JHP Action Review - Retouch

Sunday, October 3, 2010

For part two of my JHP Photoshop Actions review--Retouch Lab, I used a close-up up my daughter Katie I took at the playground. One of the few times she actually stood still for a picture :D

I used a number of actions from the set, so I thought I'd list the steps showing how I got to the final image. This set has a number of other actions as well, like beautify and tanning bed, that will be great for dramatic fashion-type shots. There are several skin smoothing and refinement actions, so you'll be sure to find one that's just right for many different looks. As with the last review, hover your mouse over the picture to see the before image. Click here for a larger view.

Read on for the how-to:

Since this was a lot of trial and error, as I wasn't sure which actions to use, I created a Snapshot after every action I wanted to keep so I could go back.
  1. Open your image and make some basic corrections before starting. I created a new layer and used the healing brush to remove the flyaway hair from Katie's face (see the before picture).
  2. Merge down. 
  3. Crop your image.
  4. Next, I used the Skin Refinement action and masked out the hair, eyes, teeth and lips.
  5. Then I used Skin Retouch Advanced and lowered the opacity to 20%. I also masked the hair, eyes, teeth and lips.
  6. I moved on to the Eye Popper action and worked on the mask with a soft brush set to 100% opacity and a color dodge blending mode. Then I changed to the dodge tool using highlights at 55%. I made the brush size about the size of the pupils and l clicked once on each eye and then lowered the opacity of the mask to about 75%.
  7. Then I flattened the image.
  8. I wanted to bring out the eyes a bit more, so I used the Sparkle Eyes action next and lowered the opacity to 87%.
  9. To bring out the face, I ran Blissful Glow from the Creative Lab set. I set the opacity at about 35% and masked out the eyes and teeth. 
  10. Next, I used the Light/Dark action to lighten the face and darken the hair (Katie's hair is a beautiful black and was looking a bit brown at this point). I used a soft brush at very low opacity (about 15%) and built it up as needed.
  11. Then I flattened the image again.
  12. To darken the edges a little, I added a new layer and filled it with 50% grey.
  13. I selected the gradient tool and used a radial gradient, foreground to background (black to white) and clicked the reverse checkbox. Start in the middle, click and drag to the edge. Then I changed the blend mode to Soft Light and added a layer mask to bring back the eyes.
  14. Next I saved the image as a jpeg
  15. For the larger image, which you can see when you click on the image above, I used MCP Finish It Action set's Build It Color Block and added my logo.
Phew, that was kind of a long one. Next up will be the Color Lab Set. Remember to check out the free actions at JHP and if you decide to purchase the Complete Set, here is the 15% discount code again 8473988B

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