Photo Retouching

Photo Retouching

Here you’ll learn some of the techniques that magazine editors and advertisers use to make models look flawless. This series of YouTube videos takes you through the process of adjusting facial features using the Liquify Filter, removing lines and blemishes using tools like the Clone Stamp and Patch Tool and how you can use layer masks and filters to create a airbrushed look. You’ll also learn how to change hair and eye colour and, in the final part of the tutorial, how to whiten teeth.


  1. Open the document in Adobe Photoshop by choosing FIle > Open…
  2. Duplicate the layer so that you have a copy of the original. Right click on the layer called ‘Background’  in the layers palette and choose Layer > Duplicate Layer. Alternatively, you can simply drag the layer onto the ‘Create a New Layer’ button in the layers palette. If you cannot see the Layers Palette, select Window > Layers.
  3. Select File > Save As… and save your image in an appropriate location. Give it a file name you will remember.


  1. Filter > Liquify.
  2. The square bracket keys increase ] and decrease [ the size of your brush.
  3. The Bloat Tool  can be used to make eyes and lips larger.
  4. The Pucker Tool  can be used to make features smaller, such as the nose.
  5. The Forward Warp Tool  allows you to move features slightly.
  6. If you make mistakes or are unhappy with the changes you have made, use the Reconstruct Tool  to return to the original image.


  1. The Clone Stamp Tool  can be used to remove small blemishes. Click on the Clone Stamp tool in the toolbox.
  2. Hold down the Option Key (Mac) or the Alt Key (PC) and click on an area of the photograph that you would like to clone.
  3. Releasing the Option/Alt key, start painting in the area that you want to cover up.
  4. The square bracket keys increase ] and decrease [ the size of your brush.
  5. You can change the Opacity in the Option Bar at the top of the screen. This changes how ‘see through’ your cloned image is. You can use the number keys on your keyboard to adjust the opacity of the Clone Stamp tool (1 sets it to 10%, 2 sets it to 20% and so on).


  1. Select the Patch Tool  from the toolbox.  Sometimes it’s underneath the Spot Healing Tool. .
  2. Draw a freehand shape around the area you want to patch, then holding down the mouse button, move your cursor around until you find a piece of the image that you want to use as your ‘patch’, then let go of your mouse button.
  3. To deselect and keep working choose Select > Deselect.


  1. Duplicate the layer you’ve been working on. Select the layer in the layers palette and choose Layer > Duplicate Layer. Alternatively, you can simply drag the layer onto the ‘Create a New Layer’ button in the layers palette.
  2. Filter > Blur > Surface Blur…Set the Radius to 80 and the Tolerance to 15. This may vary according to the resolution of your image. You want to create a nice, smooth looking image.
  3. Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All…
  4. Select the Brush Tool (B)  . Select a soft edge brush from the Options Bar at the top of the screen.
  5. Press ‘D’ to return to the default colours. In this case, the Forground Color will be white and the Background Color will be black.
  6. You’re now ready to paint on your layer mask. Painting white, will reveal the blurred image, allowing you to paint over blemishes without making the whole image seem plastic and fake. In the Options Bar, you can change the opacity of the Brush Tool. This enables you to change how much of the blurred image you reveal.


  1. Adobe Photoshop has Adjustment Layers which allow you to adjust things like the brightness and contrast, hue and saturation of an image. The great thing about Adjustment Layers is that you can always double click on them in the Layers Palette later on and adjust the settings. When you’re retouching photographs, Adjustment Layers can be used to change the colour of hair and eyes.
  2. To add a new Adjustment Layer select Layers > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation.
  3. A dialogue box will appear, asking you to name the layer. Click ‘OK’.
  4. You will then be presented with a dialogue box. Adjusting the ‘Hue’ slider changes the colour. Adjusting the ‘Saturation’ slider changes how vivid the colour is. The ‘Lightness’ slider makes the image darker or lighter. When you change these settings, it will change the entire photograph. Don’t worry, we’re going to use a mask to selectively reveal parts of the photograph in the next step. Press ‘OK’ to apply the Adjustment Layer.
  5. Once you have applied the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, you will see it in the Layers Pallete. Next to the Adjustment Layer icon, there is a small white rectangle. This is the layer mask.  Hold down Command I (Mac) or Control I (PC) to invert the layer mask. This will make everything black, hiding the changes made by the hue and saturation layer.
  6. Select the Brush Tool (B).
  7. Press ‘D’ to return to your default colours, black in the forground, white in the background.
  8. If you need to, press ‘X’ to make sure your forground colour is white.
  9. Start painting on the areas, such as eyes, where you want to reveal the colour.