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Photoshop Tutorial : Dreamy Glow For Portraits

This technique is an oldie, but a goodie. I think Eddie Tapp was the first person I saw do it and there have been variations, but for a quick and interesting portrait effect this is terrific. It is not a beauty retouch.

The image is brought to us by hamletnc over at Stock Xchange I have the original image as well as one that I tidied up a bit, you can choose which one you work on. I used the Making Eyes Shine Tutorial on the eyes. I also used the Adding Depth To EyelashesI also did some general tidying up of the image (still needs lots, lots more), removed the earrings (and normally I would have done something with the ear) added a little bit of length to the hair and tidied the edges a bit, and cleaned her teeth You’ll also noticed that I reduced the darkish lines under the young lady’s eyes. I did this in combination with her smile lines, the line on her chin and the lines on her neck on the one layer, then reduced the opacity of the layer to 40%. Don’t make the mistake of only reducing the lines under the eyes (example) because it will unbalance the face. Just another point before we get on with it – in this tutorial we are going to be using the Red Channel, if your image has quite a lot of red in it i.e. dress, b/ground etc., it is going to fade the red. You can of course use the mask to bring it back (as we will in this image), but you might want to try the Green Channel first to see what kind of effect you will get, and it will preserve the red in the image. Click through for the larger images.

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If you’ve opened the second image, go ahead and duplicate it. Next, go to the channels palette and click on the red channel. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all – press Ctrl + C to copy – click on the RGB channel, switch back to the layers palette, make aure the top layer is active, then press Ctrl + V on the keyboard to the paste the red channel. Change the blend mode of the layer to Luminosity and take the opacity down to about 30%. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and blur the image by about 6 pixels. Try and maintain some texture in the skin.

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Add a mask to this layer by clicking on the Add Layer Mask Icon at the bottom of the layers palette, make sure the f/ground colour is set to white and go and grab a soft edged brush. You’ll probably have to zoom in a bit for this – paint over the eyeball, the lips and teeth, the eyebrows, the scarf at the bottom of the image, and the hair around the face, leaving the outer edges. Probably go about half way back into the hair. If you want to view the mask at any time hold down the Alt key and click on the mask, to return to a normal view – do the same. Hopefully you’ll be able to see what I’ve done in the image below.

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We’re going to create a new layer, make sure that you are still working on the layer with the mask, then press Ctrl + Alt and click on the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. A dialogue box will appear, change the blend mode to Soft Light and check the box that says ‘Fill with soft light neutral color (50% gray)’ Make sure the new layer is at the top of the stack and grab your Dodge Tool from the side Toolbar. In the top options bar change the Range to Highlights and use about a 15% opacity, then I want you to go over the highlights in the hair – leave the outer edges of the hair – perhaps don’t go any further out than half way. Once you’ve done want you want to do with the Dodge Tool you can either carry on, on this layer when we use the Burn Tool or create a new one, so you have these on two seperate layers. Grab your Burn Tool, change the Range to Shadows and the opacity to about 15% and burn over some of the darker areas.

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When you are happy with your work Flatten the image, then duplicate it. Change the blend mode to Overlay, then go to Filter>Other>High Pass and set the pixel radius to about 1.5 Add a layer mask and then press Ctrl + i on the keyboard to invert the mask. Make sure the f/ground colour is white, select a soft edged brush and paint over the same areas as you did before – eyebrows, eyeballs, lips and teeth, hair. Take the opacity of the layer down to suit. You might end up with something similar to the image below.

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If you think this is a little pale, you can always use a curves adjustment layer to add some contrast to it.

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And here is a comparison image – original and adjusted.

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Have fun :-)

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