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Photoshop Cloning – How to Clone with High-Pass and Low-Pass Frequency Separation
This Adobe Photoshop Cloning Tutorial is about the High Pass and Low Pass Frequency Separation method of cloning. We covered many different topics in our Photoshop Extended Cloning Video Tutorial, but we wanted to give you this advanced way to clone, as a sample of the content you can find in the full video.
If you use the Clone Stamp Tool, Healing Brush, or Spot Healing Brush straight onto a layer, you are making an exact clone with little control over the fine details. If you approach your clone with a High Pass Layer for texture, and a Low Pass layer for color and tone, you greatly increase your ability to soften or remove skin blemishes, facial hair, and even pores, without a dreaded repeating pattern.
This is used by professional retouchers who need to create porcelain skin for the models. This is one of the very few ways of achieving this level of high precision, perfect skin retouching.
Please jump to 2 minutes and 25 seconds to skip directly to the settings.
You want to stay ahead of the game, so you’re always on the lookout for the latest trends: new software, new software upgrades, new technology, or new equipment that will make you a better retoucher.
Sometimes, though, what can improve your work isn’t a program or a gadget, but a technique. The technique doesn’t have to be revolutionary or cutting edge; it just has to be effective and helpful. You might not use it often, but it may turn out to be a life-saver the one time you do use it.
The High-Pass and Low-Pass method of cloning is an example. I think of it as retouching overkill, but if you want to create perfect skin, this is a way to do it without affecting the color of the photo. This will work in any version of Adobe Photoshop CS3, CS4, CS5, or CS6. It will most likely work in older versions as well.
A word of advice before we see what the High-Pass and Low-Pass method is about: When you use it, do so at the front end of the retouching process; before applying any extra color corrections. If you do it at the back end it will prevent you from working on any other layers that are part of the image.
Here is a quick look at how to apply the High-Pass and Low-Pass Frequency Separation Technique:
- Merge the channels of the image into High-Pass and Low-Pass layers
- Apply a Gaussian blur filter to the Low-Pass layer of approximately 20 pixels
- Select the High Pass layer, then “Image>Apply” from the menu bar
- For a 16-bit image, select the Low-Pass layer and to “Add” in the Blending field. The Scale should be 2, the Offset 0, and the Invert turned on. If you’re working on an 8-bit image, select “Subtract” in the Blending field and set the Scale at 2, the Offset at 128 and do not turn on the Invert feature.
- For both 8-bit and 16-bit, set the High-Pass layer to linear light.
Now the High-Pass layer is for working on the texture, and the Low-Pass layer is for working on the color. You can now use a Clone Stamp Tool, Healing Brush, or Spot Healing Brush to clone the texture on the High-Pass layer.
The brush will remove freckles, scars, wrinkles, or any other imperfection of your choosing. It will not affect the coloring of the photo because you are cloning the texture (High-Pass layer) not the shading (Low-Pass layer). Beauty or glamour shots are where this becomes most useful.
For more common portrait corrections, this technique will do an amazing job if you are looking to retouch the jowels of the neck, remove crows feet, or remove the wrinkles in clothing. By making the separation of texture and value, it makes retouching complicated areas a little easier in certain situations.
The High-Pass and Low-Pass Frequency Separation technique can come in handy. The Photoshop Extended Cloning Video Tutorial on this web site covers other topics, in its 110 minutes of content, that can provide you with many more tricks-of-the-trade.
Knowledge is power. In this case it’s the power to become the best photo retoucher you can be. Don’t forget that you are your biggest resource. Check out the Photoshop Extended Cloning Video Tutorial, and take your retouching skills to the next level.
This Adobe Photoshop CS6 Tutorial on High-Pass and Low-Pass Frequency Separation Cloning, Sharpening, and Retouching is also valid for older versions of the Creative Suite series, including CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5 and CS6. If you would like to learn more about Photo Enhancement from a Professional Retoucher, I offer consulting one-on-one classes. Please contact me today, and I will be able to add you to the schedule too. If you would just like to watch online videos, The Art of Retouching Studio offers many Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners and Advanced users.