Beauty retouching isn’t anything new, yet it can be a long and tedious process that may not be so easy to pick up right away. If you are looking into doing it yourself versus contracting it out but are not sure were to start, you can find yourself going through plenty of tutorials and videos that cover this editing process. Where do you begin?
Recently, full-time retoucher Sarah Tucker released her series of YouTube videos covering her complete editing process. This isn’t for someone who just installed Photoshop for the first time, but is instead aimed at people who are familiar enough with Photoshop to not need a beginner's lesson. This isn’t just a video were you watch her edit, either. Sarah does a great job of explaining what techniques she’s doing and her reasoning behind it.
I have watched several videos in the past when I was first learning, so a lot of the techniques where not new to me, a few were, and then some were a slightly different approach to the technique. With Photoshop, there isn’t one way to do a task, but several. You have to find the one that works best for you while not taking too much time, either.
Sarah says she doesn’t often use frequency separation in her editing workflow because it tends to look flayed and paper on skin to her, but she still shows us how to go through the process in an area where it was the best option. There was a variation in her process through this technique that I never thought of before, and I would think its safe to assume many others didn’t use this method either. Instead of using Gaussian blur for the low layer in the technique as I have seen many times before, Sarah chooses to use Dust & Scratches to hold the edges better. I plan to try this variation out to see if I notice a difference in my future work.
Sarah does speed through some bits of her editing, but as you can see, it is relatively a long process that is non-destructive which I think is a preferred way to edit your work. There are a few other little things I picked up from this series. I suggest to watch the series and see if there’s anything that you pick up that could improve or speed up your beauty retouching. Lots of professionals use the same techniques to a certain degree with their own style added to it. Learn what you can and add your own mix and style to your work.
Videos in the series:
- 01- Blemish Removal - Remove models, blemishes, and stray hairs
- 02- Hair Part 01 - Clean up fly-aways and add hair to eyelashes and eyebrows
- 03 - Hair Part 02 - Fill in gaps and add texture to hair
- 04- Micro Dodge and Burn - Use dodge and burn to remove skin imperfections.
- 05- Macro Dodge and Burn - Using dodge and burn to add dimension.
- 06- Enhancing Details - Add more contrast and highlights for more "pop"
- 07- Background Separation - Change the background color using channel mask
- 08- Finishing Touches - Add color grading with some final edits