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Adjusting Flesh Tones with Photoshop CS4

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Scott Kelby shares a quick trick for removing the excess red from your photo's flesh tones.
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So what do you do if you’ve used Curves to properly set the highlights, midtones, and shadows, but the flesh tones in your photo still look too red? Try this quick trick that works great for getting your flesh tones in line by removing the excess red.

Step One:

Open a photo that you’ve corrected using the Curves technique shown earlier in this chapter. If the whole image appears too red, skip this step and go on to Step Three. However, if it’s just the flesh-tone areas that appear too red, press L to get the Lasso tool and make a selection around all the flesh-tone areas in your photo. Press-and-hold the Shift key to add other flesh-tone areas to the selection, such as arms, hands, legs, etc., or press-and- hold the Option (PC: Alt) key to subtract from your selection. This can be a really loose selection like the one shown in Step Two (which doesn’t include his neck).

Step Two:

Go under the Select menu, under Modify and choose Feather. Enter a Feather Radius of 3 pixels (as shown here), and then click OK. By adding this feather, you’re softening the edges of your selection, which will keep you from having a hard, visible edge show up where you made your adjustment.

Step Three:

In the Adjustments panel, click on the Hue/Saturation icon, and when the Hue/Saturation options appear, click on the TAT (the Targeted Adjustment Tool—more on how it works later). To reduce some of the reds in his face, move the cursor over an area of his face that looks overly red, click-and-hold the tool, and drag to the left. The tool knows which Hue/Saturation slider to move (it jumps to the Reds, and reduces the Saturation amount), so just keep dragging until his skin tone looks more natural (a before and after is shown below). When it looks good to you, press Command-D (PC: Ctrl-D) to Deselect, completing the technique.

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