Skin Retouching Workflow
Once you’re ready to retouch the individual areas that you masked, open the Skin Retouching panel (leave this one turned on) and Skin Tune panel (turn this one off initially), as shown in Figure 6. It may also be helpful to collapse the Facial Features panel and turn it off so that the only changes shown are those generated from the open and active panels. To use a split view, choose your preferred split from the View > Preview Area Mode Options sub-menu.
The main purpose of the Skin Retouching panel is to provide controls that help mitigate the visibility of common skin “flaws” like facial blemishes, moles or freckles, shine, shadows, and wrinkles. The degree to which you do this is a subjective choice. Typically I start these settings at or near zero, and one by one I set them from top to bottom.
Figure 6 The Skin Retouching and Skin Tune panels, in concert with the Skin Refine Brush, help to mitigate the visibility of common skin flaws.
The Skin Tune panel works to modify the overall tonality and color of the skin, either so that it looks more natural and even, or so that it matches the artistic goals of the people who will use the portrait.
For this shot, because there weren’t many blemishes to speak of, I reduced the default Blemishes value down to about 35. This was the point at which some minor correction became visible, but not so much as to over-soften skin texture. Next I checked the effect of the Smoothing setting (which is primarily how the plugin fades wrinkles and lines), between values of 40 and 60, and settled on a value closer to 50, as shown in Figure 7. Note that some minor details like pores are faint but still visible, maintaining an element of realism.
Figure 7 The results after the Blemishes and Smoothing values were customized.
Because there was not a lot of shine visible on the nose or cheeks, the Shine setting did not have a significant impact here; I left it set to 0. The Shadows setting did remove some of the dark lines around the eyes and mouth, but only at high values in this case, so I set it close to 90. The Texture setting aims to add a bit of “grit” back into skin tones that have become overly smooth. I typically do not use it, opting instead to use more subtle amounts of the other settings to the original texture remains.
The last step in the Skin Retouching process is to use the Skin Refine Brush to “add back” some of the lost skin details in selected areas[md]in this case, around the edges of the mouth, which had become too smooth. To do this, make sure the brush is selected and the Inspector open, and that Paint In mode is active. It may be a good idea to use a relatively large Feather value and also to lower the Opacity a bit, so there is a smooth transition between the areas you brush and those that aren’t brushed. The final Skin Retouching result is shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8 The final result of the Skin Retouching panel and Skin Refine Brush.