Wednesday, March 28

CoffeeShop PowderRoom 3 Retouching Action!

I have many retouching actions (some of my favorites are Perfect Portrait 3 and 2 Minute Miracle), but I still turn to my original retouching action, CoffeeShop PowderRoom 2.  PowderRoom 2 is a great little action and is still something you should have in your action pane.

I know many of my readers love this action, but I have had many email requests to update it.  I had this action open a duplicate of your image so you could edit on the copy rather than on the original.  This sounded good at the time, but I realize it is not necessary and very annoying, and also makes it impossible to use the action to batch process images.

So I finally got my act together and updated PowderRoom 2.  Now the action runs on your original image and I also have it select your white brush at the end of the action so you can start painting on the layer masks.

The action download links are at the bottom of this post.

Using the CoffeeShop PowderRoom 3 Action:

It is important to read these instructions before using CoffeeShop PowderRoom 3. When you run the action on your image, your image will look completely untouched. You have to understand how to use layer masks to make the enhancements (see the CoffeeShop Tuturial on Layer Masks.  This action works with both color and B&W images and will run in all newer versions of PSE and and all versions of Photoshop CS.

1. Please run this action on a flattened image which has already had color/contrast correction and basic skin retouching. The skin smoothing layer will remove most minor skin issues, but deep wrinkles, hot spots, and severe blemishes need to be edited first by using the healing or clone tools. Note: To remove hot spots (light areas) caused by flash and shiny skin, use your clone tool set to darken blending mode and 50% opacity. Alt-click a clean area of skin by the hot spot and then gently brush over the lightened area to darken. Keep on brushing until the area matches the rest of the skin. To lighten areas of the skin which are too dark such as under eye circles, use your clone tool set to lighten blending mode and 50% opacity. Alt-click an area of clean skin by the dark area and then gentle brush over the dark area to lighten. This method works great to reduce the look of deep wrinkles.

2. When the action is finished your image will look untouched. You must use a soft white paintbrush in NORMAL mode (b to select the paintbrush), d (to make the default swatch colors black foreground/white background), x (to make the foreground white) to paint over the black layer masks (or directly on the layer in the case of Bright Eyes). Make sure you click to select the black layer masks BEFORE using your paintbrush on the image. If the effects are too harsh, then you can adjust the opacity of that layer OR if you want to start over, select your layer mask and edit, fill with black (or 50% gray in the Bright Eyes layer).

3. White Teeth layer: Zoom (z) in to magnify the teeth. Paint on the teeth using a soft low opacity (start with 10%) brush, staying away from the gums and lips. If the effect is too subtle, paint over the teeth again. It they become too white, then lower the opacity of that layer.

4. White Whites layer: This layer is useful to remove red from tired/allergy eyes and whiten the whites. Use a low opacity (10%) soft white brush and gently brush over the eye whites until the redness is gone and the whites are whitened. Adjust the opacity of that layer to taste.

5. Eye Define layer: This layer will sharpen the eyes and lashes. Use a soft white brush set to 100% opacity and brush over the eyes and the eye lashes. Then adjust the opacity of that layer to taste. The eyes will look darker, but the next step will brighten them.

6. Bright Eyes layer: This is the layer where you lighten the iris. Select a soft low opacity (10%) white brush and gently paint over the iris in each eye, trying to avoid the pupil, rim around the iris, and eyelashes. If the effect is too subtle, repeat. If the effect causes scary alien eyes, then just lower the opacity of that layer.

7. Soft Skin layer: This layer will add a soft blur to the skin to soften it. Use a low opacity soft white brush (10-20% to start) and gently brush over the skin, avoiding the eyes, mouth, hair, etc. If the effect is too subtle then repeat. If the skin looks like a plastic doll then either lower the opacity of that layer or start again by filling in your layer mask with black. It is so important to apply a light hand to this layer as the results should be subtle.  Sometimes I set my brush to 100% and then just lower the opacity of that layer to taste.

8. Vignette layer: Use a soft low opacity black brush to add a vignette around the edges of your image or darken (burn) areas. Use a soft low opacity white brush to lighten (dodge) areas.

9. When you are finished, just flatten the layers and save the file.

Download the free CoffeeShop PowderRoom 3 action here.

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.


  1. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 5 post on Mar. 29, 2012. Thanks again.

  2. As I was reading through your post, the thing that struck me is the part about how to touch up a "hot spot". Every picture I took in high school was practically "whited out" but the greasy forehead/auto flash combo. How I wish I had had these skills back then so that I could have touched up all my photos! Then again, I would have probably been glued to my computer screen (playing with PhotoShop) and never had much chance to get out and take pictures of my forehead in the first place. LOL. Thanks for the laugh.
    Your Powder Room actions are pretty much standard for me with portraits. Thanks so much for sharing them!

  3. Hi Rita,

    I have a friend who uses some of your actions, especifically PowderRoom 2 and she suggested your website.

    Looking at PowderRoom 2 I saw that you had updated. I noticed that PowderRoom 3 is for PSE 5-10...Just wanted to check if that was a typo as most of your actions say they work in PSE 11 pr PSE 12 as well.

    Thank you!!

  4. Yes, it works in all newer versions of PSE Katie!

  5. Hi there! I've used your PowderRoom actions for years and love them! Recently, though, whenever I paint over the skin on the "soft touch" layer, it paints the skin darker and looks really bad. Any suggestions? I'm working in PS CC 2017.

    1. Make sure you are using the normal brush! And if that doesn't work, just reset your preferences, that will do the trick. :-)

  6. Hello! Thank you for this action! I, like Marie have used PowderRoom for a long time, and am having problems with the "soft touch" layer. It is simply not making any change at all. I read your response and tried to reset my preferences, but it is still not working. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you for your time!

    1. Make sure you are using the normal brush!


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