Frequency separation separates skin textures like pores and lines from any colors and blemishes underneath. #retouching #photography
Frequency Separation Step-by-Step
Why use Frequency Separation when Retouching?
Retouching can be complicated if you're not sure how to use your tools correctly. Editing programs like Photoshop and Lightroom are filled with so many features that feeling overwhelmed might seem inevitable.
If you don't have the budget to hire a retoucher, or if you just want to become a better editor yourself, frequency separation is something that will significantly help you during the editing process.
Nobody's skin is perfect. Most of the time, skin is a natural home to blemishes, uneven tones, and unnatural sources of light.
If you've tried to fix these errors using tools like the Clone Stamp Tool and the Patch Tool in Photoshop, you're aware of how tedious the process is. Features like beauty marks and natural lines can be easily erased during this process, resulting in portraits that look too edited.
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Frequency separation separates skin textures like pores and lines from any colors and blemishes underneath. This makes it extremely easy to fix tones, discolorations, and patches of light without editing the pores out to create a “perfect” look.
With this tool, you can naturally enhance your portraits without losing precious skin textures. The results will be subtle yet effective. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to become a more professional skin retoucher with the help of frequency separation. Enjoy!
Add layers needed for your Frequency Separation; Blur and Texture Layers
Create two duplicate layers by pressing Ctrl(⌘) + J twice on your keyboard.
Name the first layer Blur and the second Texture. Click on the Blur layer and go to Blur > Gaussian Blur. Choose an amount that looks natural enough but still hides any blemishes. Make sure you don't go overboard!
As you can see, the blemishes are less evident now. We'll perfect this later.
Next, click on your Texture layer and go to Image > Apply Image. A small window will pop up.
In the Layer section, choose your Blur layer. Set Scale to 2, and Offset to 128 (this is just a mathematical procedure that works the same with every photograph, so remember these settings).
Change the Blending mode to Subtract. Your photo should look grey with sharp outlines in certain areas.
Change your Texture's blending mode to Linear Light. This will allow your image to look normal again.
Time to start Retouching – Working with the Blur layer
Once you're done, click on your Blur layer. Using the Lasso tool (L), select any area on your subject's skin that requires fixing.
Once your selection is ready, go to Blur > Gaussian Blur, and choose an amount that naturally blends any tones or blemishes.
Repeat this step until you're happy with your subject's skin tones.
And remember! Even a small amount of blur creates a huge difference.
Working with the Texture layer
Now it's time to work on the textures of the face. Textures include features like wrinkles, lines, and pores. You can work with either the Patch Tool or the Clone Stamp Tool at this stage. If you're going to work with the Clone Stamp, make sure the sample is set to Current Layer (as pictured above) so that any changes you make don't affect the Blur layer. Additionally, you can work with the Clone Stamp in the Blur layer if you have any specific blemishes you wish to remove.
As you can see, many blemishes have been removed without ruining the skin texture. This method is great for photographers who want to edit skin very subtly.
As you retouch your image, make sure you compare your progress to the original file (this can be done by placing your layers in a folder which you can hide).
When it comes to subtle changes, it can be very easy to ignore how overedited your image looks, so make sure to occasionally check. This way, your editing process will be smooth, efficient, and fun!
And here is the final product!
Use a Photoshop Action to speed up the Frequency Separation Process
Frequency separation involves several complicated steps which might overwhelm anyone, even photography experts. To make the process easier for you, I've created a Photoshop action which will skip the first three steps of the process, allowing you to instantly retouch skin without worrying about getting the numbers wrong. To use your action, go to Window > Actions > click on the arrow with the four horizontal lines on its right > Load Actions… > Select your downloaded file. Expand the folder, click on Frequency Separation Action, and click on the play icon at the bottom of the Actions window. You'll be able to work on your image within seconds!
Good luck and never stop learning!Frequency Separation is so cool! Check it out! • #photography #photoshop Click To Tweet