Frequency separation technique in photoshop

Added Monday, January 17th, 2011 at 8:44 pm by

Totally unrelated photo

If you are wondering what frequency separation is, it’s basically just separating your colors and your texture. Now why would you do that? Well, it’s especially useful if you are editing a portrait photo and you want to do skin smoothing, removing blemishes etc. With this technique you can do all that without loosing texture in the skin. This technique is used a lot with model photos as it’s really important to keep the photo looking “real” and that is easy when the texture isn’t on the color layer.

So how is it done? Well it’s really easy.

1. Open up your image in Photoshop.
2. Make 2 copies of the background layer Naming the bottom one “Low” and the upper one “High”
3. Select your Low layer and go to filter – blur – Gaussian Blur nd blur this layer at 10px (guideline – You can do more or less if you wish)
4. Select your High layer and go to Image – Apply image and depending on whether you are editing a 8 bit or 16 bit image.

8 bit image:
Layer: low
Blending: Subtract
Scale: 2
Offset: 128

16 bit image:
Layer: low
Blending: Subtract
Scale: 2
Offset: 0

5. Now set the blending mode of your High layer to Linear light.
6. That’s it. Now your high and low layer should give you exactly the same as the background layer. Now you can begin to edit your high and low layer separately.

I’m sorry I didn’t have a photo that fit this technique. I will upload a couple of images when I find a fit :) Please try this out on your next portrait edit. And then after you have done this, you start using your dodge and burn on you low layer to get rid of those blemishes.

That’s how I do Frequency separation in Photoshop. Be sure to tell me how it works out.