Photoshop like a Pro: How to “Powder Puff” a Shiny Face!

by Kelly on October 28, 2009 · 2 comments

in Beauty, First Time Here?, Leisure, Looks, Technology

Photoshop like a Pro: How to “Powder Puff” a shiny face!
Using the clone tool to get rid of shine, sweat, scars, zits, and more!

If you are like some of my friends, you are artistic, tasteful, and have access to Photoshop, but just don’t know exactly what to do with it.  This tutorial uses slightly more advanced Photoshop tools, and relies on the user’s artistic sensibilities.  This isn’t your typical “how to crop a photo” tutorial that any monkey can do.  This is something useful in a dozen ways that you can develop some serious skills with!

In the same way that powder makeup diffuses the light on your face to eliminate shine, we are going to “powder puff” a photo using the Photoshop Clone tool.  This tool, with certain adjustments, can be used to cover scars, zits, and so much more!

Dancing-machine and fellow OMFGstyle contributor, Laura Miller, has so graciously allowed me to use a picture of her from a night we went dancing in London.  After a night of barhopping in the rain, and hours of dancing, the only thing this super-cute picture needed was a little shine relief!

First things first:
Open Photoshop, then go to File > Open to open your image file.

Image6 FileOpen

Now go to Window and make sure that Options, Tools, Navigator, & History are checked off.

Step 1: A Crash Course in Cloning
The clone tool lets you take a sample of pixels that are in one location on an image, and reproduce them in another place. Select the CLONE tool.
Image8 Clone Tool

The Clone tool works in two parts:
First, hold down ALT (option) and click on the area you want to reproduce.

Image1 Demo

Second, move your mouse somewhere else and just start clicking!

Image3 Demo

You will start to see the area you ALT (option)-clicked on is being reproduced where you are now clicking. As you move your mouse around, the area you sampled from moves as well.

Image4 Demo

It’s that simple. Play with it and get a feel for how it works.

Note: If you click without first ALT (option)-clicking on your source, you will get an alert telling you so. Image5 Clone Alert

Step 2: Hey! This is important!
In a photograph, often the ‘shine’ is pixels that are blown-out to white or near-white color because light reflected straight back at the camera lens.  Using the clone tool, we’re going to sample normal skin-colored areas that are right next to the shine, and plop them down where the shine is, covering it like makeup.

But first, we’re going to adjust some features of the Clone tool:

First of all, your Clone Tool should be selected.
Near the top of your screen, in the Options bar, set the Opacity to about 30-35%.  This makes our sample sheer, hence more natural and blending.

Image9 Opacity

Brush Diameter
Right-click (command-click) on your image and adjust the brush diameter to the right size for where you want to take your sample from. You’ll need a smaller size to get in corners of eyes, lips, and the tip of the nose. Too big and you might get a piece of eyebrow in there, and I don’t think you want to make more eyebrow.


It’s best for the edges of the Clone brush to be soft so as to avoid hard lines and circular shapes when you are cloning skin.  Right-click and adjust the hardness setting to 15-20%. As you perform cloning on different kinds of images, you may need to adjust these features, but for now this is a good starting point.

Step 3: Let’s DO this.
Now that the settings are correct, ALT (option) – click and take a sample of natural-colored skin just next to the shiny area.

Move the cursor over to the shiny area and click, click, click, ‘powder-puffing’ shine and delicate lines away. Try to stay aware of where your sample area has moved so as to avoid copying unwanted areas.

Image11 Cheek Image12 Cheek

Try another area where you have to right (command) -click and adjust the diameter of your brush such as the Lips, tip of nose, etc.

Image13 Forehead

Image14 Forehead

Step 4: Undo-ing Mistakes
Now that you’re clicking and cloning away, you might get a little click happy and go too far!  To see all your past moves, and un-do them easily, go to Window and make sure that History is checked off.

In the History window you can click back several steps, to undo (and re-do) any moves you’ve made. If only real life were this easy!
IMage15 History

IMage16 History

Save your finished file, File > Save As.

Image17 SaveAs

Open both your original and your retouched photos and compare your handy-work!

Image18 Original
Image19 Final

Step 5: TIPS and TRICKS
Is a mark or zit not covering completely?
Adjust the diameter size to just cover the zit.  Turn up the opacity, but keep the hardness level lower.  You’ll be putting down more color just atop the zit, but keeping a soft blend to the edges of your brush. (its like placing a dot of heavy concealer blended around the edges)

Is your re-touched face looking too fake?
Try lowering the opacity more, and using smaller sample areas so the differences you’re creating are more subtle.

Is the face being retouched starting to not look like that person anymore?
The pattern of light and shadow on each person’s face is created by the natural contours of the face. Change too much and they may start to not look like themselves anymore!  Again, working with smaller areas and delicate levels of change can help keep things looking good!

When searching Photoshop tools that affect lightness and darkness, I found that the BURN tool can darken areas that are too bright?  Why not use this?
There are two other tools in Photoshop that deal with lightness and darkness. The Dodge tool lightens areas, while the Burn tool darkens them.  While the Burn tool may then seem like the logical tool to use for a bright shiny face, don’t be misled.  The Burn tool will darken white pixels, toning them down into darker shades.  This may only result in leaving dark splotches on the face being retouched.  The Clone is the way to go, by softly reproducing skin’s natural tones.

Instead, use the Burn tool to darken background shadows and create contours along the sides of people’s arms and legs to make them look thinner…Perhaps a tutorial for another day!!!


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Polprav November 2, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Hello from Russia!
Can I quote a post “No teme” in your blog with the link to you?

Cody November 3, 2009 at 12:00 am

We’d love it! Post the link to your site here so our readers can check it out!

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