Wednesday, November 25, 2009
CoffeeShop Baby PowderRoom 2 has been released and has auto-skin smoothing! It does not replace this action, but you should have them both in your toolbox. :-)
I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Anyone can celebrate it. There is no gift buying involved. You get to eat tons of great food and visit with loved ones. Your family from out-of-town comes to visit. The wine and coffee flows freely (in our house at least). And you stop and think about everything you should be thankful for in your life. Including your blog readers!
Now, on to the main attraction!!!
Yes, it is finally here, CoffeeShop Baby PowderRoom PS/PSE Action! And this action isn't only for babies. It works great on any portrait. :-). And its price is FREE! (Should I confess I watch TMZ???)
I know many of you use and love CoffeeShop PowderRoom 2 and/or CoffeeShop Perfect Portrait and/or CoffeeShop Glamour Glow retouching actions. I am amazed how many successful professional photographers write and tell me they use my free retouching actions on images they sell. :-)
But what to do if you are working on a lovely portrait where the skin is not perfect? Most people will use the clone or heal tool in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements on a duplicate of the background and fix the skin before using the CoffeeShop retouching actions. This works fine, but it is very time-consuming, especially if the skin is especially troubled as it is often in small babies or teenagers. And have you ever tried cloning/healing a blemish right by an eyebrow or lip? It can be very frustrating.
I did a lot of reading and found a method that works better and faster than cloning in many cases, and I slightly modified it to make it even better. This action, like my other retouching actions, takes some work with brushes on layer masks. However, the benefit of retouching this way rather than buying an expensive "automatic" retouching program is that your final results can look more realistic (read "less plastic").
This action not only allows you to remove blemishes and other skin issues, it also has layers to smooth, lighten, and even add a dewy glow to skin. I also included the Eye Define and Bright Eyes from the actions mentioned above and also found in CoffeeShop Eye Bright action.
Once you download the free action, be sure to bookmark this post because I have the full step-by-step instructions on using CoffeeShop Baby PowderRoom Action below. And if you have any questions, please post them at the CoffeeShop Facebook, we love to help. :-)
I am also putting together a special "Senior" retouching action. It will have all of the steps of Baby PowderRoom, but I will add the teeth whitening from PowderRoom 2 and the Urban Grit from Perfect Portrait. It will be the perfect action to process those senior shots, or really any portrait that needs some retouching and oomph. :-)
Baby PowderRoom Action Tutorial (this action runs in all versions of Photoshop CS and PSE5-PSE8):
I will post the step-by-step Baby PowderRoom Unwrapped (where I take the action apart so you can do the enhancements on your own) in a future post. These directions are for using the action. :-)
Note: Your image will look unchanged after running this action! You will paint in the effects "by hand". All opacity ranges are just suggestions. You have two ways to control the amount of enhancement that is applied on each layer. First, you adjust your brush opacity, and second you can tweak the layer opacity. And I can't stress enough, moderation is the key in retouching. Most people don't like plastic-looking barbie skin. :-) Also, this action should be run on a portrait that is already color/contrast corrected. This should be the final step in your editing (other than sharpening).
1. Red Skin Repair: This layer is where you remove or lighten skin imperfections like blemishes, redness, wrinkles, etc. Click on the blank Red Skin Repair layer (not its layer mask). Select "I" for the eye dropper tool and click on a clean area of skin to select the color. Then select "B" for brush. Select a soft brush, Normal Mode, 25-50% opacity. Paint over the problem areas of skin adjusting your brush size using the [ or ] keys.
It is better to start with a lower opacity brush and brush over these areas a few times. You want your original skin texture to show through. Note: If you continue to hold down your mouse button while painting an area of skin using the brush tool at 25% and go back over the same area there won't be any additional changes. You must remove your finger from your mouse and re-click and repaint the area to see additional changes.
After the skin looks clean, go to the Red Skin Repair layer and adjust its opacity to taste. You don't want plastic looking skin! If you make a mistake either use the erasure tool (E) on the painted layer or a black brush on the layer mask.
2. Smooth Skin: Click on the black layer mask. Click "B" for brush Normal mode, white, and low opacity (20-30%). Paint over the skin (don't go over dark shadow areas or important features like eyes, nostrils, and lips). Then adjust the Smooth Skin layer's opacity to taste. Again, moderation is the key to realistic retouching techniques. I usually find an opacity setting I think is perfect and then dial it down a bit more to be safe.
3. Lighten Skin: If you want to slightly lighten the skin (as if lightly powdered), click "B" for brush and set your brush to Normal Mode, white, and low opacity (10-20%). Click on the black layer mask and paint over the skin. Adjust the Lighten Skin layer's opacity to taste.
4. Skin Glow: This layer adds a soft subtle dewy glow to the skin. Cick "B" for brush and set your brush to Normal Mode, white, and low opacity (20-30%). Click on the black layer mask and then paint over the skin. Adjust the Skin Glow layer's opacity to taste.
5. Eye Define: This layer enhances eyes and eyelashes. Click "B" for brush and set the brush to Normal Mode, white and 50-100% opacity. Click on the black layer mask. Paint over the eyes and eyelashes. Then adjust the Eye Define layer's opacity to taste.
6. Bright Eyes: This layer brightens the iris and whites of the eyes. Click "B" for brush and set the brush to Normal mode, white, and 10-20%. Carefully paint over the iris, avoiding the pupil, and the whites of the eyes. Then adjust the Bright Eyes layer's opacity to taste.
7. Flatten and save!
Download the free CoffeeShop Baby PowderRoom PS/PSE Action HERE.
Thanks to all of you who purchased my sister Heather's and my watermarking action kit. Just click on the image below if you want to read more about the action. We are thrilled about the positive feedback!
Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.
For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.