There’s a ton of talk on Lovelyish about the horrors of Photoshop airbrushing. While I totally agree that sometimes, Hollywood goes way over the top and makes celebrities and models look too perfect to be true, other times, there is no harm in a little tweaking to photos. Nobody is perfect, and the fact is, without all the professional makeup artists, personal trainers, stylists, and airbrush artists, celebrities would be just as ‘imperfect’ as any of us.
I feel that airbrushing, when done very moderately, can be just the same as putting on makeup to make yourself look your best, only the editing is done after the photo is taken rather than beforehand. Anybody can use Photoshop to make their personal photographs look more flattering, whether its a special occasion picture, or just a Facebook profile shot. Here’s how to subtlely airbrush a photo in five minutes!
1) Begin by zooming in on the face and selecting the Patch Tool, and at the very top, make sure the word “source” is checked off, rather than “destination”.(above)
2) Next, draw a circle around an unsightly line, such as the bag under the eye.
3) Drag that selection to a smooth area of skin and drop. The original selection will now be smooth. The patch tool works by keeping the colors of the pixels in the original area, but giving it the texture of the area you drag to.
4) Proceed to repeat this process with any other lines, such as laugh lines or wrinkles. Keep in mind that you want this photo to look believable, not like a photoshop disaster. Leave subtle imperfections and don’t try to make the picture look like a different person.
5) Once the fine lines are faded to your liking, select the Burn Tool. Make sure that the brush size for this application is a good size for contouring, and make especially sure that the range is “midtones” and the exposure is under 10%.
6) Now, you’re going to want to sweep the brush over areas of the face exactly the same way you would apply a contouring bronzer to your face in the mirror. Subtley darken under the chin and along the jaw line as well as a little around the edges of the forehead. Make the nose appear slimmer by sweeping the tool along the outside of the nosebridge on both sides. Again, if you go over the areas too many times or with too high an exposure, or even with too large or too small a brush, it will not be believable. A good rule of thumb is to make the brush just fit along the outside of the nosebridge.
*7) Now, you’re finished. This picture of Jessica has good lighting already, but keep in mind that a seventh step can be added if the photo does not have good highlights. By holding your mouse over the arrow in the corner of the Burn Tool, a menu will be revealed, giving you the option of selecting the Dodge Tool. This is just like the burn tool, only it lightens areas. You would use this to carefully highlight the high points of the face, like the cheeks, chin, down the center of the nose bridge, and a little across the forehead. Use an even lower exposure and a larger, fluffy brush. Too much highlighing with the the Dodge tool is usually the first tell-tale sign of bad airbrushing, so avoid this step all together when possible.
So, what do you think? Would you use this technique to perfect your own photos like the celebrities do?