Flat Skin

Flat Skin
Flat Skin

Follow this Photoshop tutorial to revitalize the look of skin for portrait photographs. This natural-looking effect evens out uneven skin tones and reduces the appearance of skin imperfections. Skin tones look more equalized and blemishes are reduced without being removed.

Fix Blown Out Skin Photoshop Tutorial

Step 1

Open a photo to begin. Expand the file menu and select Open. Then, browse for the file and click OK.

Photoshop Open

Step 2

Click on the Adjustment Layer Button button in the layers pallet and select Invert. This will create a new Invert adjustment layer. This adjustment layer will invert the hue and brightness of the image to create a negative.

Photoshop Invert Menu

Step 3

Change the blending mode to Luminosity. Then, lower the opacity until the skin tones look even. The entire image may start to lose contrast, but we will fix this later. For now, focus on the skin tones.

Layer Settings

Step 4

The skin tone looks more even now, but the Invert adjustment layer affected the entire image. We need to use a layer mask to hide the effect. Before we can do that, we need to create a selection of the skin. There are many ways to create a selection:

  • Quick Selection Tool
  • Magic Wand Tool
  • Lasso Tool
  • Color Range Selector

The tool you use depends on the image you are editing. For the image used in this tutorial, the Color Range selector is the quickest way to create the selection. The Color Range selector may be found in the Select menu.

Photoshop Color Range

Step 5

Now that we have a selection of the skin, press Shift+Ctrl+I to inverse the selection or open the Select menu and click Inverse.

Select Inverse

Step 6

Make sure that the layer mask is activated. There should be a white thumbnail around the layer mask. Press delete to erase the contents in the selection and now the layer mask should have the skin in white and everything else in black.

Detele Mask Photoshop

Step 7

If you used the Color Range selector to create the selection, you may need to do further editing. To make this step easier, hold the Alt key and click on the layer mask to view the layer mask in the document window. In the image below, I used the Eraser tool to erease the hair and used the brush tool to paint the skin. Minor flaws won't be noticable so you don't have to be overly precise when painting.

Before and After Layer Mask

Step 8

We're done smoothing out the uneven tones, but the overall skin tone has been altered. To fix this, we'll add a Levels adjustment layer to darken the skin back to the natural tone. Click on the Adjustment Layer Button button in the layers pallet and select Levels.

Levels Adjustment Layer

Step 9

In the Levels window, adjust the middle input slider until the skin tone looks correct. A good area to look at while adjusting is the face.

Before and After Photoshop Levels

Final Results

Move your cursor over the images to see the unedited photo.

Flat Skin Photoshop Tutorial
Flat Skin Photoshop Tutorial

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