Retouch Basics for Graphic Designers and Photographers

Retouch Basics for Graphic Designers and Photographers
Retouch Basics for Graphic Designers and Photographers

We've got important Photoshop techniques here for you, all focused on improving your photo manipulations and retouches. This tutorial will teach you how make skin smoother, and how to make charming eyes. By simply adjustment layers you will make better colors. Then, you will make grain on skin, to more realistic look.

Preview of Final Results

With this tutorial you will create amazing beauty retouch, which can be used in printed media - like in magazines, flyers, adverts and more. You can use this knowledge in your designs, or even if you are photographer! You'll need Photoshop CS5 or newer to follow this tutorial.


Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Open stock photo with the model. Duplicate it - drag layer to "New layer" symbol.


Step 2

Now you'll be working on duplicated layer. Choose Clone Stamp Tool. Use soft brush. Hold alt and pick cleaner fragments of skin. Then use stamp tool under her eyes, erase freckles and wrinkles. (Feel like plastic surgeon.) You should play with brush size.


Step 3

Go to her forehead. Also with clone stamp tool erase hair strands and wrinkles. Use smaller brush.


Step 4

Duplicate layer when clone tool was used. From top menu choose Blur > Gaussian blur.


Step 5

Add mask to this layer. Mask everything, but except face and neck. Mask eyes, hair, lips and nose. Facial features will be more detailed, than skin.


Step 6

Decrease opacity of this layer to 70%.


Step 7

Now her face is dolly-like. Add new layer. From top menu choose Filter > Noise > Add noise.


Step 8

Add mask to this layer. Fill it with black.


Step 9

Back to layer with blur. Hold alt and click on mask.


Select all (ctrl + A), then copy (ctrl + c) selected area.

Step 10

Go to noise layer. With alt holding click mask and paste copied mask (Ctrl + V).


Step 11

Decrease opacity of this layer to 3%. Then change blending mode to overlay. Skin will be look like real.


Step 12

Add new layer. Pick Big, soft brush and use #d0b3a6 color. Draw some strokes on her face - where skin isn't perfect.


Step 13

If it's needed, choose from top menu Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur.


Step 14

Change blending mode of this layer to Soft light. It will make skin lighter.


Step 15

Back to grain layer Duplicate it.


Step 16

Place layer on the top. Change blending mode to Divide, change opacity to 8%.


Step 17

Add adjustment layer - Brightness/Contrast. Set it as shown.


Step 18

Cool! Now fill mask with black. Then, with soft, big brush draw some strokes on her skin.


Step 19

It's time to add make-up. I think her blonde hair would be suit to blue eyeshadow. Add new layer. Pick soft brush and decrease opacity of it to 50%. Draw gently eyeshadows.


Step 20

Change blending mode of this layer to Hue. Decrease opacity to 53%. It will be base for eyeshadows.


Step 21

Create new layer. With the same brush settings and color, draw on the edges of an eye.


Step 22

Now change blending mode of this layer to Hue. Again. :).


Step 23

For the smoky eyes effect, draw some shadows on the top of an eye. Use the same brush settings as in step 19.


Change this layer blending mode to Multiply.


Step 24

Add new layer. Change its blending mode to Multiply. Set smaller brush and draw edge of the eyelid (the same settings as in step 19, but size is 1-2px).


Step 25

If is needed, you can decrease opacity of created layer to 59%.


Step 26

Now you'll make eye iris. Add new layer. With soft, big, blue (#115279) brush, fill eye iris.


Step 27

Change blending mode to Color Dodge - iris will be brighter and more saturated.


Step 28

To avoid flatty color of an eye, add new layer. use small, soft brush and dark-brown color. Draw edges of an iris.


Now you can change its blendnig mode to Overlay.


Step 29

Add new layer. With small, brown brush make lashes longer. Use pressure opacity of brush to more real look. Arrows will guide you, how to draw lashes strokes.


Step 30

Time to make a lips! Add new layer. Create rough fill of lips. Use soft, pink brush - I used cold tone of pink, because I think it suit best for her.


Change blending mode of this layer to Soft Light.


Step 31

To give full lightning of her lips, add new layer and with soft, white brush draw strokes of light.


If you like this effect, you can leave, but I changed blending mode of this layer to Hard Light.


Step 32

Now you should make facial features harder. Add new layer. Pick soft, big brush, with dark-beige (#ac7d79) color. Fill edges of her face, add some strokes on eyelid.


Now change blending mode to Multiply - it will naturally fill her face. Decrease opacity to 51%.


Step 33

You'll make hair! In retouch is really important to increase the volume of hair. You can use simply strokes from Photoshop presets (1-2px), or you can find brushes to make hairs.

Hair brushes:


At first, you should make a darker base of hair.


Then, you should draw highlights on hair.


At the end, you should add neutral color of hair - to great blending.


Step 34

Add new layer. Pick soft, big brush, and set #9faf36 color. Draw dots on earring and necklace. It will add spectacular light from gems.


Change blending mode to Soft light, decrease opacity to 50%.


Step 35

Add adjustment layer with brightness/contrast.


Step 36

Now decrease saturation, by adding adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation.


Step 37

Now you'll make contrast bigger by adjustment layer with Brightness/Contrast.


Step 38

Optional, but really nice - add adjustment layer with color balance.


Step 39

At the end create new layer. Choose Sharpen tool and draw on the edges of her face, on her hair, on her nose, lips and eyes. Model will be more realistic and eye-catching. It's very important to do this at the end - otherwise you can make colours and sharpen ugly.


Final Results


Download the PSD

[vc_column width="1/1" el_position="first last"] [vc_cta_button title="Download" href="" color="btn" size="btn-large" icon="none" target="_self" position="cta_align_right" call_text="Beauty | 60.2 MB" width="1/1" el_position="first last"] [/vc_column]

Tutorial by msRiotte

profileThank you for following this tutorial! You are amazing. Write if you have questions! :). Personally I am graphic designer from Poland. See my portfolio here: I'm also on facebook: here!

- msRiotte

17 comments on “Retouch Basics for Graphic Designers and Photographers”

  1. Ich hatte der Zeit nur mitbekommen, er sollte sein amateur dreier Studium Amerika gemacht und Japan für einen Elektronikkonzern gearbeitet haben.

  2. Directions are very unclear. Fragmented sentence and simple directions does not provide the correct way to navigate through photoshop at all. I was very hard to follow these directions without knowing every single little tool in photoshop. Photoshop fucks you up if you don't have everything exactly correct.

  3. Looks just like an advertisement! Very well done. This has certainly given me some good clues into photo retouching.

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