photoshop creative

How to improve the look of skin using Smart Filters in Photoshop

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
April 2, 2013

Here’s a Photoshop trick to improve skin with Smart Filters and Color Range selections



Smooth skin with Reduce Noise

Create a duplicate of the Background layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and then go to Select>Color Range.

In the Color Range menu, set the Select drop-down to Skin Tones and hit OK. This will tell Photoshop just to select skin and ignore everything else.

Go to Filter>Convert for Smart Filters and then go to Filter>Noise>Reduce Noise.

In the Reduce Noise filter, set Strength to 8, Reduce Color Noise to 0, Sharpen Details to 0-10% and untick Remove Jpeg Artifact.

Now, slide the Preserve Details adjustment up and down to vary the amount the skin is soften by. A setting of around 16% works well.

As a Smart Filter, the Reduce Noise filter can be adjusted at any time by double-clicking on it in the Layers palette. Also, blend modes can be applied as well as Opacity controls as this is a separate layer in the composition.

For more great tips on retouching your photos, pick up a copy of Photoshop Creative Issue 99, on sale now!

Head to Imagine Shop and GreatDigitalMags for all versions and downloads and get reading today.


  • eva

    I’m always interested in tuts on how to improve the appearance of portraits, but I think this one would have been more effective if you’d chosen a model who actually had some flaws to begin with!

  • Thanks 4 the sharing 🙂

  • very useful 🙂 , perfect !

  • Guyser

    Eva, click on the first picture and notice all the wrinkles, etc. She probably looked worse than that before the 1/2″ of make-up.

  • structure of the nose is not the best