This Photoshop retouching tutorial reviews some fashion Photoshop retouching techniques. We will see how to paint realistic hair, retouch skin and much more. It is a Photoshop tutorial for photographers but also for anyone who wants to learn a few things about retouching studio or fashion portraits in photoshop.
Fashion retouching in Photoshop
This kind of photoshop retouching tutorials are usually used by professional photographers seeking new techniques to retouch portraits but you can also learn how to edit like a pro. To achieve stunning portraits in Photoshop you need a good quality photograph start with. The lighting and photo quality are essential for a good effect in Photoshop. Such photographs are usually taken in a photo studio but not always.
I always try to work non-destructively when retouching in Photoshop and try to be as natural as possible but sometimes more extreme effects are also very interesting for certain purposes.
Download PSD file and video
Portrait Photoshop Retouching Video Tutorial
Photoshop retouching fashion step by step
Step 1 – Remove background in Photoshop
The photo that I used for this fashion retouching tutorial has a solid gray background that will facilitate the extraction of the model. The uniform background colors on photo studios are used on that purpose most of the times. To remove the background I used the Quick Selection Tool to select the model. Some hairs are also eliminated but I will use another technique later to paint the lost hair in Photoshop. Use the Refine Edge Tool to smoothen the edges (see video for details).
Step 2 – Create the new background
For the new background I created a new Gradient Fill layer below the portrait I have extracted on the previous step. I created a gradient similar to the original background but with a lighter tone in the center, behind the woman. Keep a simple background helps your portrait to stand out more. You can use a colored background but I have used a gray one and then I added a Solid color layer above it and used the Color Blend Mode.
Step 3 – Recover Hair in Photoshop
To rebuild the loose hairs that have been removed to remove the background in Step 1 creates a custom brush of about 20-30 pixels as shown in the video. Then use this brush to paint hair and colors sampled from the model’s original hair. If you have a graphics tablet you can use the pen pressure to control the thickness and opacity.
Step 4 – Retouch skin with Frequency Separation
This skin editing technique is very common in the fashion retouching because it is very effective. It separates textures and light to edit them separately into different layers. I combined all layers into a new layer and then I’ve duplicated it and I’ve named them Light and Textures. We apply some Gaussian blur to the Light ayer. For the Textures layer I used the menu Apply Image using the Subtract mode with Scale 2 and Offset 128. Accept the change and change the blending mode of the Textures layer to Linear Light. This technique is so effective that it can help you eliminate the hairs that cover parts of the face (see video for details).
Step 5 – Smooth skin in Photoshop
With the previous technique we retouch skin and keep the original skin texture but with this one we almost completely eliminate it so you have to use it carefully. We will use the Mixer Brush Tool to blend the tones and textures. It is important to use low settings in order to build the effect gradually following the shapes of the face and direction of light and shadows. Be sure to check the option Sample All Layers to work nondestructively and paint new soft skin on a new layer. If the result is too soft, lower the opacity of the layer of the smooth skin.
Step 6 – Color Effects
Now it’s time to have some fun using Adjustment Layers. I wanted a colder look for this portrait so I used 4 of adjustments to achieve that.
- Selective Color
- Color Balance
- Gradient Map
All you need to do is make changes so that you get a green/blue tone effect. You can use other adjustments if you want. If you use Photoshop CC you can use the Camera RAW filter and change the Color balance and the Split Tone module. The effect is shown in the next photo.
Step 7 – Retouch eyes
In any fashion retouching, editing eyes greatly improves a portrait. In this tutorial we are going to do it simply with a hard brush painting above the eyes on a new layer. The color should be something dark because we use the Color Dodge blending mode. After changing the blending mode you can adjust the brightness and color of these using the Hue/Saturation Adjustment. Try to maintain a natural color and brightness but slightly improved.
Step 8 – Photoshop Retouch lips
For the lips I just used a Hue/Saturation layer filling the layer mask with black after making changes in the tone. If you fill the layer with black the effect will be hidden. We then paint with white over white lips to reveal the effect. Then go back to edit the settings and change the color of the lips with the Hue, Saturation and Luminosity sliders.
If you want to recover some of the original appearance, put a copy of the photo you get after you do the the separation of frequencies, above all layers and change the blending mode to Soft Light or Leave it to Normal and reduce the Opacity to 50%. So I hope you liked my easy fashion Photoshop retouching tutorial.