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Create Skin Textures

Lesson 8 from: Advanced Portrait Retouching

Lisa Carney

Create Skin Textures

Lesson 8 from: Advanced Portrait Retouching

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

8. Create Skin Textures

Lesson Info

Create Skin Textures

I'm gonna go ahead and do a texture, and I'm just gonna do it inside this file because I'm a lazy girl and you might as well. When we did that skin texture, we used Filter, Filter Gallery, Sandstone, and we filled it, only we didn't do it on a face, did we? We did it on a 50% gray color. That is one way of doing a texture. I want to show you how to make your own texture just briefly, just a couple. I think it's good to have in your arsenal some different looks, especially because that sandstone looks a little canned for me. So a generic way of making grain and or noise is to make a new layer, call it grain or noise, whatever you like, I call it grain, but it's made by making noise. Okay. You can either fill it with gray first or not, I don't care. I'm going to throw this background away, and I'll do it on blank. I'm gonna fill it with the color 50% gray. You always do it the same way. Whether it's on overlay or not does not matter until you put it in a file to use it, so I'm actually t...

alking about making a library of noise that you're gonna keep. Filter, noise, add noise. This is the most common way of doing it. I use this on every job I have. I have a whole can of them. How much noise? Well, that's a very personal decision. Black or white, personal decision. Y'all have to make your own choice. I'm gonna show you a demo here real quick. I have a theory. It's just my theory and people absolutely, 100% disagree with me. This is not gospel. I do not like black and white grain on faces. I don't think it looks good. I think it turns the skin greenish where the black is, so I like to use color grain when I make noise. I generally make a noise layer, a grain layer, with either three, five, or eight, and I store 'em in a library. I'll show you that in a minute. So I've made a grain layer, grain or noise. Rarely do I not sharpen it. I usually sharp, excuse me, blur it, because it looks a little canned, so I often do a tiny little Gaussian blur, 0.3 let's say, 0.5, and I find that that saturation's a little, a little much, so I almost always do a Command-U to get the Hue/Saturation up, and I do a minus five-zero, minus five-zero. So it's not black and white, but it's not super color. So what I just did, done, did, hmm, grammar, English speaking, I just made noise. That's Gaussian five minus 50% saturation. That's what I've done. It's very exciting. I can now save this file out, or I can take a square selection tool with no feather and define that as a pattern. Label your pattern. You're all very happy right now. I can feel it. I can feel it in your bones. I'm gonna go to the blur sample again. I'm just gonna delete these bottom ones, because we don't need it, and rather than making a new layer that's normal, I'm gonna go to that pattern. It's gonna put whatever the last pattern I made up, otherwise I can go find something, okay? I'm gonna link it just like we linked the texture layer. I'm gonna put it on overlay mode, and sweet Jesus Mary, mother of God, look what we have now done. We have canned noise. You don't have to make it every single time. You're doing a catalog, you're doing a shoot, you figure out exactly what you want, and for this, oh, that scaling looks a little big. It's a pattern. Oh, mama, I don't have to transform. Someone in internet land is very happy right now. I can just feel it. You can also, if you need to, if you're matching this file to big grain, you can scale it up. It's now a pointillism piece, whatever you need. There are times, by the way, in our industry where we actually have to match the grain of the worst file, and it's often golf ball size, because the small unit, and then again you change the opacity, you paint it in, it's all the same. Oops, excuse me. Let me mask it on the right layer. At all times, make sure you know where you are in your file. All right, I'm painting it in. So what I just did is I just made a texture and I stuck it in a library. You know, I have it in my patterns, and if you go to your Preset Manager, and you go to your Patterns. You should go to your retoucher friend's house, get on their computer, and see what they got. Like look what they have. They have all these crazy, I use textures a lot. I do this skin stuff a lot. I have textures that are specific to clients. I have a client, a photographer guy, who does this illustration kind of sample style, and his grain, it's a really weird grain. It's like a rosetta grain with a little almost like a old Tri-X grain in a weird way, and it's got, it looks like a daisy. That's the best way I can say it. The grain looks a little bit like a blurred daisy, so I made a pattern out of that. When I have to paint something or retouch something in, I just use his pattern, and every single file he has has it, so now it's in my library and I don't have to keep recreating that. On that note, let me find my pattern here. Cheap, fast, good, do I have a pattern? Skin texture library. Okay, this is just automated texture that I've done, right? Well, my goodness, you can make texture out of anything. You may have a file where you have skin that is the absolute perfect texture. If I ran a frequency separation on this, I could pull this gray texture out and if I was clever, I'm not quite clever, there are methods of making this a pattern tile. Have you guys seen that on the internet? I'm a total spazz at it, but you can actually look it up on the internet how to make a perfect seamless pattern tile out of a texture. You want to do it on the gray that you've pulled out, and then you could lift that. That's fantastic skin. You have to reproduce body parts. There's some skin. That's a skin file. You can kind of see it's a little blurry here in the lower edges. It's not perfect, definitely a great start. That's a really good skin texture. It's a little, I'm gonna open this up, it's a little light and it's a little pebbly, but oddly enough that works really great. This file, I usually darken it down, but it's a great skin texture. Are y'all picking up what I'm putting down here? You understand? Ah, look at that, fantastic. Come on, some of you got to look at these things sometimes and go, "Ahhh, look at that, it's just amazing." This one's kind of not as pretty however very handy. Now why am I showing you stuff like this? Because how many times have you had a piece of fabric over an arm, and you've had to paint the arm. Maybe not paint, you look for a different photo. Screw it. Just paint it and stick something like this on it. It's not easy, it's a little hard, but, ah, look at that. Come on, it's fantastic. Anyway, I'm hoping this inspires you to figure out a library, make it. That kind of work takes a while. It takes a while to make a library like that, but it's well worth it. Hey, make it, sell it online, you never know. Someone might buy it. All right, now I do want to show you another thing about noise. All right, so I just made a generic noise file, right? You saw that with the grain. I'm gonna make a new one, different noise. I'm gonna do the same thing. I'm gonna fill a layer with 50% gray. It's always the same pattern, and I'm gonna go ahead and add noise, and I'm gonna do five, and this time just for giggles I'm gonna go ahead and leave it Gaussian, but now I'm gonna do something kind of crazy, and this is on the handout. I want to see if I have the same number. Might not matter. I'm gonna go to Filter, Stylize, and I'm gonna go to Emboss, and I'm gonna emboss that noise. Gives it a little bit of a bump, and you know how skin has a little bit of a bump? I think I need to, for demo's sake, do a quick blur. Now I know I'm spending a ton of time on this, but this is actually, do you remember I mentioned earlier about you understanding the foundation so you could rebuild whatever you need to? That's what this is doing. So I'm gonna ago ahead and put a mask on the background, copy blur, and I'm gonna take the opacity down now of the grain layer, but you'll find sometimes that what you need is something just a hair bumpy. This is a little contrasty. Do you see that? You might want to blur it just a little bit, 0.3 perhaps, oh but look, now just for giggles, let me go ahead and put the pattern overlay that I made before, and I'm gonna link that to, I'm gonna make a copy. I just want you to see the difference. So I'm gonna copy the background again, put this on overlay, gonna unlink this box, and I'm gonna slide it over. I know full well that this is a very subtle difference between the two of these. In my career, this is a huge difference. This is the difference between someone saying, "Oh, that looks painted," to "Wow, that's a nice retouching", because it's got texture. All that is, all that different noise is, it's on the sheet, it's in the handout, it's embossed noise. Took me two seconds to make it. I just want you to start thinking. You know what makes great skin texture? An orange. Fantastic. Shoot a picture of an orange. I don't have a slide of it here, but I do have it on the worksheet. Oranges are fantastic. They are your friends. This is just barely touching making textures, just barely kissing it, but hopefully you guys have the idea.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Brunette RAW Practice Image
Blonde RAW Practice Image
Portrait Retouching Workbook
Lisa Carney PSD Practice Image
Layered Hair Color Change Example PSD File

Bonus Materials

Outline Cards

Ratings and Reviews


If you were like me and had no idea on where to start and feared that the editing process would be too destructive and would have to start all over again if the client didn't like your completed work - then this is the class for you. I watch this class often for review and to make sure that I maintain these good habits Lisa suggests to do. If you follow all of her helpful commentary on her how's and why's you will end up in a far better place when that time comes that you have to re-edit your edit. I cannot say enough great things about her work flow and how it not only enhanced my images to the result I was looking for but also decreased my editing time(bonus!!!!). I also on a whim sent her a email through her personal site and she replied with a massive helpful technique for enhancing freckles on a job I was working on. She is amazing! She is a true teacher who is there to show you how to use photoshop for you to find and gain your own editing style. Far too often i find myself in retouching classes that only demonstrate how to make your images look like who is teaching the class... Workflow and Style are very different, you can have the same workflow but your style is determined by your taste. Her workflow is solid and delivers time and time again. This class should be in everyone's dashboard hands down.

Kristine Pye

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and take us through your "delivery" process, I found that extremely helpful. I have purchased two of Lisa's classes immediately after the live stream during Photoshop Week 2017 and was very excited to stream another set of lectures from Seattle. I will be purchasing the last two courses of Lisa's within the next 24 hours as I did just over a month ago. I find her classes to be absolutely brimming over with useful information--everything from the technique, her process, what other professionals in her work are doing, and **why** she chooses the methods she does in retouching. She is relatable and genuine, and her knowledge of the program and how to maximize efficiency while "skipping the actions" really reinforces the educational part of her courses. There are "easy way outs", but she emphasizes that you should understand the ways in which any adjustment effect the entire photo. These courses have helped me to move forward in my education, helping me to realize that with enough practice and good habit formation--such as naming every single layer every time-- that it is not irrational for me to make an effort in building a portfolio and a Master's degree with little-to-no- previous experience with the software. I am very appreciate. I hope to see more from Lisa in the future, but I have plenty to practice with for now! Thanks again, Kristine Pye

Jeff Robinson

Lisa Carney is amazing! She has a depth of knowledge of Photoshop, retouching techniques, and compositing that she shares in a fast, but straightforward, easy to follow, step by step manner. No matter what your level of expertise, you'll find gems, shortcuts, and methods in her teaching that you can practice and put to use to make your work stronger, faster, and cleaner. And with the bonus materials she graciously provides, including workbooks with her detailed steps, practice files of the images she uses in class, and before and after comparisons, you'll be on your way to improving your skills immediately. She's an accomplished retoucher and gifted teacher. If you have the opportunity to take one of her classes, take advantage of it!

Student Work