If there is a question I get asked the most about my retouching approach in Photoshop, it's: "how do you achieve your skin tone?" While I, of course, appreciate the acknowledgement, I also wondered how I could create an action in Photoshop that would help me streamline my usual skin tone workflow. After a while, I came up with something I thought worked well and decided to give it away to you. Check it out!
The term "skin tone" is, curiously enough, wildly open-ended in terms of what various photographers and artists think it means. To some, it means perfected skin, as in skin clean (healing, dodge and burn, etc.). To others, it means the actual color of the skin. And yet, for others, it means both of those things, or even some other abstract idea of "skin tone."
To me, skin tone is about color consistency, contrast, and clarity. Whether it's a lot or a little of each, I believe it to be a culmination of those attributes.
The video above will give you a rundown on how NBP Skin Action works, and seeing how I use it should be very helpful in understanding how to leverage it yourself in the best way possible. That said, there are some points you should know about before you use it:
- Use the NBP Skin Action after your skin cleanup in Photoshop, but before your final color work.
- You should have your color correction mostly done before using NBP Skin, ideally in raw.
- The NBP Skin Action assumes warm skin tones are your preference, but can be modified to accommodate cooler skin tones if you wish.
The before and after images above show what's possible with the setup that NBP Skin automatically creates for you in Photoshop. Be sure to watch the video to see how I recommend using it, but I would love to hear how it's working for you and how you use it, too.
Enjoy and happy skin-toning!