How to Use the Modern Frequency Separation Method in Photoshop

For those who have been editing portraits in Adobe Photoshop for a while, frequency separation is likely something you'll be aware of. If you haven't, it is a technique used for skin retouching. The most modern way of performing this technique is better and easier than ever.

When I first started looking into skin retouching for my portraits, I had frequency separation tutorials (written not video, unfortunately!) fired at me and I went about learning what that technique does and how to use it effectively. Within a few years — and sometime after I'd really put the hours in to master it — I was then told it was awful and I should never use it again.

The truth was and is this: as with most techniques in photography, too much will make your images worse. Many people were using frequency separation to blast past the removal of blemish and the smoothing of skin, and into the realms of a textureless uncanny valley. This garnered the technique some negative press, but it has remained an effective method for skin retouching if you use it in moderation.

In this video, Unmesh Dinda from PiXimperfect goes through frequency separation using the new tools in Photoshop and how much better, easier, and quicker it has become.

Rob Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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-(written not video, unfortunately!)

The opposite. Please get back to written descriptions. Videos suck on almost all fronts.