A Guide to Retouching Using Frequency Separation

Frequency separation is one of the most powerful retouching tools you can use, but it takes careful technique and restraint to do it correctly. This excellent video tutorial will show you how you can incorporate frequency separation into your post-processing workflow.

Coming to you from Eli Infante, this helpful video will show you how to use frequency separation for retouching portraits. Frequency separation is a controversial technique, particularly because it is very easy to overdo it, and this can lead to very plastic-looking, artificial images. Many top retouchers have stopped using it in their work, instead preferring more traditional dodging and burning. However, dodging and burning is a very time-consuming process, and if you need to be more efficient, frequency separation and a combination of other techniques (such as the Healing Brush and Clone Stamp) can still produce very good results, acceptable for most applications. As with any such technique, the best advice is to use it in moderation; take time to step away for a few minutes after you finish an edit, then come back to it with a fresh set of eyes to reevaluate your work. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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5 Comments

Pierre Boudoir's picture

OK. but.... It's always worth to repeat again and again - don't overuse. Human skin is not an uniform material. Stop the horses. Calm down and keep human skin - human. Please.

So all you do is find videos, and write two quick paragraphs about them?

Crina Prida's picture

Frequency separation is a good retouching method, but overdoing it is worse than not using it at all. Oddly enough, the guy who gives this tutorial obviously knows exactly what every tool in Photoshop does, but unfortunately is pushing it way way too far, so the result is far from natural.

He would get much more optimized results if he had Live Preview of the result like in NBP Freqsep Control.
Otherwise it is really hard to optimize the parameters for really good results.