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Video:Adjust Skin Tone in Photoshop CS5

with Matthew Hendershot

Have a great photo that would look even better if the flash didn't make the subject's skin reminiscent of a vampire? Learn how to use the layer masks and adjustment layers to adjust the skin tone in an image with Photoshop CS5.See Transcript

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Transcript:Adjust Skin Tone in Photoshop CS5

There are many ways to make adjustments to skin tone in Photoshop CS5, but by utilizing layer masks, and image adjustments, even users with the most basic level of Photoshop skills can correct, or fine tune the appearance of skin and faces in an image.

Choose a Photo to Fine Tune

Here we have a very nice photograph shot with interesting framing and light, but we can see that our subjects face has a bit of a pale appearance and a slight blue hue due to the presence of natural light in the shot. We are going to use a layer mask, and an adjustment layer to correct this.

Select the Image

The first thing we need to do is select all of the image information that we would like to adjust, in this case, the skin of our subject. By using any of the selection tools you feel most comfortable with, select all of the subjects skin. Keep in mind, you can fine tune these selections by utilizing the shift and option key modifiers to add to or subtract from a selection, or you can make adjustments to the selection tolerance to make the automatic selection tools function with more, or if you like, less pixel precision.

Refine the Edges

Once we have our selection made to our liking, it is a good idea to refine the edge of the selection to feather the edge. A gradually adjusting edge will appear more natural when making color selections, as oppose to a hard pixel line, which could draw attention to more dramatic color adjustments. The necessary amount of feather you will need will depend on the resolution of your image, so experiment until you find an edge feather that looks most natural for your case.

Change the Photo Skin Tone

Now, navigate to the Adjustments Panel. Here you will find a large set of pixel image adjustments that can be applied to your image, including Brightness and Contrast, Exposure, and the one we are going to use for our purpose, Hue and Saturation.

In Photoshop CS5, just clicking the adjustment icon will create the adjustment layer, and if you have a selection made in your image, as we have now, a layer mask will automatically be applied so that the adjustment layer will only effect the image information inside of our selection. Now, any adjustments we make to the Hue, Saturation, or Lightness using the Adjustments Panel will affect only our desired skin area of our subject, and we can dial in a perfect skin tone to our image.

Remember, the layer mask itself is editable, so for instance, here we can see a bit of a hard line where our mask boundary exists, that causes our adjustment to look unnatural. By selecting the layer mask itself in the Layers menu, edits can be made to refine the mask and eliminate any unnatural appearance.
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