How do you de­pict per­fect skin for a per­fect pin-up?

WolfKnife, Italy

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An­swer

Goñi replies

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.

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