Because we all start to lose that healthy glow of youth somewhere in our twenties this next tool is of great importance if we want to flatter the people we photograph. It also helps when you take a picture in low light and get a grainy effect on what would otherwise be a nice smooth surface.
I will not embarrass anyone by showing a before and after picture of any of my friends.
(The after I could get away with but if I value my friendship the before is taboo.)
Give this a try on a portrait of someone over 40. For this tutorial I will go with a baby picture taken without flash so as not to wake the baby. The light was too low so it needs some fixing up.

The "Edge Preserving Smooth" tool.

  • This is the before photo.
    Sometimes skin blemishes are natural and sometimes caused by lighting.
    No matter what the cause I have yet to find anyone pleased to see them on a photo of themselves.
  • First I used the Auto Contrast tool (previous page)
    Next comes the
    "Edge Preserving Smooth" tool.

    I only used a smoothing value of 14 on this one but experiment with it on a picture to picture basis.
    The tool preserves the hard edges while softening other parts. It is really selective blurring which used to take a long time before this tool was introduced.
    Next I used the Clarify tool.
    This is a very low value use of this tool but I find it a great help to get rid of the slight blurring effect of the previous tool.
    I also use it whenever I reduce the size of a graphic. (later)

    Finished picture.

    I could have gone a lot further with the smoothing and made the face absolutely perfect but this is a new born baby and I did not want him to look like a doll. This shows how selective you can be to get just the right result.

    Still more to do so click HERE to carry on.