Hands on

September 28, 2016

Inverted High Pass Retouching Technique

From all retouching techniques for skin, I like the so-called inverted high pass method the most. It looks very natural and the process is being used by professionals around the world.

And the best thing is: It is a very fast technique.

Retouching skin can be a tiring thing. And when it comes to nude photography, there is a lot of skin. Often, skin colors require a bit of smoothing but you want to bring back some skin structure, at the same time. Adding a texture to a three dimensional image is difficult. So some clever people came up with a method to speed up this process with the help of Photoshop.

Inverted High Pass in Photoshop

  • Make sure your image is 16bit.
  • Copy the background layer twice, rename to ‘blur’ and ‘high pass’.
  • Use Gaussian blur on the ‘blur’ layer with an amount that looks super smooth yet leaves contours.
  • Select the high pass layer and go to Image > Apply Image, select layer ‘blur’, check ‘invert’, blending mode ‘add’, scale ‘2’.
  • Hide layer ‘blur’ as it won’t be needed anymore. Use Gaussian blur with one third of previous value on layer ‘high pass’ and invert your layer.
  • Select ‘linear light’ for ‘high pass’ layer and add a layer mask (filled black). Now, draw with a white brush on the areas you’d like to apply the correction to.
  • Reduce opacity of layer ‘high pass’ to reduce the effect, keep it sublte.

P.S. You can print this page to remember the necessary steps.



Simon Bolz, Frankfurt
Tel.: +49 (69) 95 82 02 12
Mob.: +49 (172) 620 55 18


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