If you snapped a cool photo but the camera underwhelmed your vibrant skin tone, head over to Photoshop to fix it yourself. It won’t take an expert to produce a quality result. All that is needed is some time and commitment to a basic tutorial like this one. This article has the tools needed to change skin tones of an image. It will explain how to do so with or without affecting the colorization of the entire photo.
This tutorial will use “Hue and Saturation Levels”, the “Selection Tool” and many “Adjustment Layers”. It can take anyone at least 30 minutes to perfect skin tone depending on the image. In most cases, it is important to isolate the skin first for the best possible effect. The steps given here are done using Photoshop CS6 and CC.
Isolate Skin to Modify Skin Tone
The tools needed are found left screen in the “Tools Panel” > “Quick Selection Tool Icon” or “Lasso Tool Icon”. First, the Quick Selection tool is used to auto select the skin by a simple “Left Click” and drag over the area. A selection that goes beyond the skin is corrected by dragging it back towards the skin outline while holding the “Alt Key”. This deselects the area and it will snap back into alignment with the skin area. The “Lasso Tool” is used next to make manual selections to clean up what the quick selection excluded. Selections of the “Lasso Tool” are meant to be lasso-shaped. Use it in “Add to Selection” mode; this is the icon below the main menu. Now work the lasso line along the edges of the skin and circle back to the beginning of the line when finished.
Also, be sure to feather the selection. The feather softens the edges created by the quick selection tool to give it a more natural look. This is done by selecting “Settings” >”Modify” > “Feather”. The edges will be less harsh when soften between three to five pixels.
Change Skin Tone
Make sure the skin is the sole selection before moving on to avoid tampering with any other part of the image. Go on to duplicate the layer by pressing “Ctrl+J”. To achieve a changed skin tone, maneuver these steps.
1. The “Adjustment Layers Icon” is used to create new layers. Use it to select a Levels layer. A pop up box appears with a histogram and two “Input Levels” sliders are set below to make adjustments. Slide the “Input Levels” to the left to make the skin lighter. Press Alt+Ctrl+G to “Create a Clipping Mask” then move the levels to the left.
2. Create a “Curves Layer”. Adjust the lighting suitably by dragging the curve, then press “Alt+Ctrl+G” and slide left as done before.
3. Add a “Hue and Saturation” layer, and then add the mask. Move the slider back and forth to achieve a better tone.
4. Select a “Black and White” layer and move the levels to suit.
Change the blend mode to “Luminosity”. Next, adjust the settings in mask mode.
The skin tone of the image has now changed completely. The lightening effects may have also changed other parts of the face. This makes it a good idea to pursue darkening of the eyebrows, lips and hair to complete the look.