Skin retouching is an art form in itself, and there are thousands of different ways to retouch skin in Photoshop. Skin retouching is such an essential part of creating the final image in the beauty and fashion industry that there is a whole industry of artists who only specialize in skin retouching.
But for most of us, and for most of our clients, skin retouching doesn’t have to be to the same level as the beauty and fashion industry. Quick skin retouching doesn’t have to be lousy retouching either.
This video by one of my favorite Photoshop channels, PiXimperfect, not only provides a skin softening Photoshop action, but also provides an overview step by step of how the action works. I find this approach to be helpful even if I only ever use the action itself, and never do the steps myself without the action. Understanding what the action is doing helps me to make better decisions for inputs to the action. For example, in the video one of the steps of the action requires input from the user for the radius and threshold of the surface blur step. By understanding what this step is doing helps with selecting values for the radius and threshold for other images as each image is going to require its own unique values.
Of course, this video only addresses skin softening, and for complete skin retouching, many other items might need to be addressed like blemish removal, skin tones, hot spots to name a few. But for skin softening, I found this Photoshop action by PiXimperfect to be an easy general approach that provides good results.