Skin retouching can seem a daunting task if you are a beginner. What brush do you use, what layer goes where, and how do you smooth the skin? And on top of that, you have to remember all the steps involved. So, how does Infinite Guide make the whole process simple?
Infinite Guide is just one of the Photoshop plugins from the Infinite Tools range that’s been developed by retouchers, photographers, and coders to make the whole process of editing simpler to learn and understand while being enjoyably creative at the same time.
Pratik Naik has developed a step-by-step plugin that has been carefully crafted to teach you the how and why, while taking the frustration out of the learning process when it comes to skin retouching, and it couldn’t be simpler to use. For intermediate users, you have a pre-constructed workflow as a plugin that allows you to move through the editing process in your own style, depending on the results that you are seeking.
The Plugin Panel
The panel itself consists of two starting tab options: start and steps. The start option guides you through each step, creating the layers for you and applying the correct brush for each step along the way, while explaining what you have to do to create the desired results. The steps option allows you to pick and choose the edits that you want to make, and again, this panel creates layers and brushes, simplifying your workflow.
The steps panel is for those who are new or relatively new to the skin retouching process. It walks you through each edit while creating the layers, brushes, and masks required to complete it. As you can see from the image above, there are six final grouped layer edits. Each of these can be edited to your own personal preference as you make your way through them, and once you have completed the entire sequence, you can always go back and tweak them further.
With each step explained as to what you are doing and why, this will increase your speed of understanding if you are new to the process. Each time you move through the steps, the brushes required are automatically created and set for you in terms of flow and opacity. You still have the ability to change these to your own preferences as you would if you were doing it from scratch in Photoshop.
I won’t go into each step here in this article, as visually, it would be too repetitive considering all the edits were applied to one image. The whole process is carefully crafted to include finishing edits to the skin that include frequency separation, anti-red, contouring, lip softening, and hair shadows, to name but a few.Handy tips are also included along the way, and although the experienced among you will be familiar with these, those just starting out may not yet consider some of them. For the more experienced, there are other plugins from the Infinite line that will enhance your editing skills, like Infinite Retouch, for example.
If you are experienced in this type of editing, all of this may seem nothing new, but for those starting out, this considered sequence will have you learning and easily reaching your final editing goals in no time.
The final result below, although subtle, includes a background replacement using another one of the Infinite Tools plugin panels, Infinite Texture, which I’ll cover in another article, as background replacement is only one of the many things that it can do.
The plugin is really easy to use and guides you through everything you need to do to edit your portraits in a simple step-by-step fashion. This will speed up your workflow if you decide to use it, as its pre-programmed actions allow you to focus on the editing rather than what you need to do to create your edit. This is a great tool and guide with a very low learning curve, even for the newest editors, as it explains what to do and why you are doing it at every turn. Sure, you can still go overboard with your editing, but at least you know why and where you have gone overboard, and you can go back and adjust the layers to fix the issues.
With the brushes and brush settings being pre-programmed for every edit, this also takes care of the decision of what to use and at what intensity. More experienced retouchers will know what to use, but for the beginner or intermediate retoucher, this alone will increase the pace of your workflow.
I’m really glad I had the opportunity to try out the guide, as I’ll be recommending this to the students I teach. With Infinite Guide, you develop muscle memory and become a more competent retoucher very quickly.