The Quickest Way to Get Smooth and Creamy Skin...Lightroom!

September 30, 2017

The Quickest Way to Get Smooth and Creamy Skin...Lightroom!

Who doesn't want smooth, creamy, flawless skin?

By using Lightroom's Adjustment Brush, you can give your portrait subjects skin that's as smooth as a baby's bottom in just a few quick steps.

Here's how it's done:

Open your Image in the Lightroom Develop Module

Select the image that you want to edit.

We'll be working on this photo:

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

Once your image is selected, move to the Develop Module by clicking Develop in the task bar at the top of the interface or by pressing the letter D.

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

Zoom in to enlarge the facial area so that you can see what you are doing.

To zoom into a image, you can click on the zoom buttons on the Navigator bar at the top right of the interface:

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

The last button is a drop down that allows you to select from other zoom levels:

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

Or you can use the keyboard shortcuts Cmd +/- (plus or minus) on a Mac or Ctrl +/- on a PC to move though the zoom settings in the Navigator bar.

Select the Adjustment Tool and Change its Settings

Select the Adjustment Brush tool from the tool strip under the Histogram on the right side of the Develop module. The Adjustment Brush tool is the last button, located on the far right-hand of the tool strip.

When the Adjustment brush panel opens, it will show the last settings used by the brush. To zero all of these settings, double-click on the word 'Effect' at the top of the panel.

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

Set Clarity to -100 and set the brush size to something that will be easy to use on your particular photo.

Also, I like to work with the Mask Overlay turned on. To turn it on, check the box next to 'Show Selected Mask Overlay' under the image area or use the keyboard shortcut O.

By the way, you can also change the color of the overlay using the keyboard shortcut Shift+O.

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

Brush on the Smoothness…

Using the Adjustment Brush, brush over the area of the face and/or neck. The Mask overlay will help you see where you have and haven't brushed.

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

Continue brushing until the entire area is covered.

Be sure and avoid the eyes. 

If you need to, you can erase an area using the Erase brush. Switch to the Erase brush by clicking on Erase at the bottom of the Adjustment Brush panel and use the size slider to change the size to something that suits the area that you are erasing.

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

Be sure and switch back to the regular Adjustment brush before continuing.

As you are working, here are a few helpful shortcuts to keep in mind:

  • You can toggle the Mask Overlay on and off using the keyboard shortcut O.
  • You can toggle between before and after views of your image by pressing the backslash key (\).
  • You can change your brush size on the fly using the right and left bracket keys. The left bracket ( [ ) makes the brush smaller and the right bracket ( ] ) makes it larger. You can also control the size of the brush using the scroll wheel on your mouse.

And now, my photo with the face area completely covered:

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

Now, turn off the Mask Overlay to see how the photo looks. You can do this by unchecking the check box next to 'Show Selected Mask Overlay' under the image area or by using the keyboard shortcut O.

Now, just adjust the Clarity slider until you get a look that you like. I think subtle is more natural looking, but it's up to you. 

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

Once you are happy with the image, click the Done button just below the image.

So here are our before and after images:

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

Smooth and Creamy Skin in Lightroom

To see this process in action, check out the video below, courtesy of Gary Goldberg.

BTW, in this video, Gary uses Lightroom's built in Skin-Softening brush. It's basically the same brush that I'm using above, but I manually put in my own settings.

Further Reading

3 Tips for Perfect Skin inside Lightroom

Lightroom tips: 6 quick tricks for giving your portraits a professional finish

11 Steps for Basic Portrait Editing in Lightroom – A Beginner’s Guide




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