How can you make shadows disappear? There are a number of ways—curves, filters, brushes—but Glyn Dewis prefers a method called frequency separation that uses a combination of everything. Watch how he does it below:
He cast the shadow of his model’s glasses with a cross-lighting rig, but he’s using Adobe Photoshop to get rid of it. It’s a fairly complex method, but the results are undeniable.
How to Get Rid of Small Shadows in Photoshop
- First, make two copies of the layer. Dewis calls one “content” (and turns it off for now) and labels the other “color.”
- Go to the Filter, select Blur and then Gausian Blur. Raise it on the “color” layer to 15 or so pixels, until you drastically lose the image’s sharpness.
- Turn on the “content” layer. Under the Image menu, choose Adjustments, then Brightness/Contrast. (Be sure to select “Use Legacy” on newer versions of Photoshop, or this trick won’t work.) Reduce the contrast to -50.
- Choose the Filter menu, then select Other – High Pass. Make the High Pass amount the same as the blur amount—15 pixels, or whatever you opted for before.
- Change the blend mode on the layer from “normal” to “linear light.”
- Create a new blank layer in between “color” and “content.” (For clarity, Dewis names his “shadow.”)
- Select the clone stamp tool at around 10 percent, building on small changes to the image.
- At the top of the screen when clone stamp is selected, where it says “sample,” choose “current and below”—that means you’ll only sample the blurred colors in the layers beneath.
- Begin sampling the skin-tone color immediately to the left and right of the shadow, applying it to the shadow itself. You’ll see results after a minute or two.
- Create a new layer, created of all the previous layers merged together, then choose the Camera Raw filter. Select the Adjustment brush, highlight the shadow area, and add clarity, contrast, and de-hazing.
- Group all the layers together to adjust the opacity if you like.
As you can tell by the before/after photos, the change is significant yet subtle:
It’s a slightly involved process, but if you’re confused by the instructions, simply follow along the video and you’ll figure it out.
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