The best way to remove hot spots on a subject is by using makeup and proper lighting. The second best way is Photoshop. Here’s how to use Photoshop to remove hot spots on a subject—keeping the retouch looking natural while at the same time not spending hours editing just one image.
Steps to Removing a Hot Spot:
- Convert to a smart object
- Open the smart object and create a new blank layer
- Use the eyedropper tool to sample a color near the hot spot
- Paint over the hot spot at 20% opacity
- Add small amount of noise and gaussian blur
- Adjust the layer opacity, if needed
- Save the smart object and return to the original image
- Apply Perfectly Clear
Convert to a smart object
Step 1: With your image open in Photoshop, right click on the background layer and convert the layer to a smart object. This will allow us to apply changes on a copy of the original image—giving us the ability to make future changes.
Open the smart object and create a new blank layer
Step 2: Double click on the smart object to open a copy of the original image. You will notice Photoshop added a .psb extension to the image. This is a temporary file that’s embedded into the smart object. Click on the Create New Layer icon in the layer palette to create a new blank layer.
Use the eyedropper tool to sample a color near the hot spot
Step 3: Use the eyedropper tool with a sample size of 5 by 5 average and Sample All layers selected to sample a color near the hot spot.
Paint over the hot spot at 20% opacity
Step 4: Using a soft edge brush, paint over the hot spot at 20% opacity. Brushing over an area more than once adds another 20%. Take your time and apply small strokes.
Making the retouch look natural
Step 5: At this point, the retouch looks good; but, to make it look natural, we need to add a small amount of digital noise, then a small amount of gaussian blur. From the Filter menu click Noise then select Add Noise. Depending on the size of your image, add the appropriate amount of noise. You will see the change before you select OK.
From the Filter menu, click Blur then select Gaussian Blur. Add a small amount of blur, then select OK. Use the layer’s opacity to adjust the retouch, if needed.
Save the smart object and return to the original image
From the File menu select Save or use keyboard shortcut [Win] Ctrl + S | [Mac] Com + S. Close the smart object by clicking on the small X to return to the original image.
Apply your favorite portrait retouching techniques. I use Perfectly Clear from Athentech to complete my retouching. The software enhances eyes, skin, teeth, and even removes dark circles under the eyes. There is also a “Remove Shine” feature that’s great for normal shine. In our case, we had to do a major repair to the image, not just a touch up.