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Co sho
ve p
rs CS
Retouching Cookbook
for Digital Photographers
Recipes to
Improve Your
Photos & Create
Special Effects

Barry Huggins
focus manipulation
Motion blurring

apturing a fleeting moment on camera is one of
The Motion Blur filter
the most satisfying aspects of photography, but
this doesn’t necessarily mean sharp focus and 1 Using Motion Blur
fine detail. Pin-sharp clarity suits a single drop of effectively takes a little
preparation. Used straight
water hitting the still surface of a pond, but a slow on an image, it creates a
exposure can turn a waterfall into a beautiful, loss of detail, or merely
shimmering blur. While sharp focus can freeze motion replicates the effect of
in time, blurring can create a powerful impression of camera shake. In this image,
movement. Photoshop’s Motion Blur filter is designed we want to preserve detail
while creating a feeling of
with this in mind. rapid motion.

2 To start, make a feathered
selection of the rear half of
the girl. A Feather setting of
about 6 pixels should be
sufficient for a low-
resolution shot, but you
need to use higher values
for high-resolution images.
Finish a “quick and dirty”
selection—the blur effect
means that accuracy isn’t
vital—then press Ctrl/Cmd +
J to copy and paste it to a
new layer. Call the new layer
“copied selection.”
3 Keep the copied selection
layer active and go to Filter
> Blur > Motion Blur. Set
the angle to 0 degrees and
the distance to 90 pixels.
Make sure the Move tool is
selected, then press the
right arrow key on the
keyboard about 12 times to
move the selection to the
right. This gives the
impression that the girl is
leaving a blur of movement
in her wake.


4 For a stronger effect,

merely duplicate the copied
selection layer.

Blurring with Blend Modes
After duplicating the copied selection layer, try changing the
blend mode of the top version to Lighten. This produces an
almost ghostly effect.
focus manipulation
Motion blurring
The Radial Blur filter
The Radial Blur filter is another highly effective tool for 2 Now duplicate the
suggesting movement. It simulates a popular effect used background layer and
in conventional photography when taking pictures with a rename it “Blur.” Activate
zoom lens. A relatively slow shutter speed is used, exposing the duplicate layer and go to
the image as the lens is zoomed through its full focal length. Filter > Blur > Radial Blur.
The result, when successful, displays a focused centre with Set the Blur Method to
blurred lines emanating away from the central area—as if Zoom, Quality to Best, and
the viewer were looking down a tunnel. The picture of the the Amount to 38. Move the
four-wheel drive vehicle in the desert looks a little static, centre point of the blur by
and we want to create the sense of drama and urgency clicking in the location
associated with driving in a challenging environment. indicated in the Blur Center
Using Radial Blur will help. window. This will place the
centre roughly in the middle
front of the vehicle. If you
don’t get it right first time,
just Undo the effect and
click again in a slightly
different location.


1 For maximum effect, 3 The chosen Amount

images with strong contrast setting creates the feel of
or lots of color work best. movement without
This generates a strong destroying the clarity of
streak effect, which the image, but the effect
accentuates the sense of needs a little sharpening
motion. In this example, a for maximum impact. Go
high contrast effect is to Filter > Sharpen >
required. Press Ctrl+L (Win)/ Unsharp Mask and apply
Cmd + L (Mac) to bring up the settings shown.
the Levels dialog box, then
increase the contrast by
bringing the black and white
input markers closer
together. The impact is clear
in the foreground, where
the heightened definition is
perfect for Radial Blur.
Painting on the mask with black paint reveals the details of
the layer below (the sharper details of the original sky and the
dunes on the horizon), while white paints the Blur layer back in
again. The mask appears as a thumbnail on the layers palette,
4 Finally, the original but you can check its extent using two easy options: Option-
background needs to be click (Mac) or Alt-click (Windows) on the layer mask thumbnail
re-established. Add a layer to view only the mask, or Option-Shift-click/Alt-Shift-click to
mask to the Blur layer by see it as a colored overlay.
clicking on the layer mask
icon, second from left at
the bottom of the Layers
palette. When you’ve
finished painting on the
layer mask (see left), the
result should look like this.

retouching portraits
Removing skin blemishes & wrinkles

f you are a reader of popular women’s magazines
Removing individual marks
you might be forgiven for believing that the
glowing faces that grace the front covers all This model has certain blemishes that can easily be removed.
possess the most perfect satiny skin. Sadly, this is For isolated blemishes, the Healing Brush offers the fastest
and least destructive method of removal.
an illusion. Perfect skin does not exist; at least not
over the duration of a lifetime. But while imperfection 1 Select the Healing Brush, 3 Now place the cursor over
is a part of life, you can still sell the illusion with a go to the Tool Options bar, the blemish requiring
little Photoshop magic. and set the Source to removal and click to paint
Sampled. The tool will now out the offending area. In
copy the texture from the this instance one click will
area first sampled, while suffice, provided the size of
retaining the current color the brush is big enough to
and brightness values. cover the blemish. The great
thing about the Healing
Brush—unlike the older
Clone Stamp tool—is that it
matches the texture,
2 Place the cursor over an shading, lighting and
area from which you want transparency of the original
to copy pixels. Keep the Alt/ subject, making the edit
Option key pressed and click seamless in all but the most
the mouse button to make a difficult of situations.
registration point. This now
becomes the sampled
origination point.

60 Tip
Spot Healing Brush
Photoshop CS2 supplements the Healing Brush with a new Spot
Healing Brush. This tool makes an intelligent guess at the texture
it should use to cover the blemish, meaning that there is no need
to Alt/Opt-click on a sample point first!
Smoothing wrinkles
The healing brush is also an excellent tool for removing lines
and wrinkles even where the skin tone varies greatly.

1 First, make a registration 2 Now drag the brush over

point by Alt/Option-clicking the heavy line. While
under the heavy line below dragging, the color being
the eye. painted may appear quite
different, as it literally clones
the pixels from the sampled
area onto the new area.
However, on releasing the
mouse button, the
necessary shade and texture
adjustments will be made to
give a seamless result.

Multiple blemishes
Although highly effective, the healing brush requires a 1 First, make feathered
separate action for each element to be removed. This is not selections of the areas
a problem when there are only one or two areas requiring where more than one
attention, but it can become time-consuming for multiple blemish exist.
blemishes covering a wider area. On page 76 we look at using
the Patch tool as a method for hiding unwanted areas—a 2 Now go to
method that works well as long there is an area big enough Filter>Noise>Dust and
from which to copy replacement pixels. This may not always Scratches. As the name
be possible on a person’s face, so instead we will use a less suggests, this filter is
obvious technique. associated more commonly
with cleaning up scans and 61
old images, but don’t let
that put you off. Set the
Threshold to 9, as this
allows some of the skin
texture to show through. If
the threshold is too low, the
area becomes too smooth
and looks false. Set the
Radius to 21, but gauge this
by eye, increasing the value
until the unwanted
blemishes fade away. The
end result is the appearance
of blemish-free skin,
without losing that all-
important texture.