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Lesson 4. Retouching and Repairing > Retouching on a separate layer

Retouching on a separate layer

In the previous project, you safeguarded your retouching work by using snapshots and the History Brush tool. Another way to protect your original image is to do your retouching work on a duplicate layer of the original image. Then, you can retouch the duplicate layer. When you finish retouching, you can blend the two layers. This technique usually enhances the results, making your touchup work look more natural and realistic.

Using the Healing Brush on a duplicate layer

For this project, you’ll work on a portrait photograph.

1.
Choose Window > Workspace > Reset Palette Locations to move, reopen, and resize any palette groups that you rearranged in the previous project.

2.
Use the Go to Bridge button () on the tool options bar, and double-click the 04C_Start.psd thumbnail to open the file in Photoshop.

3.
In the Layers palette, drag the Background layer onto the New Layer button () at the bottom of the palette to create a duplicate layer. Double-click the new layer, type Retouch, and press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) to rename it; leave the Retouch layer selected.

4.
In the toolbox, select the Healing Brush tool (), which may be hidden under the Patch tool ().

5.
On the tool options bar, open the Brush pop-up palette and set the brush diameter to 12 pixels. Close the palette and select the Aligned check box. Leave the other settings at their defaults (Normal selected as the Mode option and Sampled selected for Source).

Notice the two wrinkles running horizontally across the man’s forehead. (Zoom in if necessary.)

6.
Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and click a smooth area of the forehead, on the left side of the image, to set the sample point. Then, drag the Healing Brush tool over the lower of the two forehead wrinkles.

As you drag, the painted pixels don’t exactly match the subject’s natural skin tones. When you release the mouse button, however, the colors self-correct so that the wrinkle is covered and the skin looks quite natural.

7.
Continue painting with the Healing Brush tool to remove the upper forehead wrinkle and the furrow line between the eyebrows.

EXTRA CREDIT Try using the Spot Healing Brush on this image and compare the results.


Patching and softening using the separate layer

You’ll continue to do cosmetic work on the portrait image using the Patch tool and the duplicate layer (Retouch) you created in the previous exercise. Make sure that the Retouch layer is selected in the Layers palette before you begin.

1.
In the toolbox, select the Patch tool (), hidden under the Healing Brush tool ().Then, drag a marquee around the wrinkles under the subject’s right eye, outside the eyeglasses.

2.
Move the Patch tool inside the selected area and drag it to a smooth, similarly toned area on the man’s forehead. Then, use the same technique to erase the wrinkles inside the glasses under the right eye, and inside and outside the glasses under the left eye.

3.
Continue to touch up the subject’s face with the Patch tool until most of the wrinkles are hidden, or at least softened.

It is especially important that cosmetic touchups on the human face look as natural as possible. There’s an easy way to make sure that your corrections aren’t too smooth or plastic looking. You’ll do that now.

4.
In the Layers palette, change the Opacity value of the Retouch layer to 65%. Now, hints of the heaviest skin creases appear in the image, giving the enhanced image a convincing realism.

Lee Unkrich

5.
Click the eye icon () to toggle the Retouch layer off and on to see the difference between the original image and the corrected one.

Look at the two numbers on the status bar, just to the right of the zoom percentage, at the bottom of the image window. (If you don’t see two numbers, click the right-pointing arrow and choose Show > Document Sizes.) The first number (ours is about 6.18 MB) represents the size the file would be if the two layers were flattened into onelayer. The second number (ours is about 12.4 MB) shows the current size of the file with its two layers. However, after you flatten the image, you cannot separate the two layers again. When you are sure that you are satisfied with the results of your retouching efforts, it’s smart to take advantage of the space-saving of flattening.

6.
Choose Layer > Flatten Image, or choose Flatten Image on the Layers palette menu.

7.
Choose File > Save.

Now the image has just one layer, combining the unaltered original background and the partly transparent retouched layer.

Congratulations; you’ve finished your work on this lesson. Close any open files.

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