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Lesson 18 from: Photo Editing in Lightroom Classic for The Photo Enthusiast

Jared Platt

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Lesson Info

18. Retouching

Learn how to retouch in Lightroom Classic with the Spot Healing Brush. You will be surprised how much you can do in Lightroom without ever going to Photoshop.

Lesson Info


now a lot of you have been waiting patiently for a human to appear. So now we're going to talk about retouching skin and working on people. And this is a client. So this is an engagement session that I did. But I've already adjusted the image so you can see that the image is adjusted so it's all ready to go. But it's not retouched. We haven't done anything. So when we zoom in and look at her skin, you can see that there's it's a little bit rough And it's not because she has rough skin. It's just that we're seeing too much detail in the skin. And so if I go over to the detail area, you'll notice that the sharpening is at 40 And that's wrong. So light room tends to want to put things at 40, I don't know why, but that's where they put it. And I think it's because uh maybe they think that the majority of people using lightroom are going to be using it for landscape and things like that. So 40 looks pretty good with the landscape, although sometimes it looks a little too sharp. However, if ...

we take that 40 down to about 20 or 25, it actually softens up the skin quite a bit. It's a much more pleasing way to look at skin. Um so we don't need that sharpening all the way at 40 and then we can take the radius up if we want. And that will help to kind of Add some sharpness to the eyebrows and the eyelashes and the sparkle in the eyes, the hair stuff like that. And so that that's my preference when I'm working with people is somewhere around 20 or 25 on sharpening and then somewhere above 1.5 on my radius. And that's generally what I deal with when I'm dealing with people. So the next thing I want to do when I'm dealing with people's skin is I want to go up and remove any of those blemishes. So I'm gonna go and click on the blemish removal tool, which is called the spot healing brush. I'm going to click on that brush and I'm gonna use the opacity of 100% And I'm going to feather it, not all the way up, but just kind of like maybe 70% something like that. And now I can use my bracket keys to change the size of the brush and I'm gonna go make it pretty small and I'm just gonna start collecting, I just click on places where I see a blemish and it's going to choose an appropriate spot to get rid of that blemish. And I can keep changing the size of the brush. And I'm really just looking for those areas of the skin that are a little that that call attention to themselves. So I'm just kind of scanning through and looking for those and then I'm also going to look for fly away hairs and I'm not one to be worried too much about fly away hairs. But when they kind of encroach on the face a little bit, I'll just draw across them and that's all I need to do. So you just click and drag and that draws across the hair and then it finds an appropriate place and you can always move off of the screen and it'll show what it looks like without the pins. But these pins can sometimes get in your way as well, like if I want to get rid of this, see how the pin doesn't want to go away. So you can always come down to the tool area here and you can click on this tool overlay option and change it to never when you do that, then it doesn't show the overlays when you're there. And so now I can go in and grab onto this hair that was before unavailable to me and it just found a place for it. Now if, if you want, you can always go back to the tulle overlay and say Otto and it'll show you where it's selected from because sometimes you have to actually see that. So let's go back to never. And I'm just going to draw here And you see it chose the wrong space on that one. So as you look at it, see it chose another hair that it repeated. So I need to come into here and hit auto and then find where it chose which is here and I just need to move it off of that space. So you just click on the place that it stole from and you can move it anywhere you want, you can move it out to here and see how it creates that hair. So I just move it away from the other hairs and then it does fine. So let's just keep looking around for other things that we want to remove. I want to remove that area right there, see that little wrinkle there. I want to get rid of that because it calls attention to itself. I see it from a distance. So I got to get rid of it and then I'm gonna do the same thing right there. I'm just getting rid of things that call attention to themselves when I'm looking at them from a distance. So then I'll just zoom back out and look. And then the other thing that I can do in addition to removing entire things like a blemish or a hair, I can also soften things up. So for instance, if you look here, this isn't a big deal, but there's a little bit of a shadow right there. And so I'm just going to increase the size of my brush and I'm just gonna draw over the top of that shadow just like that and then it's selected an area and it selected the wrong area. So now we're gonna go and click on auto and we're going to go find where it's selected. And I can just grab that selection and move it somewhere. Doesn't matter where really, as long as it doesn't have a lot of texture to it and I can put it there and it looks really weird. So you're thinking that looks awful. Just wait. So once you've selected a smooth area of skin, then if you come up to the spot editing area and you grab onto opacity and bring it down to zero C. Now it's not there anymore. And now we're just going to bring it in a few percentages at a time. See that. So now we're making that little soft place go away or that little shadowy place go away by adding some kind of a soft texture over the top of it. Now, I'm not really thrilled with this skin patch because it's not smooth. So I can also click on this and just drag off here like that. And so I'm just collecting a smooth area and now I can just increase see that, see how I'm smoothing out that. Because what it does is it takes the smoothness of this area, places it over the top of the skin and then takes all the color and the shade from this area and places it over the top. So it combines the two together smoothness from over here adds it to here, takes all the color that in it replaces the color to the smoothness and that's what you get. So it's combining all that stuff together and it really softens things up. So you can actually do that anywhere you see kind of a rough skin or if you see some kind of shadow that shouldn't be there, you can always do that, grab onto it, drag it off to the smoothest area you can find and then just kind of play with the opacity until it just barely softens it. And that's a really good way to help get rid of bags under the eyes or wrinkles. If you have some wrinkles here. Um laugh lines, things like that. You don't want to completely remove them because that's the structure of the face, but you can soften them really easily with this tip. So now that we've finished removing blemishes now we want to go in and work on the actual consistency of the skin. So I'm gonna go to our masking tool and I'm going to click on the brush and I am just going to increase the size of the brush. I'm showing the mask overlay so you can see what I'm doing. Double clicking the effects so that we're back to zero and I'm just going to paint over the top of her face and I don't have to be super accurate about it. I just have to make sure that I get the whole thing. So now that her face is selected, I'm going to oh and the flow was at zero or at 50. So really I like the flow to be at 100 so that I just get the whole thing selected and then I can do the same thing to her hand right there. Um And then I'm again remember we've got all these rules that we've figured out. So I've got my first rule which is this area, the second rule is going to intersect with the first rule and it's going to be a color range. I'm gonna draw across her forehead and now it's selected everything away from her hair, see how her eyebrows are. Not in the equation, neither are her eyes, neither are her lips. And so if I go down here you see that it d selected the coat and it did a pretty good job but there's still a little bit of change here so you can see that it it starts to deselect here um along her cheek edge and that's because it's a different color. And so I have two options. I can either add that color by hitting shift and then kind of just draw over the top of it and see how it spills a little bit. But once I do that then I need to come over to this refined edge area and I can click on that refine edge slider and I can go down with it so that it starts taking away from that selection or the other option is I can undo that and undo my little selection of this area here and I can go to the range and I can increase the range and it just spills over a little bit. So I'm just telling it to spill past its boundaries and that works. So I like the selection that I've got. Now I can go in and subtract from the selection with a brush And I'm so glad I'm subtracting 100%. And then I just come into her eyes and just remove anything that I see like spilling over in her eyes. Or maybe I want to remove right next to her hair so I can do that. And if I want to be super accurate about it I can also click on the a key which turns on the auto mask and then I can come in here and do this and it won't select her skin. It'll just select her hair. So you can see how I'm coming in and selecting that looks good. Oh I see how this turtleneck was selected. But I can come in and remove it because I have auto mask on. All right so now we have a perfect selection of her face. It didn't take us very long to do it. So now I just need to tell it what to do. So I'm going to turn off the mask overlay and I'm going to go down to the texture and texture we discussed on bricks is great when you go positive. But texture on skin is great when you go negative. So we're gonna take the texture of the skin down and watch what happens. It's quite amazing. I'm gonna zoom into 100% so you can see and I'm gonna do texture down with that. So beautiful. I love it. That's what it was. That's what it is. And she still has pores and she still looks great. It doesn't change anything about her face. She doesn't look like a plastic doll. She just looks better, softer skin, looking better, zoom back out awesome. Love it. Love it. Love it. So, when you're working on people, you also have the opportunity to use masks. Um But here's a tip and this is a really important tip. Make sure that you remove the blemishes first and then do the masking. Because if you do the masking and then you start doing the blemishes, what happens is the blemish removal tool has to not only compute the skin and putting the skin over the other skin, but it also has to compute the mask that you've made and the adjustments you've made to the mask. So every time you ask light room to re compute a piece of skin, it's not just computing that piece of skin. It's computing that piece of skin plus About 15 rules and a whole bunch of adjustment sliders and then it's figuring out the skin and putting it all together and it takes forever. So it's very slow. Um so if you are seeing a slowdown when you're doing spot removals, check and make sure your masks are off and you can always do that. You can go to your masks. If you did the masks, you can go to the masks and turn them off and then do your work and then come back and turn the masks on and it will re compute everything. So just be aware that your mask will slow down the healing brush. But the healing brush doesn't slow down the mask. So do the mask last. Now I showed you this image where we had added grain so that we could kind of obscure all of the blemishes. So if I turn the grain off and you can always turn any panel off by clicking on this little toggle. So I'm gonna turn off the effects panel and you can see that I without the grain, you actually see all of the blemishes. But if you're going to keep the grain on, as long as you're not going to Photoshop, if you're going to Photoshop, make sure you turn the grain off and then go to Photoshop because if you're in Photoshop where you're not, you're no longer working on vector kind of stuff, you're working on pixels and if you copy pixels of grain to overwrite other pixels of grain, you create weird patterns and so you can do what I'm about to do in lightroom but you can't do it if you go to Photoshop it, it's a little weird. So make sure that you're only working in raw when you're playing with grain like this, but you turn on the grain and now I can see where the blemishes are that I actually need to work on because I don't need to work on all of these blemishes because they don't show up when I have grain. So I'm going to turn the grain on first And then I will go over to my healing tool, turn it to 100% opacity. And then I'm just going to look at the places that I see through the grain like here and here and then I see right here. I need to drag that over to there and I see another two right there and then I see one right layer below her nose. And so I'm going to get that one and then every once in a while I just pulled my cursor off of the screen so that I can look and see it without all of these pins all over the place. And so everything looks pretty good. I don't see any up here. So I'm going to get this one and I'm going to increase the size of my brush and get that one And I'm going to get that one and I'm gonna get this here, Oh I don't want it to copy your hair and I think that's all I need to do. So as I zoom out, oh there's a little bit over here on this other side right here. So I'm just gonna grab onto this one right here and make sure it's collecting from the right place and I'm going to grab this little line right here, just like that, oops, wrong place there. So that's let's zoom out here, look at that. So I didn't need to retouch every place because I already know that I can't see those through the grain. So if you're going to leave the grain on and you, it's going to be a black and white image with grain or it's gonna be a color image with grain, if the grain is helping to obscure something that you're not gonna see, don't worry about fixing it because you don't need to fix it. And so just fix the things that you can see through the grain. Another point to make on that same line is if you're going to only print this thing at four by six, You don't have to do as much retouching to something as if you're going to print it to 16 x 20. And so if this image is only going to be that small, I don't need to do hardly anything to it. But if it's going to be the size of my monitor, which is, this is a 27 inch monitor, so maybe this is 15 inches if that's how big it's going to be then Yeah, maybe I need to do some more retouching to it and so pay attention to how big the image is going to be before you do a lot of work on it because if it's small you don't need to. And the last thing I remember, we've done the retouching to it, we've done the grain, but we can still go in and click on our mask and we can choose to make a mask of her face just like this. It's on auto mask. So it was trying to select around stuff and now I'm just going to intersect. And even though I am looking at a black and white image, there's still color information underneath it. So I'm just going to select her skin and that helps to select the skin itself. I'm going to go into the range and expand it a little bit so that it goes out beyond her head there, a little into those shadows. And then I'm just, I like where I am. There just subtract brush. And then once I've subtracted the brush, I just have to go in and get a smaller brush so that I can get rid of the softness on her eyes on her eyebrows, whoops spilled over there like that and a little bit on her hair. So I'm just gonna kind of go like this on her hair and down here and there. So I like the selection now I'm just going to smooth her skin and I'm gonna go double click the effect, remove the overlay and then I'm going to go into the texture and bring it down, see that. So I made a really soft texture and and the grain is still on top of the texture. And so now as I scroll in you can see the grain is still there but I soften the skin below the grain. So let me show you the difference this is before and this is after pretty subtle If I wanted to I could make it more pronounced. See that that's beef that's after, that's before after before after before. But the great thing is that grain still gives you that feeling that you actually have uh kind of a skin texture. Even though if you turned off the grain you would end up with a very smooth skin. The grain helps to create the texture to the skin. So we we don't want it to be there. So we're gonna go back to the mask and we're gonna pull the texture back out so that we do have some texture but see how beautiful her skin looks. And it's just a matter of adding grain. Getting rid of a couple blemishes and then masking your skin And adding a negative texture between say 25 and 40. And so that is a really easy way to make someone's skin look very beautiful, very healthy and very quickly

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Ratings and Reviews

Byron Sieber

Jared does an excellent job at taking a subject and breaking it down step by step. He includes great explanations along the way to help you understand why he is doing something. His results, which are great photos, speak for themselves.


Excellent class with great detail on the new Masking tools! Thanks, Jared!

Michael Grosso

Excellent overview of the features included in the most recent upgrade of Adobe Lightroom. Very practical applications are covered at a very good pace. Thank you!

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