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Fast, Accurate Facial Retouching with Perfect Portrait

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The Perfect Photo Suite 6 from onOne Software is a collection of plugins that extend the capabilities of Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Lightroom, and Apple Aperture. Plugins for precision masking, Lightroom layering, and portrait retouching comprise the most powerful elements of the suite. Photoshop expert and professional photographer Dan Moughamian focuses on the brand-new Perfect Portrait 1 plugin.
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Perfect Portrait deals exclusively with the art of retouching faces, and offers several new tools for speeding photographers’ workflows. Some of the best features include automatic facial feature detection (such as the ability to detect eyes or teeth), as well as intelligent masking tools that help to isolate specific regions of a face.

The Perfect Portrait Interface

To launch Perfect Portrait, open your image in Photoshop. I usually save the file first as a PSD or TIF, rather than working with an unsaved RAW file. In my experience, this helps to ensure the colors inside the suite (whether using Perfect Mask, Perfect Portrait, or another plugin) will display more accurately on a calibrated monitor. Once you’re ready, choose File > Automate > Perfect Portrait.

As noted, Perfect Portrait 1 has a new user interface (Figure 1). The most important tools are displayed in a toolbar at left, and the retouching panels are located down the right side. If you are short on time and want to quickly move through your edits, the tabs at the bottom left provide presets broken down by age and gender of the subject. Double-click any of the tabs to see thumbnail previews for that category.

Figure 1 The Perfect Portrait user interface contains many new tools and context-sensitive controls for retouching.

I recommend working through the primary tools and panels individually to get the best result. Note that there is also an Inspector in the Toolbar that you can access by selecting one of the tools and then pressing the “I” key to display the options for that tool. I find this to be helpful anytime I am using brush strokes to refine the image (more on this shortly).

You can use the Navigator[vb]Loupe panel to zoom into specific areas of your portrait. You can also use the same Pan and Zoom options as you would inside Photoshop. Pressing the H key selects the Hand tool (for grabbing and panning your image preview), pressing and holding the Space Bar down will temporarily switch to the Hand tool from other tools, and pressing the Z key will invoke the Zoom tool to change magnification levels.

This image, which was taken of the author when his receding hairline was less evident (sadly, Perfect Portrait cannot regrow hair), needs some work. We will focus on three areas, with the intent of maintaining realism: sharpening and whitening the eyes, reducing the effect of the various wrinkles and smile lines without removing them (which would make the image look fake), and brightening the teeth a modest amount.

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