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    Green Answer Sleek Chiseled Portrait Effect

    In my quest for the Holy Grail of portrait-retouching effects, I sought a look that was crisp and chiseled, yet sleek and refined. This couldnít be an ordinary effect; it had to be created nondestructively for maximum creative freedom, and it needed to add both drama and smoothness to a subjectís skin. After years of searching and experimentation, I may have finally found it. In this tutorial, Iíll share what Iíve discovered with you.
    Step One: Open a Portrait File
    Open a portrait that can benefit from more chiseled features and smoother skin.

    óCREDIT: ©BortN66/Shutterstock
    Step Two: Create a Crisp Look
    Press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) twice to create two duplicate layers. With the top layer active, Shift-click the layer below to select both layers. Press Command-G (PC: Ctrl-G) to add both layers to a group. At the top of the Layers panel, change the blend mode for the group to Soft Light.

    Twirl open the group by clicking the triangle icon. Activate the uppermost layer and change the blend mode to Vivid Light. Now press Command-I (PC: Ctrl-I) to temporarily restore the image to its original look.

    Choose Filter>Convert for Smart Filters, click OK in the dialog that appears, then Filter>Blur>Surface Blur. On a high-res file, set both the Radius and Threshold to around 25. Ironically, this blur enhances details. Click OK to close the Surface Blur dialog.

    To selectively eliminate undesirable strong details or slight haloes, activate the group (Group 1) and click the Add Layer Mask icon (circle in a square) at the base of the Layers panel. Choose the Brush tool (B), press D then X to make the Foreground color black, and paint with a soft-edged brush over undesirable details or haloes. In this example, there are slight haloes in areas where very light tones meet very dark tones. To illustrate where I painted, Iím showing a screen grab of the mask.

    Step Three: Blend Smooth Look with the Crisp Look to Produce a Sleek, Chiseled Look
    With the group active, press Option (PC: Alt), and choose Layer>Merge Visible. Press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to create a duplicate layer. Turn off visibility for the top layer and activate the layer below (Layer 2). Choose Filter>Convert for Smart Filters, and click OK in the resulting dialog. Now choose Filter>Noise>Reduce Noise. On a high-res image, set the Strength to 10 and all other sliders to 0. Click OK.

    Choose Filter>Noise>Reduce Noise again. This time, set the Strength to 5 and leave the other sliders at 0. Click OK.

    Application of the Reduce Noise filter tends to soften eyes, so weíll use two techniques to restore sharpness. Activate the top layer (Layer 2 copy) and switch on its visibility. Choose Filter>Convert for Smart Filters and click OK. From the Filter menu, select Other>High Pass. Set the Radius to 1 pixel and click OK. Change the blend mode to Overlay. Notice how this restores detail to edges, including the eyes.

    If the eyes need a little additional sharpening, activate the layer below (Layer 2) and click the Add Layer Mask icon. Using a soft-edged black brush at around 50% Opacity, paint over the eyes to restore more sharpness.

    Hereís the original image.

    And hereís the sleek, chiseled look.

    Because all effects in this tutorial were created nondestructively, donít be afraid to go under the hood and tweak settings until you achieve the look youíre after. To save time, keep in mind that you can record this effect as an action and play it back on other images.
    Last edited by TCG-Admin; 03-05-2015 at 03:19 PM.

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