How do you depict perfect skin for a perfect pin-up?
Getting smooth, flattering skin isn’t hard at all using Curves in Photoshop. Begin with a simple palette: light peach for your base colour, neutral blue for your shadow, and black, which will be used to intensify blue shadows. After setting up a light source, make sure the shadows hug the figure so as to describe its contours. Always keep the shadows soft by using a combination of feathered brushes, gradients, and the Blur and Smudge tools. Avoid too much contrast – it will make facial features too harsh, angular and inappropriate for a pin-up.
Remember to cast a rim light on the side opposite the light source. After you paint in your blue shadows, make a selection of them and create a new layer. In this layer, add a black gradient, 30-50 per cent Opacity, from the direction of your light source. This helps model the features by slightly intensifying the shadows where they come into contact with the light. Add a low-opacity white gradient right where the light source hits the face. At the top of the stack add a Curves adjustment layer. Select blue from the menu in the dialog and raise the curve on the darker tones, while lowering it in the light tones. Then select red and do the opposite: high on light tones, low in dark tones. This is a good trick to give the skin warmth and depth.
Believe it or not, I’ve used only three colours to attain this much variety in the skin tones.