High-End Skin Softening in Photoshop [New Technique]

In this tutorial, you will learn a fast and easy technique for high-end Skin Softening in Photoshop!

Best of all, this AMAZING skin-smoothing technique leaves skin texture intact! I’ve used this technique in my professional work in the Hollywood industry.

This tutorial uses Photoshop 2022 and is compatible with Photoshop 2021 and newer.

Skin Softening in Photoshop

Time needed: 5 minutes

Use the Skin Smoothing Neural Filter to quickly apply a high-end skin smoothing effect in Photoshop.

  1. Duplicate The Original Portrait

    Duplicate the original background layer by pressing Ctrl J (Windows) or Command J (macOS).

  2. Apply The Skin Smoothing Neural Filter

    Go to Filter and select Neural Filters. The Neural Filters is a new artificial intelligence workspace powered by Adobe Sensei, designed to streamline certain workflows in just a few clicks.

    Select the Skin Smoothing Neural Filter. Then drag the Blur and Smoothness slider to the right to their maximum intensity. We will fine-tune the results in the following steps.
    From the Output menu, select Current Layer and press OK. Then Photoshop will apply the smoothing effect to the image.

  3. Apply The Lighten Blending Mode

    In some cases, the Skin Smoothing Neural Filter may destroy highlights and skin textures. To avoid these issues, blend the two layers. From the Blending Mode Dropdown, select the Lighten Blending Mode. Lighten looks at both layers on an individual pixel basis and retains the brightest pixels.

  4. Create a Black (Inverted) Mask

    The effect will not look good if you apply it globally. Instead, only apply it to the areas of the portrait that requires it.

    Press Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) and click on the Layer Mask icon to create an Inverted Layer Mask. An inverted Layer Mask is a mask that is completely black and it hides all the contents in that layer.

  5. Paint To Reveal The Smoothing Effect

    Select the Brush Tool from the Toolbar and Paint with white to reveal the effect on your selected areas.

  6. Target the Darker Pixels

    In some cases, you may need to instead target the darker pixels. If this is the case, duplicate the layer with the applied blur. Set the Blending Mode to Darken. Apply and inverted Layer Masks. Then paint with white to reveal the blurring effect over the image. But this time the effect will only target the dark pixels.

Give it a shot and proudly share your amazing projects on Instagram with the hashtag #ptcvids!

If you want to selectively sharpen and add detail to your images check out our tutorial on Quickly Applying Targeted Sharpening in Photoshop. Thanks for reading!

Tutorial Download

Final Image

Drag The Slider To See Before & After

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