Skin softening is a touchy subject because some people look at the shot above and screech “oh her skin looks like plastic” or something along those lines. That level of skin softening might be appropriate for certain target audiences, but skin softening doesn’t have to be that harsh. Here’s an example of how I typically do skin softening for my own taste:
My normal skin softening workflow as shown in the video plus a couple additional healing edits
Now even that might be too much for some people, so in my tutorial video in this article I show you how to use Portraiture to get the right amount of skin softening to suit your own personal needs.
Now this model has the best skin I’ve seen on an adult human being in all of my life. However, with today’s high resolution lenses and cameras, studio lights, and makeup that started to fail during a shoot even this models skin can look pretty rough:
Original image from camera with only minor blemish touchups
This woman is in her early 20’s and has wonderful skin, but even the best skin has blemishes – that’s reality. The makeup cracks make look much older than she really is and it causes some unnatural lines on her nose. As a result, the camera captures an more harsh version than the reality that existed before my eyes. This is where skin softening comes in, and it’s for the reality of scenarios like this that I always use it when I have skin in a photo. The difference is that I’ll use a lot more here than a casual shot, so always adjust the amount to suit your subject, the conditions and your artistic intent at the time you edit your photo.
Imagenomic Portraiture 2.3 User Interface
For this tutorial I’m using 2.3 and I’ve created a Skin Tones Mask similar to the one shown above (but more precise) and I’ve left Enhancements turned off. I love this product, but I find Enhancements to be redundant so I prefer to do them in their own layers in Photoshop so I can decouple that work from my skin softening work. As a result, I don’t really discuss this feature in the tutorial.
NOTE: At the end of the video there’s an error where I name the layer Portraiture 5 for the version, but I meant to do 2.3. Noiseware is version 5, so that was a typo.
This video was recorded at 1920x1080, so it’s best to view it full screen on a HD display. Be sure to also set the YouTube controls to HD via the gear menu button as the “auto” setting doesn’t always do the right thing. If the iFrame above isn’t working, then click here to view the video in a web browser.
This isn’t really meant to replace my old Imagenomic Portraiture 2.0 -vs- Nik Software Dynamic Skin Softener review, but I never had a chance to put an in-depth video tutorial in it. This article makes up for that shortcoming and hopefully helps you to become more productive with skin softening.
See the end of this article for more related reviews.
I’m also well aware that great books like Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers using Photoshop demonstrate how to do skin softening without a third party product. However, like all plug-ins what you from a third party solution that you don’t get from Photoshop directly is the ability to rapidly try different things and build a complex mask in seconds. As a result I’ll say that it might be possible to get identical results without this product, the fact is that you’ll get more control with faster results than Photoshop alone.
I highly recommend this product because I use it on every image I edit with skin. It’s that good and I wouldn’t want to work without it!
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If you see a photo of mine that has skin, Portraiture
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If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these:
- Imagenomic Noiseware 4.1.1 Professional (Latest Version 5 Update Review)
- REVIEW: Imagenomic Portraiture 2.0 -vs- Nik Software Dynamic Skin Softener
- Imagenomic Portraiture 2.0 (Latest Version 2.3 Update Review)
- What Photoshop books should I read?
- What plug-ins should I buy? (for Photoshop & Lightroom)
- Imagenomic Noiseware, Portraiture & RealGrain Updated (15% Off Coupon Code)
- Portrait Professional 10
If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.
I am a featured photographer for Imagenomic. I did this promotion because I love Noiseware and Portraiture and because Imagenomic was an early supporter of this blog. I don not get compensated for being featured photographer, and I did this article without any solicitation or request from Imagenomic.