Retouching Portraits With Adobe Photoshop + Lightroom | David Miller | Skillshare

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Retouching Portraits With Adobe Photoshop + Lightroom

teacher avatar David Miller, Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Lightroom 1 Preliminary Steps

    • 3. Lightroom 2 Adjustment Brush

    • 4. Lightroom 3 Spotting Part 1

    • 5. Lightroom 4 Spotting Part 2

    • 6. Photoshop 1 Tools + Settings

    • 7. Photoshop 2 Using Curves to Spot Flaws

    • 8. Photoshop 3 Evening Out The Color

    • 9. Photoshop 4 Hair

    • 10. Eye Enhancing

    • 11. Wrap Up

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About This Class

In any portrait photography, it's a give that there will be some facial retouching to make your subjects look their best.  We cover the basics of both Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom for retouching skin, enhancing eyes, color correction and more!  

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  


I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud all... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi there. My name is David Miller. I'm a Phoenix, Arizona, multimedia artist, and this week we're going to cover how to retouch faces using Adobe Photo Shop and Light Room. There's tasteful editing, and then there's over the top editing. We're gonna focus on the tasteful anything, which means correcting basic flaws, skin tones, eliminating stray hairs and generally portraying her subjects most flattering way possible . We'll be using Adobe Photo Shop and Adobe Light Room for retouching purposes. Currently, Adobe packages both of these together as a $10 a month subscription. But if you are the kind of person who likes to work in one program, go ahead and look at the relevant lesson. I'm sure you'll get something out of your product for this class is very simple. You're going to take a headshot oven individual. We're going to retouch it, using the steps I have laid out in the class, and you're going to post it to the sculpture project. Let's begin 2. Lightroom 1 Preliminary Steps: So we're going to be retouching faces and we're gonna work in both light room and photo shop when you subscribe to adobes Creative cloud. Even if you just get the photography subscription, which is $10 a month, you get both of these programs. So I feel like they're both useful for photography. Um, I wouldn't want one without the other. I do the majority of my work in light room, and if you're unfamiliar with light room, you have your modules. Your organization is library developers where you do your editing. And then the other ones were all finishing modules that we aren't going to be touching this time around. So when it closed this panel and this is my starter photograph, everything is set to zero. It's been totally untouched when you are planning on re touching somebody's face, and that's what we're gonna focus on. It's best, of course, to get great lighting, correct white balance, all that fun stuff when you shoot it. Um, sometimes you think you shot at great, and when you dump in the computer, you see a lot of problems. So before I start correcting any skin flaws or any lines on her face. I am going to correct those basic things that I should have done when I was shooting it. And that's exposure. Pump it up a little bit. It's very yellowy all around. I'm going to suck out some of that in this each as L area under saturation. I know it's yellowy one because the hissed a gram tells me so, but also because my own eyeballs tell me so. And I remember when I shot this in 2013 that this was a white backdrop, not this off white color you see here. So suck out the yellow skin tone gets a lot better and anything else I need to do to any basic correction, maybe take the contrast down a little bit. Here's the thing about faces. Harshness. Contrast does not look very appealing at all. And you can of course, correct this by having your person lit on both sides equally butts. Um, the way I've shot this just a little less contrast is ideal. Okay, we've corrected Are white balance. We've corrected our exposure. We've corrected our contrast. Let's dig in to the face 3. Lightroom 2 Adjustment Brush: the first step I'm going to do when retouching in light room is I'm going to soften the skin up and we use a brush for this. So these controls are global edits. They affect everything in the picture. But this is your brush. It only affects the areas you brush on light room comes with a custom brush called soften skin. And this is what it looks like. Takes the clarity down to 100 minus 100. Excuse me and bumps the sharpness up 25. When you brush over somebody, it has kind of a plasticky Look to it. And just to show you what that looks like when you affect the entire photo, if I take clarity Tu minus 100 it looks pretty bad. It looks like, uh, an iPhone app version of skin retouching. So I don't want to do that where I'm OK with clarity being when I softened skin is somewhere around minus 60 minus 49. Enough to actually soften skin and eliminates and pours. But not enough to cause a real problem. Make it look fake. Uh, went and out. If you don't know if you're going too far, take your clarity or whatever function you're using. Take it all the way up to 100 or down Tu minus 100 you can work in those extremes and then bump it up to sort of the safe zone that I've been talking about. Minus 40 minus 45. Um, when you're in the develop module, you also can turn on a before and after things that you can see what you're up to, and you can already see a big difference between adding exposure, correcting the color and just doing that brush versus what we started out with. Turn that off for now. So I have my computer real estate to work in if you forget where you've brushed or you've done what I just didn't back out of your brush. This is the pin from when I first put it on, I hover over it. You see all the red area. That's what I've brushed on so again did not get her chin yet. You have an option to turn on that mask overlay. Also, when you click the pin, now it's active. Resize this when it's active and I brush around. Then I'm doing the same exact thing I did before, which is currently clarity minus 100 sharpness to 25. I told you guys that I didn't really like it at minus 100 cause it looks fake, so I'm going to take it to minus 49. And if this is something I use on a regular basis and edited softened skin brush, I can actually save that here says safe current settings as new preset, and you would give it a title and save it. This is actually what I have here. So if you're in light room and you have your pull down menu in the brush, your in the brush tool and you don't see these things that say like dramatic sky black and white eyes, but in white, I enhance. That's because these are presets I saved as a new presets. So my soften skin better is clarity. Minus 41 sharpness plus 20 4. Lightroom 3 Spotting Part 1: now I brushed around her face. You'll notice that did not hit her eyes, and I did not hit her mouth. Ah, a couple of reasons for that one. We actually want clarity in the eyes because eyes are the gateway to the soul. That's what we connect with. Unless you're doing some kind of special effect. Those are the things you want, the sharpest in your photo. Also, because they have rods and cones and eyelashes and stuff like that, it looks kind of silly when they're soft and dull. Same with the lips, though. There's a little star on her lip there. I'll correct that a different way. I'm not going to use this stuff in skin brush, or that the next step and retouching a face in light room is to use this tool here. This is your spot editor, and of course, you have sizing here, but a lot of the times I resize it by using the brackets on the keyboard. It's easier just to tap it or to hold it down and see it shrink like that, much like my brush. There's an inner circle and an outer circle to the brush inner circle is the effect you're putting on outer circle is the feathering. So think that. See how it's very soft circle. Anything in the inner brush, effects it and then it tapers off. That's the way you want to do all of your skin retouching because hard lines on the face is only going to make it worse. So the way to get a hard line you're curious is too. Pull the feathering down all the way flow up. So that's what a hard line does take mask overly off and that we do things like push up exposure. You can see how that is not a good way to edit a human being. This spot tool. Same thing as feathering. So if I pull the feathering all the way down on click here, it clones the mouth, and it gives it a very hard outlined there, Probably not what you want to do to your person. If you're doing genuine retouching, turn the feathering up the size as much as you need it, which is usually because I'm getting rid of spots on her face very, very small, and I'm going to work with this option called hell rather than this option called Clone, so he'll will take pixels and blend them with what you're already covering up. Uh, so there was a spot there. Click that it grabbed the pixels here, blended them perfectly. Clone. Literally. Well, take the pixels and stamp them in that spot. So this is clone Switch to heal a lot more subtle when you use the heel tool instead of clone. If you're borrowing pixels from like areas, it's going to blend a lot better than if you borrow pixels from, uh, way different areas. So is actually might work here, but I I wouldn't recommend grabbing light pixels to heal a dark area. It's much easier just to pick something that's similar but doesn't have those flaws. 5. Lightroom 4 Spotting Part 2: this spotting session could go on for a long period of time, and you might even want to work closer to your individual like super close. I got close by hitting Control plus or command plus on the apple, but I believe it's control plus on the Windows computers Commander Control minus takes you out. The way to get around in light room is the navigator. You see me flying around here, and I'll be honest with you. If you have a lot of spots to correct or stars or lines on the face, this could be a tedious process. I recommend finding something that entertains you without distracting you, so you get it done. In my case, I listen to podcasts or music. When I do this, sometimes I watch a movie. Um, probably will take on a face that has spots a like we see here. This is probably a 10 minute job. When there's only a couple, it's like a 32nd job or less. But it's got to be done because if you're doing work for clients or you put this photo on Facebook and you did not correct flaws that you could have corrected, it's pretty likely you'll get an angry email or dissatisfied customer. It's expected today that we retouch faces and get rid of flaws. Now, if it's something that's normal on the person's face, like this scar on the lip and not temporary like the spots, then that might be a conversation you have with your client whether you want to leave it or not. Remember a famous supermodel? Cindy Crawford had a mole on the side of her face, and I believe there are times when it's been retouched out and people were confused because they expected to see that on Cindy Crawford. Everybody knew she had it, and it wasn't there. Um, you know, definitely something that was worthy of a conversation before they took the time to retouch stuff like that out. If you're not working this close, you're probably going to miss a lot of stuff. Or you might notice that you're pasting is in wrong places if you need to retouch out a line like thes lack lines that people usually have on the sides of their nose or the lines underneath her eyes, you can do that with this tool. You just want to hold down your mouse and stretch it. One of the things about light rooms spot tool that I'm not a big fan of is that you cannot change the brush shape so you can change the brush size. You can have smaller circles or larger circles, but you cannot make this into a rectangle triangle square other kinds of brushes you might want to use. One of the other flaws in editing in light room is that if you already have an area that's halfway covered are fully covered by your spot retouched tool. You cannot place a new spot down, so you'll notice. Right now, it's a spot removal tool. Move over to this area becomes that Mickey Mouse glove because I already have something there. We'll see in Photoshopped that that's not the case you can retouch over and over and over and over. Okay, so that's a lot of spots. I'm gonna have a few more to finish up, uh, the areas that people generally have lines on their face, whether they're young or old. We mentioned the lack lines on the side of the nose, the eye socket, which I did not retouch that fully out Yeah, and then the corners of the mouth. Not a lot of problems there that this area, I'm probably going to have to work on a photo shop because it's kind of Ah, weird placement here. Got teeth, We got lips, we got that scar. And then we got a little indention here when things were complicated. Like this. You are better off working in photo shop because you can change your brushes and you can overlap. You're re touches. 6. Photoshop 1 Tools + Settings: the way to get your work into photo shop is to right click on it in your filmstrip bar here . Edit in Don't be Photoshopped. Here's our image. After I'm done with my work here, I'm going to save it and it's going to appear alongside the filmstrip as probably a tiff file. This is how I have my light room set up. So if you'll notice the original file is a any F file, that's a Nikon raw image. You don't overwrite raw images when you save them. They save as J pegs or tiffs, and in this case, it's going to say as a tip. So now that I'm in photo shop, the main retouching tools are the clone stamp and then the healing brush wise healing brush above the clone stamp. Uh, with the paintbrush in the middle? Not really sure. But when I need to do surgery on an image, I usually default to the clone stamp. So what do I mean by surgery? I mean retouching out something that's large enough that blending tools aren't going to work or the car in the background would be large enough if I need to retouch that out I would have to borrow pixels from a variety of places to clone out that car or, in the case of her arms, these lines here now by no means is this model. Yeah, these lines are the kinds of things that I would commonly get. Emails widened, true. Retouched that out. It makes me look over weights, and by no means is this model. So anywhere there's lines or folds. These are very common on people, whether they're overweight or skinny. But it's the kind of thing that you are expected to retouch out the scar on the lips unless it was specified by the client. To keep it, I used the clone stamp tool. I have to click Alz on good pixels and then click to paste over We're ready to. Same goes for the healing brush tool. You define your area that you're borrowing them from first, and then you paced over. So to make it look like it's not all cloned or borrowed from the same areas, I click all a lot I picked from lot of different areas. Hear, hear what happens if you get too close where there's a boundary with the healing tool it's going to blend it. It's going to Paul Pixels here, and it looks really bad. It looks like her makeup is smeared. I'm gonna undo that by hitting Command Z. If you need to undo a variety of actions and you're not familiar Photoshopped, you do have a tab called history. And if you don't have history here you go window. Make sure history is checked. Then it should be over here somewhere, and you can back up these spaces. Light Room also has a history panel that is located here, and you can back up any number of steps. Even if this was a year later, I would be able to back up that far anyways. Clone tool. I can alter my feathering here, so this is the equivalent of that feather area in light room. If the harness is set to zero, it's very soft. If it's at 84% it's going to have a little harder edge. That's ideal for retouching near a boundary 7. Photoshop 2 Using Curves to Spot Flaws: so candidates that are near boundaries. Well, these lines on the neck. I'll usually give it a shot first with the healing brush tool. And if that doesn't work, I'll go to the clone stamp. Also, hair hair is something that is very difficult to retouch in light room because again, the shape of the brush and the ability to get around in it. This is definitely a candidate for clone stamp. I also see a spot that was on my center. Sometimes those sensors aren't those sensor spots aren't that obvious, and you'll get used to seeing them. But one way to make sure that you can see it is to turn up the curves on your photo. I'm going todo adjustments layer, yeah, curves. Pull it down and I see a spot here. Spot here, spot here, spot here, spy here. All of this stuff becomes a lot more apparent when you dark in the photo. None of these air on the face, but they still make a difference. And if you have dust on your sensor, then eventually some of these are going to end up on the face. I'll do a quick clone out of them I am. I'll do it Quick. Clone, Take the hardness to 50%. Also make sure I'm working on the right layer. If it doesn't look right, we're going to use healing brush. Grab it. There is gone. Give me that. Get rid of that with that. Sure. Take the hardness down to care that the fact that this photo is currently dark is only a function of the curves layer existing. So once I'm done with this retouching, I'm gonna throw that curves layer away with that that I think it took care of most of it. Here are the curves later in the trash spot on her clavicle. Could be a shadow. Could be a bruise. Could be natural. Doesn't matter. Needs to be fixed that same with this red lines Probably scratch. So I've heard that there are phone aps that allow you to read such a face and have actually seen these on professional models and actors and stuff. And the truth is that you have to get very close up to your person to retouch them and working on a phone just does not allow that 8. Photoshop 3 Evening Out The Color: Sometimes you want to smooth the skin out a little bit. Sometimes there's uneven makeup on your person. One method that I sort of save is a last resort is to create a new layer up here. And then I'm essentially going to put makeup on her by sampling what I think is sort of the middle range of the skins that maybe the middle of her forehead is very bright over here. It's much darker over here. Sample that color. Using this thing looks like a turkey basters, the eyedropper tool. Now I have that color here. Use the brush, take the hardness down, and it's going to be just like brushing on makeup. Only thing is that you're going to have to hit all of her skin. Teoh 3 30 pixels is good for this. It looks bad when you start doing this and I've actually seen magazine covers where they left something like this on made the person look like Barbie doll of some sort. But you're not going to leave it like this. In fact, you're going to go into your opacity ease, take it down and you're blending modes, something like lighten or soften light a soft light doesn't seem to be working on something enlightened. Look a lot better. Big difference. Owner, person. Once I get done with, we're introducing a consistent element to the skin, and I'm making a few mistakes because I'm getting outside of her arms. That's the the big No, no, You don't want to have situations like this. We're kind of fluffs our and gives a halo. What's that? Make sure I've got it all painted on. They can see it better if it's a normal mode. Capacity turned all the way up, okay? 9. Photoshop 4 Hair: I'm gonna switch it to lighten. Going to take capacity down to something in the neighborhood 14% or so. See what it looks like without with slightly more consistent. Still see areas that need brushing. And for our purposes, I'm going to collapse these layers, though If I was doing this for a client, I probably wouldn't collapse the image entirely until I got final approval from them. Zoom in on those stray hairs. Stray hairs are the hardest things to retouch out. These aren't bad because they're floating in the middle of nowhere. So it's just a simple matter of clone stamp clone stamp. If these were going over her forehead, it would be a real pain. To get out is what happens with stray hairs. I think I have one example up here. This hair runs over all these hairs, going at a totally different angle for me to clone those out. I have to be about this big, and I have to constantly grab from other areas. But I need to rebuild the curve so this hair needs to curve down into here to make any sense. Um, not so easy. If this is what happens if I clone and try and make a curve on my own, See have just made the problem worse. What's the best solution? The best solution is to pay attention when you're shooting and make sure that if you're trying to do something that has a particular hairstyle or particular aesthetic or a particular level of beauty that you clean that stuff up when you shoot it, it can be retouched out. But, uh, it's gonna take a lot of time. So let's save this and head back to light room. We're going to do one more bit of retouching, I see. 10. Eye Enhancing: hands. It's being added to my light room catalog right here. Now it's the tiff edit. His last bit of retouching I'm going to do is her eyes. I'm going to brighten them up. She has pretty bright eyes to start with. Um, and light room does come with another one of those fancy brushes Iris Enhance. They call Iris and hands plus 35 in exposure plus 40 in saturation and plus 10 and clarity . Let's see what that does with the preset brush. Either way, I don't see a feather. You turn it up, Okay? Sizing it to be the size of the iris going to go around, I get above the pupil. I need to shrink it down because they don't want to cross over the eyelashes. Not sure I see a difference. Let's hit. Done what? We'll do a before and after slight difference. It looks a little more saturated. Try again. If you take the exposure up all the way, you're gonna make your person look like an alien. Let me quickly add that to this I so you can get the full effect. So as you can see, it has gone too far. I take it down a little bit. I really don't recommend going over 0.5, um, through enhancing eyes. But if you turn clarity up, clarity darkens areas. It makes it look a little more muddy. It looks a little sharper as well, but, uh, you can see the difference. Clarity's down. It's kind of Brighton dull when Clarity's up, it's kind of grungy and dark, so if you turn clarity up, you'll probably have to turn exposure up a little bit, too. And a little added contrast doesn't hurt. Depends on the eyes of the person or the animal that you're working with but sharper eyes, smoother skin painted on makeup. I think our face is looking pretty good. Let's compare it to the original version of this photo. So I'm gonna jump back here. This is the photo with I think nothing added to it. Big difference. There's other parts of the body that needs some work. Ah, I might enhance the make up honor. Actually, I'm not sure if she has any nail polish on there it is. It's kind of a clear thing, and I would probably retouch out these lines or at least make them smaller. But it's not a huge difference in the process. From what we've done on our a person's skin and 11. Wrap Up: So in library mode of light room, there is an export function. Let's take a quick look from where we started. Do where we ended up, and I'm pretty pleased with this. For your project, you need to poster retouched image to the Skill Share project page. To do that, choose your image from the film strip he export. I would give it a name. It's going to be a J. Peggy can limit the file size if you want 72 pixels per inch along edge 14 inches, and that gives us a good idea of what your image looks like. Choose your location to export to hit export. I hope you got something out of this lesson and enjoyed retouching phases. It's definitely a marketable skill, and when you will use ah lot if you end up doing any sort of portrait photography, Thanks for watching