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Using the Skin Tool

Adjust the color of skin tone with the skin tool.

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What is the Skin Tool?

The Skin Tone toolmceclip0.jpg enables you to subtly adjust the tint of colors in the range of skin tone to correct skin that appears too red or green. It does not smooth skin or remove blemishes—it only affects color. 

Human vision is especially sensitive to skin color, as it greatly aids our survival to recognize sickness, anger, embarrassment, and many other important elements of the human experience. However, this means we are naturally very sensitive to even slight differences in skin color and complexion, which can make flattering portrait photography especially challenging.

From a color science perspective, the hue of every skin tone falls surprisingly into a very narrow range of the color spectrum because we all share varying amounts of the same 3 components: hemoglobin (blood), and 2 types of melanin.

While the intensity of melanin varies greatly throughout the world, the hue range between them all is almost entirely centered in the orange region of the color wheel. By targeting this range, the skin tone tool can effectively edit skin tone in most images.

Modern smartphone cameras make special adjustments for skin tone, but they often do not capture our skin tone in the way we wanted them to for a myriad of reasons. Thus, the Skin Tone toolmceclip0.jpg allows you to subtly adjust the color of your subject's skin without affecting the rest of the image.

Where it is:

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Why would you use it?

The Skin Tone toolmceclip0.jpg is primarily a corrective tool. Occasionally a person may appear more red or green in an image than they do in person, so the Skin Tone toolmceclip0.jpg allows you to subtly adjust skin color to look more natural.

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Here we can see the skin tool altering the hue of the subject's skin. Even at the max, the effect is subtle, but it can make a noticeable difference.

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Note how the skin is a bit red to begin with, but with the Skin tool pushed to the right it looks more natural. Neither version is wrong; skin tone is highly subjective.

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Note how the background falls within the range of skin tone color, and thus is affected along with the skin. 

Tips & Tricks:

1. Various factors such as lighting and white balancemceclip0.jpgcan cause a camera to reproduce skin tone outside of the normal color range. When this happens, the Skin Tone toolmceclip0.jpg will not alter the skin until it's adjusted to bring the skin into the expected color range.

2. Most presets will change skin tone in some way, so it’s typically best to use the skin tool near the end of your workflow.

3. The HSL toolmceclip1.jpg has an orange region that can have a similar effect, but it’s range is more narrow, meaning that skin which has yellow or red colors in it will not be affected by the orange HSL region completely. The skin tool, on the other hand, is more broad to encompass the typical range of skin tone colors under good lighting conditions.

4. Double tapping the slider returns it to 0.

5. Other objects in an image or video that fall into the same color range as skin tone will also be affected, such as wood or orange clothing.