Photoshop tutorial: How to get the model-look


Oh, now I know...!
3 May 2008
This was originally posted by me at SE-NSE earlier today, but thought I'd share it with you here as well :) Took me forever to come up with this, and apply my finishing touches to the technique, but I was really happy with the result, and have been using my technique for quite some time now :) Hopefully you'll make good use of my secret :D

Here's the original photo, resized to 800 x 500 pixels.


1. First up, we'll get rid of any skin spots, marks, etc. This can be done in a variety of ways, but one of the easiest for newcomers is the Spot Healing Brush Tool.


Now, simply set a suitable brush size, and start removing spots, marks, etc. by clicking on the area. In most cases you can simply click, but if you've got a photo with many details around the area (such as hair near the area), you'll have to be a bit careful, or the hair will get in your selection, and will mess up the Spot Healing Brush Tool.


You will probably end up with some noticeable pixelated areas, but don't worry about that, this is quite normal.

2. Next up is smoothing the skin. Duplicate the layer by right clicking on the Background layer, and select Duplicate Layer... or hold and move the Background layer down to the Create new layer-button - this will also duplicate the layer.


While on your new duplicated layer, go to Filter -> Blur and then Gaussian Blur.... Here you must select an appropriate level of blurring (not too much, you'll still have to be able to see the motive). For this photo, the radius was set to 2,5 pixels. Once you're satisfied, press OK.


Now go to Filter -> Noise -> Median..., and select an appropriate radius. A radius of 4 pixels seemed appropriate for this photo.


Now, your photo should look like this, and you should have two layers:

3. Now, create a layer mask for the duplicated - now blurred - layer.


Now start painting with a black foreground colour on every single part of the photo, you want detailed. Try to leave out the skin areas. If you, however, do hit the skin areas, simply switch to a white foreground colour, and paint the skin areas over again. Here's how she ended up looking after a minute of painting (200% zoom)


Notice how the eyes, nose, teeth, hair, etc. are all crisp, while the skin is silky smooth. If you want, you can also change the opacity on the mask layer to about 80%.

4. Select both layers, right click and choose Merge Layers.


Now again duplicate the layer. Go to Filter -> Sharpen -> Sharpen on the duplicated layer.


Again create a mask layer on the duplicated - now sharpened - layer. Select the Brush Tool, and a black foreground colour. Set the brush opacity to about 70% at the top of the window. Now start painting the skin areas. Avoid hitting the eyes, mouth, hair, etc. When you're done, you can set down the opacity to 70-80%, if you feel like it. It's a matter of taste.

Here's how your photo should look now (two layers):


5. Merge the layers, like you did earlier on.

6. Now we can start correcting colours. The most important colour is the skin colour - let's start off by making the skin colours look more model-like.
Duplicate the background layer, and create a new adjustment layer on the new layer - Selective Colour....


Start off with the red colours. Here's how my settings were, and how the before / after shot is.


Most of the time, it's actually enough to simply set the red colours, but you might also want to set others. After having created the first red adjustment layer, I created another red adjustment layer to correct the black tones in the red colours.

7. That's it! Now you're basically finished with your model photo. You can of course always make the teeth whiter, change the colour of the eyes, and so on, but this is the basics.

Here's the final photo:


... and a before / after shot.


Hope you liked it!
spot healing tool - hahahaha - nice tutorial though
Yeah, maybe a bit. Could also have used a larger radius median, that would have fixed some of the photoshopped look. Or I could have lowered the opacity :)
dont listen to her!!!! shes a paintshop pro freak!!! :D
Good tut Mizzle, if anything this can teach people some basic photoshop methods that can be applied to other things as well. In college one of my instructors taught us this method, then tested us by seeing how well we could do it in 10 minutes. :)
I used to have a huge list of tutorials for PShop here. Not sure if it still exists.
try looking in the sticky in this section - should be a few links to some good tutorial sites
Nice tutorial! I've been through so many upgrades of PhotoShop (user since 1989) that I've never had a chance to explore or learn all of the tools as they have been added -- like the Spot Healing Brush Tool. Now I want to go play with it (think I'll start by experimenting with some of the cutting tools on a photo of my soon-to-be-ex-husband...:devious:)
Cool tutorial, and I also concur about before photo looking hawter =)
Great tutorial, even though I hate how they use that trick. lol

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