that's kind of what my workflow is. I have my liquify. I have my sharpening. And then I'll mask that to specific areas as needed but usually it's just makeup, eyes and things that need to be sharpened if necessary.

Class Description


  • Edit portraits with confidence
  • Create an editing workflow that works for you
  • Correct skin like a professional photo editor
  • Work with Photoshop layers
  • Confidently use healing and cloning brushes
  • Expertly dodge and burn


Find the thought of portrait retouching daunting? Professional photo editor Pratik Naik teaches photographers how to make the process simple -- and enjoyable -- in this 90-minute quick start class.

Rather than focusing on image-specific edits, learn the editing tool essentials that you can use on any portrait. Develop the best photo editing workflow for your photography and finish those edits faster. Gain the confidence to work with the healing and clone brush editing tools. Discover how to dodge and burn non-destructively.

Whether you are working with RAW files or JPGs, learn how to create a high-end portrait edit that flatters without airbrushing that plastic look. Edit photos with confidence, on a Mac or PC, inside Adobe Photoshop.


  • Beginner and Professional photographers working with portraits
  • Novice to intermediate photo editors
  • Photoshop beginners
  • Self-taught editors ready to create better retouches

SOFTWARE USED: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017


With more than a decade of experience, Pratik Naik is a high-end professional photo editor. Working primarily in the commercial and editorial sectors, his image retouching work has appeared in magazines like Marie Claire, Elle, Zink, and others. With a straightforward, fun teaching style, Pratik is also a mentor and instructor for photographers and photo editors.


  1. Class Introduction

    In this brief lesson, meet your instructor and learn what to expect over the course of this 90-minute class covering the start-to-finish editing process.

  2. Tools of the Trade

    Learn what you need for working in photo retouching -- and why working on a cheap monitor isn't such a good idea. The right photo editing tools will make sure you're seeing the images the way potential clients will see them, whether that's in your online photo editing portfolio or in print.

  3. Setting up a Game Plan

    Don't just jump into the edit the moment the photo editing software opens. Start with a game plan and start seeing the final image in your mind and noting how you'll get there. Pratik suggests starting by recognizing the areas to fix and marking those spots with a different color. He suggests making a plan for the healing brush before moving to the clone brush (and another layer) and the dodging and burning process, quickly marking each area.

  4. Healing and Clone Brush

    With a game plan in place, start working with the healing brush to fix the most noticeable skin imperfections for portrait retouching. Learn what settings to use on your brush as well as the necessary setting to heal from a new layer. Then, follow along with the healing brush process, including skin touch up and removing stray hair. Learn keyboard shortcuts for adjusting the brush and other time-saving options. Then, work with the clone brush for beauty retouching.

  5. Dodging and Burning

    The traditional doge and burn process lightens and darkens specific areas of the image, either to correct skin tone or create smoother highlight-shadow transitions. Learn Pratik's professional photo editing workflow for the dodge and burn process using a curve adjustment layer. But, don't forget to save your editing work. Pratik suggests PSD or TIFF, the latter which can handle larger files.

  6. Blend Modes and Adjustment Layers

    In this lesson, learn color correction techniques as well as editing essentials on using blend modes and adjustment layers. Follow along as Pratik uses brushwork and a layer in the color blend mode to correct contaminated colors and remove color casts.

  7. Liquify Tool & Unsharp Mask

    The liquify tool is easy to overdo. Learn how to tastefully use the liquify tool in beauty retouching to add body to the hair or correct lens perspective distortion. Finally, sharpen that retouched image using the unsharp mask and save the image (along with JPGs for the web).


Paloma Aviles

He is fantastic, the best online teacher you can have. You learn a lot from him, he made easy photoshop. I recommend his course 100%.

Anastasia Roschina-Kulakova

Retouching is my favourite part of the art process, and here I found really nice and helpful tips for an easier workflow! Thank you!


Best Educator amazing instruction