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Finish Skin in Photoshop

Lesson 38 from: Powerful Portraits using Mirrorless Cameras

Miguel Quiles

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Lesson Info

38. Finish Skin in Photoshop


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is a Mirrorless Camera?


Mirrorless Camera Advantages


Mirrorless Compatibility


Live Shoot: Mirrorless vs. DSLR


Live Shoot: A7R II, A6300 & A7ii


Compare Mirrorless & DSLR Images


Posing Techniques Overview


Lesson Info

Finish Skin in Photoshop

Again, so I'm gonna go to this mole area and I'm gonna go ahead and get rid of these moles because unless someone has not told me, I don't think that she's, like, famous for this. If she is, I'm sorry, I'll bring it back. So here we go, current and below. And we're set to Healing Brush tool. And we sample, and we brush and nothing is happening, why? Because the opacity is at zero. Perfect example, make sure you check that. So there you go, perfect. It happens to us all the time, even when you're working as a pro you'll try something and you're like, "It's not working, what's happening? "Why is my life so hard? "Why can't everything be easy?" Alright, so zoom back out and just see the mole before and after, looks good. Let's go back to the skin and any questions in the meantime? I'm gonna wrap this little skin piece up here very briefly. Let's see... No questions about this in particular, but maybe after you're done with this, if you could just touch on, I know it's a huge topic, but ...

what you do for color calibration so that you're working across your devices in a way that is effective. Yes, absolutely. Cool, so when it comes to doing the color calibration, you can get a tool like a Spyder, I think Datacolor. The Spyder and ColorChecker Passports. There's a lot of different color correction tools that you can use. So it's really just a matter of your own preference. You just need to make sure that you're getting those colors to look the way that they're supposed to look and you really need to use those types of tools. I got kinda lucky, I have an Eizo monitor at my studio that basically color calibrates itself. Every time you turn it on it has like a color calibration tool built in so it kinda comes down on the screen, color calibrates, scooches away and I know everything is good. That's when you kinda like grow up in life, you can get really cool tools like that and it makes your job super easy but in the meantime you can get something like one of those Spyder devices. And you could color calibrate your monitors that way. I actually haven't color calibrated this particular monitor so what I've done is I export the image and then I look at it on several devices and I check to see if the colors look the way that I want them to look. It's a little longer of a process 'cause I have to export it and then look at it on my phone and my tablet and basically all the ways that somebody would look at it if they were viewing it in the world, but it works for me. So almost done here with the skin. And you guys can see it's very easy but it's kind of a time consuming process. So we'll do a quick before and after. So let's see, got to figure out my Mac buttons here 'cause I usually use PC. So let's do this. We will command G this and we we'll go before and after and I'll zoom in so you guys can see this. Before and after. And so you could tell that there's not a lot that's been done but a lot has been done, you know? It's not like a drastic change and each layer when I turn these things off, there shouldn't be like, I turn off one layer and the whole image looks completely different. Everything is like a micro-adjustment the entire time. There is one thing that's kind of throwing me off here. And so I'll go back to skin cleanup. We'll pick this and we'll clean that area up there. It's probably just like a freckle or something which is cool but it's drawing my eye away from her eyes. And I know that's not what she wants. She wants you to look at her eyes. There we go. So now that kind of takes away some of that distraction. I'm gonna go to the stray hair cleanup and for stray hairs, the method that I've found that works the best is to use the Clone Stamp tool. So if you click on Clone Stamp, basically you have three different modes that you'll use in order to clean up stray hairs. Which one you need is going to depend from one image to the other so I'll show you the three. You can use Normal mode, you can use Darken, or you can use Lighten and that's it. I'll show you, we'll see which one we could use here. So let's say this hair back here, again and I'm sampling all layers. If you sample the current layer, you're sampling a blank layer which is doing nothing. So you don't wanna do that. So I'm gonna try this on Normal mode. I'm gonna sample this area here. And I'm gonna go ahead and brush over this hair. And it does a pretty decent job, actually, of clearing out some of these stray hairs. And you have to be careful, like there you see where I did the little clone thing so we'll go back there. We'll actually step back twice 'cause we went too far on that. So certain areas, if it does that, you can go to your tool and go to Lighten for example. And do that same little brush pattern and you may end up getting it to where it blends a little bit better by changing it from Lighten to Darken to Normal, so on and so forth. So if you try one and you start to see what it is, basically switch up the tool and try it one more time and see if it still keeps doing that same thing. So we'll go ahead and just brush through this here really quickly 'cause it looks like, oh right there it's not, let's go back to, let's try Darken. So like that. And we're gonna clean up all these extra baby hairs back here that may take away from the attention of the image. And again, I'm doing this the same way I was retouching the skin, I hold down Option, I click on the area near what I'm trying to get rid of, and I basically just brush over it. Very, very simple, just takes a little bit of time. So let me back out of this here and we'll do a before and after. And again, because this is kind of like a class tutorial thing here, and I know that I have other things that I wanna cover, I could sit here and basically work on this very meticulously or I could move onto the next thing. I wanna get it to look semi-decent. But just know that if I was doing this for real, for realsies, I would spend a little bit more time to get it to look exactly the way that I wanted it to look. Alright, let's back out. So we cleaned it up quite a bit. We'll go to these little stray hairs here, same thing. And there you can see, you start to see that weird swipe there, so Darken doesn't work, go back to Normal. Normal is doing the same thing. Go to Lighten, so you literally have to try these different sets of tools because different areas are going to give you issues. Like there, you have that problem where it's still basically showing you that. So if you go to your Spot Healing brush, alright. So there you don't have to sample anything. Basically, we'll just brush over the area and we'll see if Photoshop does a better job with its own math and algorithms and all that good stuff. And we'll see if it does a better job of basically cleaning up the hair without having to select anything. So sometimes you have to use a variety of different tools in order to be able to kind of like clean up the image the way you want it to look. Some tools work all the time, some don't. So let me back out of it, and I see this little area here right away but let's go before and after. Alright, so we're going to continue and I'm actually gonna get a bigger brush here. I'm gonna copy, oh so I can't copy that. So we'll go back to Healing Brush, make this brush a little bit bigger. And I'm gonna copy the edge of this border here. And I'm gonna go ahead and brush up. And so it looks like, let's see, before and after. Yeah, it's making it a little bit darker. So basically, these are areas where you want to continue to keep working on it. You wanna keep sampling and trying to get it to be perfect. For the sake of time, 'cause this is something like, cleaning up hairs is another process that takes forever. But those are the tools that you're gonna use, is basically to use your Clone Stamp tool and basically go to this area and just select, we'll go back to Normal 'cause normally, Normal works good. So you'll select that area next to it and just kind of brush over it and it goes away. There are some areas that are kind of like trouble areas, where, you know, buckle down and spend some time and you'll get it to look exactly perfect but it's with those tools. With that being said, so we have our image here. I'm actually gonna go ahead and bring back those stray hairs because for me, I don't think they're really distracting too much away from her face and from her expression. The next thing that I'm gonna do here, I'm gonna go ahead and just put clean up layers. I grouped all of these by selecting all of the layers and basically grouping them all together by doing command G or I'm not sure what the PC equivalent is 'cause I'm not in front of a PC. But it's command G to basically group all the layers together so that when I hit this eyedropper it basically turns off the mole layer, the skin layer, the stray hair clean up. Everything is all in this one folder. I'm gonna create a brand new layer here. Or a brand new group and within this group I'm going to create two Curves layer. This is the Dodge and Burn technique, which is something that you use to brighten or darken parts of an image. So the way you do it is you create two Curves layers by clicking on this little Curves icon. You'll take the top one and name it Dodge. Take the bottom one, call it Burn. You definitely want to do this because later on when you come back to it you won't know which is which 'cause they look the same. So once you do this, you have your Dodge layer, again nothing happens if you turn it off and on. The magic hasn't happened yet. You go to your Mode here, and instead of it being Normal, you go to Screen and you notice now the whole image is like mega bright, which we don't want. So what you're gonna do here is you're actually gonna hide this Dodge layer. It's under a white mask right now, which means everything is showing. If you invert or rather you fill the mask with black, it will hide that adjustment behind this black mask. We're gonna go to Burn, and I'll tell you how this works in a second, gonna go to Multiply. That will burn the entire image. We don't want that, we're gonna do command I. That's gonna hide that area, that layer, under a black mask. We'll start with dodge first, you're gonna take your Brush tool and you're gonna go to a, let's see, let's play around with a flow of, let's say five. And this also is a number that changes from one image to another. So what we're gonna do is, first thing, like we have our Dodge and Burn layers set up but it's very hard for me to tell what's too bright and what's too dark. So what I'm gonna do is, right above this group I'm actually gonna go ahead and I'm gonna create a black and white layer to turn this image into black and white so that I can just see the contrast of the image. Because the skin is in the reds and yellows, I'm gonna dip the red, gonna boost up the yellow. 'Cause I wanna see the areas that are dark compared to the areas that are light. And I'm gonna take this layer and kind of put it up here. And I'll call this Help, because after I'm done with this I'm going to get rid of it. So let's start with the dodging first. So if the mask is black, you wanna paint with the opposite color which is white. If you paint anywhere on this image with white, it's gonna reveal that bright image that's below it. So here's how this works. You'll look at an area like this and let's say you see this area here is darker, like it looks like a horseshoe, right? So what you end up doing is you make the brush a little smaller and if you brush over this area, which you play with your settings, this might be a little too strong but here's the before and the after. So you can see its' very strong. That's like, too bright. So what we do is we're gonna go back, we're gonna step backwards here. And we're gonna fix that particular tool 'cause it is doing way too much. So we're gonna go to, instead of a 5% flow, we'll go to a 2% flow. And that way we'll go ahead and it'll be a little bit softer. So again, you may not be able to really see this but this is how I work on my images very quickly. So I'll go before and after, you see how it's just like super subtle that it got rid of that, like, you know, dark area? So that's what the Dodge tool does, is it basically takes certain areas that are darker and it makes them a little bit lighter. So this is how you further work on inconsistencies, especially when it comes to the contrast. You'll have areas where the skin is darker because of aging, sunspots, like all this area right here. You always wanna check these in color too before you get rid of it 'cause sometimes they're just freckles. And you don't want to get rid of those. Other times it's like aging things, sunspots, things like that that you definitely want to get rid of. So this is the other part of the process that kinda takes a little bit of time but you basically will brush over all of these dark areas. And what I'm trying to do is to get the skin to all be kind of like one uniform tonality and contrast. So I'm sure somebody here is looking at this and has a question so if you have one, I'm gonna continue to brush through. Do we have any questions on the web about this specific step right now? Not sure if this is kind of what you've actually been covering, Ace One World had asked, "How do you work with skin with different pigments?" Yes, so the same way that I'm doing it here. So if you have two images or two subjects with different skin pigments, you're gonna have to work on these individually on their own. You have to basically edit to their specific skin tone and pigment which is all being done in Photoshop. So I'll kinda show you that, it's kinda hard to show you on this 'cause she's, you know, it's just one person in the image but the same things that I'm showing you for her individually, you're basically gonna mask it to where it's just on her if there was two people in the image. And you would do their own adjustments on the other person. And that would be masked out. So going through the rest of this here, so all these areas here that are kinda dark, I'm basically just brushing over with this tool. It doesn't seem like much is happening until you do the before and after and you can see that we went from dark to bright. So it kinda evens out the two. And this is probably the thing where I spend a lot of time because I'm kind of just a maniac when it comes to dodging and burning. I'll spend, sometimes on a beauty image, I can spend like two or three hours just doing this. If it's something for like a publication and I wanna make sure that it's perfect, I'll sit there and I'll Dodge and Burn the image until it looks perfect. So going through this particular area here. And so the other areas, and I'll kinda back out of this here really quickly so you can see. Here's the before and the after. So that might be kinda difficult to see unless you're looking at it super close, so let's do that. Let's go here, so we'll go before and after. So we're really just trying to get the skin to be kind of uniformed where you don't see black spots within light colored areas. So some of the things that I do with this Dodge tool is the areas that are already bright, I'll go ahead and I'll brighten those areas even more. So like, anywhere where there's natural highlights you can go ahead and you can intensify those particular areas to define them a little more. The Burn tool, which I'm gonna show you here in a moment, I'm gonna keep getting this here to where it's a little more uniform than what it is. So the Burn tool basically does the opposite. It basically will darken the area. So if I go here, for example, I can darken these areas to basically make it to where it matches the areas around it. So we'll go through here and I'll show you this in the before and after 'cause it probably doesn't look like much is happening and that's good because again, there should not be any step in your retouching process where you're doing something and it's blatantly obvious that you're doing something. So there's before and there's after. And I'm literally gonna go through the entire image and basically go through these dark areas of the shot and try to get it to where it's balanced to the areas next to it. I also turn off the black and white layer every so often and I'll do the before and after so that I can see it in color. Because obviously this is gonna be a color image and I wanna make sure that, you know, I'm not doing something where it looks great in black and white and then I'm like, "Oh no, I don't know what just "happened, it looks horrible in color." So you wanna make sure that you take care of that. So the other thing is, we'll back this thing out. You wanna make sure that you Dodge in certain areas and you Burn in other areas. And usually for women, when you're photographing them, you'll see the natural highlight here on the nose. And I typically will Dodge that, just with like one stroke. I'll go under the eyes to lighten that. And I lighten this area here. I do the same thing under the eye here. Right above the eye here, there's usually a highlight so I brighten that. And this is kind of what adds the dimensionality to the face is basically knowing where you need to highlight and where you need to burn. So I'll do the chin, the nose, all of the areas that have like the natural highlights already, I basically go over them again. The forehead has some areas of inconsistency here. So I'll kind of brighten that. And then I'll make it large and I'll give it a global boost. So let's turn that off, so here's before and after. So you could see after awhile that as I continue to work on this image, specifically with Dodge and Burn, you're gonna get the image to basically look to where it doesn't have any imperfections. Or not imperfections, it's just life, you know? So keep dodging here. And I'm gonna go ahead and use the Burn tool here. And the Burn tool is the opposite. So any of the areas that are dark, sometimes you give 'em a little stroke there. This area of the nose, if you wanna define that area you can kinda give a few passes of the Burn tool there to basically make that curve of the nose a little more obvious. I typically go over their brow area here. Same thing on the inside of the eye. And this area here, if I go black and white, I can see that there's like dark and then there's this like little valley of light color. I have to make a decision of whether or not I want to make the dark area to be as light as the light area or if I want to take these little canals of light and make them as dark as the area next to it. And that's actually what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna burn this area to basically try to get it to match the dark area that is around it. And so again, this is all stuff that I'm showing you guys like non-destructive high-end type retouching that is time consuming, but if you want your images to really stand out from the crowd, this is what you have to do. Like, you have to take the time to be able to work on your shots to basically get them to be perfect, to be clean. So again, same thing, we're gonna try to get this area to match a little tiny bit better. And go there. We'll dodge this particular area here 'cause I see little dark spots. And this is something that if you're thinking to yourself, "Wow, like how do you know what to do, "like where do you work on this? "Like where do you do the Dodge "and where do you do the Burn?" After awhile, you get to the point to where you can spot in the image where the inconsistencies are and that's where the black and white layer helps you 'cause you can see where, in a sea of color, or in a sea of contrast, you can see where the dark areas and the light areas are. And I don't wanna have those little spots of dark and light, I want it to all be very uniform. So after awhile, you can kinda go through this like relatively quickly. And it won't take you as long to be able to do that for a typical image. So I do that. And let's see what we have, so let's do before and after. Woops, before and after. So you see very, very subtle changes to the entire image that we've done so far. I'm gonna go ahead and just dodge this area here, 'cause that's a bright spot that's naturally there.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Miguel's Exposure X2 Alien Skin Presets

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I want to commend you for hosting Miguel Quiles. He is beyond competent and knowledgeable. Light is Light, but It is encouraging to see incredible minority photographers on your platform and to see diversity in the presenters. It is inspirational for minorities to see themselves on the center stage. I sincerely thank you for that. I am buying this course although I am not a mirrorless shooter because of my support of Miguel and the quality of his instruction of which benefits all photographers. He is a great addition to the Creative Live Family of Presenters that I have supported as well. Kudos Creative Live!

Danae Khan Jones

Wow! As a Newb and someone looking to get into portrait/studio photography, this course was perfect and comprehensive. SO MUCH GOOD CONTENT. Miguel is so approachable about questions, positive, and thorough in his explanations. This course broke down the gear and technical side very well. I recommend going to a class live. It was a great experience with food and beautiful facilities. The facility has a positive vibe and really encouraged me to be creative. Thank you for the experience and knowledge!


WOW!!! I LOVED THIS CLASS!!! I learned so much. He made lighting soooo simple, I finally understood. I liked the way he explained the why of his camera settings and how to overcome ambient light. he explained and made everything simple!!! I liked the way he talked about connecting with your clients. I am so happy I purchased this class. I finally understood lighting What a great teacher!! Thank you!!

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