How to Edit People

Entering the world of Photoshop can be an intimidating endeavor. Photoshop allows the photographer unlimited potential. You can touch up pictures, transfer one part of an image onto another, or transform your picture into a perfect cartoon image. Due to vast potential that Photoshop offers, learning how to use the software can be an intimidating and at times frustrating process. Fear not, with a few free tutorials orsome Photoshop classes, and some practice you will be using Photoshop like a pro.  This free tutorial will focus on how to touch up portraits or pictures with people.

Opening the Image with Photoshop

1)      Click on the Photoshop Icon on your desktop.

2)      Click on the File menu and then scroll down to select Open.

3)      Locate the picture on your computer and then click the Open button.

Duplicating the Image

You should always as a rule create a duplicate of an image before beginning to manipulate it. It is always a good idea to leave the original untouched just in case you accidentally make a mistake that would ruin the original version.

Duplicating an image involves saving the document under a new name. You do this by returning to the File menu. And then selecting Save As. Once the new window shows up rename the document and select the folder where you would like to store your images. Click Okto save the new image. You can do this before or after you have changes an image, but I would recommend resaving under a new name before. You may forget if you choose to wait.

Layering as an Additional Duplication Method

Before beginning to manipulate the image create a duplicate layer of the original image by selecting control- J or go to the Layers Panel and right click over the original image. Choose Duplicate Layer. Make sure that the Duplicate Layer is selected before making any changes. This will ensure that the original image remains unchanged as you edit the image.

Smoothing Out the Skin

By smoothing out the skin you can even out an images skin tone or diminish the number of freckles in the picture with the Surface Blur tool.

1)      You select the blur tool by going to the File-Blur-Surface Blur or Filter-Blur-Surface Blur.

2)      A Surface Bluemenu will pop up. Change the Radius to 22 and the Threshold to 2-6. Depending on the picture you may need to tweak the numbers in order to make the skin look realistic.Too much Threshold and Radius could blur the image too much.

3)      If certain areas of the image seem to be too blurred try changing the Layer Blend Mode of the Duplicate Layer to Lighten. The Blend Mode is adjacent to Capacity and Fill on the Layer Menu.

Fixing Blemishes

Now that the skin looks smoother, you can work on removing any very obvious blemishes like pimples or scars. In order to fix blemishes you can use the spot healing brush.

Spot Healing Brush

1)      Create a new Layer.

2)      Go to the Tool Palette and select the Spot Healing Brush. The spot healing brush is grouped with the other healing tools. You are either looking for an icon of a Band-Aid, an eye, or a patch. Press down on the icon for a second. A menu should pop up. Click on the Spot Healing Brush Tool.

3)      Due to the fact that the spot healing brush tool works only on one layer as a default, you need to go to the Options Bar at the top of the screen.Once there click Sample All Layers.

4)      Go to a blemish and use the right and left bracket keys to adjust the size of the tool. The tool should be just barely bigger than the blemish. Click on the blemish and the tool will replace the blemished area with the texture from the surrounding area. Due to the fact that where the new texture comes from is random, the tool sometimes chooses less than desirable skin to replace the blemished skin with. In this case go to the “That Looks Hideous” section of this article to learn how to undo the changes.

5)      You can increase the efficiency of the tool by going to the option menu and switching the tool’s mode from Normal to Lighten or Darken depending on whether the blemish is darker or lighter than the normal skin tone. If you set the mode to darker because the blemish is darker, it will only replace the darker areas of the skin selected. This will ensure the changes look natural.

That Looks Hideous

As beginning Photoshoppers you are bound to make mistakes that make the people in your images look demented or diseased once in a while. There are a few methods that can be used to undo changes to the document.

1)      Click on the File menu and then Scroll down to revert. This will revert the image to the original untouched state.

2)      You can delete the changes you made by pressing Control-Alt-Z or going to Edit-Undo. Either is useful if you want to undo the last few changes you have made to the picture.

Hopefully by the end of this tutorial you feel a little better about your Photoshop capabilities. This is only the beginning. By the time you have learned all you can about Photoshop; you will have dozens to hundreds of different methods to improve the pictures you have painstakingly taken.

Owen Oliver is writer and designing consultant that enjoys snapping pictures and then touching them up on Photoshop. When he isn’t taking his own pictures, he writes on behalf of American Graphics Institute.

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