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How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

It might be true that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, however, you can enhance your model’s beauty even more by using Photoshop. This guide will teach you how to smooth skin in Photoshop without going overboard. Read along to understand more about this.

Spot and Blemish Removal

The first step to learn how to smooth skin in Photoshop is to remove blemishes. For this purpose, you need to use Spot Healing Brush, but remember to only remove any acne or scratches with it. Also, the editor should only remove moles or scars according to the model’s preference. Another important thing to remember is to create a new layer for every change. This will let you go to the previous step if you mess up somewhere. You can create a new layer by clicking on Layers and then Duplicate Layer. You can also name it ‘Healing’ for your ease. Next, select the Spot Healing Brush from the Toolbar and set it to Content-Aware fill. Simply clicking on the blemishes with this brush will remove them. The size of the brush can also be changed if you want to make it smaller or bigger using square brackets. As a thumb rule, its size should be slightly larger than the blemish for proper removal. It is easy to go overboard with this tool but using it on facial features will reduce the overall image quality. Therefore, only use it where necessary. Now that acne and blemishes have been removed, it is time to understand how to smooth skin in Photoshop.
Smooth skin in Photoshop

Using High Pass Filter - How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

In this method, we will easily smooth and soften the skin in Photoshop while using High Pass Filter with some Blurs. This will give you the most detailed control over the smoothness of the skin. We also use this filter for sharpening images. It identifies edges in the image. Edges are regions where there is some sudden change in pixel values and it tries to correct that by using the values of the neighboring pixels. However, in this case, there are no edges on the skin. To get the proper result from this filter, we will later invert it. Keep up with these steps and try to perform them on your image. 

Step 1

As I said before, the first step before making any change is to create a duplicate layer. An easy way to do this is by pressing Ctrl or Command +J. Reduce the Opacity of this layer to 50% after naming it. 

Step 2

Simply select the High Pass Filter by going in the Filter menu and then into the Other submenu. When the filter is applied, it converts the image into grey, and edges on the skin start to appear. Basically this is done to easily get smooth skin in Photoshop. You already know that this filter works respectively to the neighboring pixels. Now, you must either set the value or radius around 25 pixels. You can slightly change this value to see if you get better results that way.

Step 3 - How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

Now that the filter is applied, we need to apply the blur. In this method, we are going to use Gaussian Blur because it gives the most control. You can select it from the Blur Menu under Filter. The pixels can be set to anywhere between 4 to 8. Similarly, you can slightly change this value and see if you get better results.

How to Smooth skin in Photoshop with Gaussian blur
Step 4
We discussed above that to get the proper results, we need to invert the image. Now that you have applied the blur, we must perform that step. For this purpose, first, keep the High Pass Filter selected and then simply go to Adjustment submenu in Image. There you will find the option to Invert. Alternatively, an easier way to do this is by pressing Ctrl+I.  Now that the image has been inverted, it is time to change the Blend Options. This is a crucial step in learning how to smooth skin in Photoshop, so pay attention. You can select these options by heading into Layer and then Layer Style. There you will find the options and you need to change it to Linear Light. When you do this, it will give you some Blend If sliders, however, you only need to be concerned about the This Layer slider in that list. The left slider is used to blend darker areas whereas, the right one is used to blend lighter areas of the image. These sliders are used to reduce halos and it can be done by holding the Alt/Option key and moving then moving the slider.

Step 5

The last step is to apply the blur onto the skin using a layer mask. Click on the Layer Mask tool while holding the Alt/Option key. You can simply paint the blur on the skin by using a white paintbrush.

Portrait Editing

Conclusion - How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

Using High Pass Filter with Gaussian Blur is the ultimate method to learn how to smooth skin in Photoshop. It gives you full creative control over the details, therefore, you must also try to not overdo it. The goal should be to get clearer skin, not fake-looking skin. Also, try to play with these settings to find the perfect values for each image. 

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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