Use this simple Photoshop process to match skin tones in uneven areas. This method also works particularly well for matching lighter facial tones to the rest of the body’s color. Aaron Nace uses just a few adjustment layers and levels to quickly create a cohesive look:
How to Match Skin Tones in Photoshop
- Start by analyzing your colors. Create a new layer. Grab a paint brush and sample (alt/opt+click) the colors of the skin—from darks to lights, from both the desired color tone area and the one to adjust.
- Paint each color in between selections, creating a sort of swatch. This will create a simple visual representation of the color tones to help you determine what adjustments need to be made in terms of warm and cool, light, and dark tones.
- When using this procedure to match face tones to body tones, you will need to darken and add warmth (with oranges, usually a combination of yellows and/or magentas). However, all skin tones are different and it’s best to experiment with your image.
- Create a new layer. Go to adjustment layer and create a new Levels adjustment layer.
- In properties, change the channel to Blue. The opposite of blue on the color spectrum is yellow. Pull the right hand side of the slider inward (to the left). This will slightly darken and add yellow to the highlights. Play around with the slider to get the desired tones.
- Switch the channel to green. Again, pull the right side of the slider inwards. This will add magenta to the highlights.
- Add a layer mask.
- Tip: Group your working layers before adding the masking layer. Any adjustments you make will automatically be applied to all layers in that group. Do this by selecting your layer and clicking the little folder button.
- Invert your layer mask (Command/CNTRL + I ). Painting with a white brush on the layer mask will apply the effects of whatever is on that layer, such as the new skin color. Similarly, painting with a black paintbrush will remove the effects.
- Paint along the areas to be edited. If painting a face, be sure to avoid the eyeballs and lips.
- Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Drag down the saturation slider. Try about -15.
- Any time you are doing this technique and adding color, you will most likely have to apply slight desaturation to keep the tones looking natural.
- Delete or erase your color sample patches.
- Bring down the opacity of the grouped layers. Try about 80%. This will lessen the effect and create a more realistic finish.
This technique is a quick fix to help blend uneven skin tones, with a natural and smooth finish.
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