Here`s a simple skin retouching technique called Frequency Separation, which I use in Beauty, Fashion & Portrait photography retouching. It’s relatively quick and easy to grasp. Start with a softer Healing Brush on the Low Frequency layer to fix deep wrinkles and uneven, bumpy skin, and use a harder Healing Brush to fix skin texture imperfections on the High Frequency layer.
To manually add the High & Low Frequency layers follow these steps:
1. Make sure your image is in 16 bit/channel mode.
2. Create two copies of your working layer.
3. Group them and name the top layer High Frequency (this layer will only contain texture) and the bottom layer Low Frequency (this layer will only contain colors & tones).
4. Turn the High Frequency layer visibility off and apply Gaussian Blur filter to the Low Frequency layer (Radius: 4.0-5.0 pixels, only colors and tones are visible, no details).
5. Now select the High Frequency layer and turn its visibility back on.
6. Go to Image > Apply Image and choose the following settings:
Source – the name of the file you are working on,
Layer – Low Frequency,
Invert – check,
Blending Mode – Add,
Opacity – 100%,
Scale – 2,
Offset – 0.
Click Ok to move on.
7. Change the High Frequency layer Blending Mode to Linear Light.
8. Pick up the Healing Brush Tool and set it to Sample from Current Layer (this is a very important detail, don’t miss it!)
9. Start with Low Frequency layer to even out skin tones, and then move on to the High Frequency layer to finish up the stubborn blemishes on the texture layer.
Check out this video tutorial from my “Creative Retouching Essentials in Day” interactive eBook to see how I use my Frequency Separation Action:
Check out these retouching time lapse videos, in which I use the Frequency Separation technique to retouch the skin, and the result images.
This retouch was done in 25 minutes from start to finish (watch the clock at the top of the screen):
If you enjoyed this article SHARE IT with your fellow artists!
Check out our Creative Retouching Essentials In A Day interactive eBook, which covers even more of the retouching essentials. Sign up to our Newsletter to receive an exclusive discount on it!
You might also like to check out our Digital Photo Retouching: Beauty, Fashion & Portrait Photography interactive eBook, which is jam-packed with spectacular educational and inspirational content on photography and retouching!
Read this great review on the latter on Fstoppers.