We have all seen beautiful portraits ruined by aggressive retouching. How can we tell if a portrait crosses the abusive retouching line? Its simple, if the persons own mother doesn’t recognize them, youve gone too far. Thankfully there are many retouching programs that help us achieve pleasing results. My newest ally in the retouching battle is Perfectly Clear by Athentech.

For years Photo labs and Photo Kiosks have been using Perfectly Clear (in fact 30 million prints a day on average). Its fast and does a great job at batch retouching. Most photographers, myself included, never knew their labs were using it.

Whats more exciting is Perfectly Clear is available as a plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom giving photographers a powerful tool they can use in their workflow. I was first introduced to the software in my hotel room at 2 a.m. by Photofocus Publisher and Editor Richard Harrington. I was exhausted but his energy and enthusiasm while he showed me how he edits his images kept my attention. We finally went to bed about an hour later. It’s funny, he used Perfectly Clear to remove bags under eyes but by keeping me up he gave me bags under my eyes. In the end, it was worth it.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Benjamin Parker (Marvels Spider-Mans uncle)

It only takes a few clicks of the mouse to use this powerful tool. Fortunately, Perfectly Clear takes on the responsibility of making sure we don’t abuse the retouching power by giving us a good set of default presets to start with. I like to start with a default preset, then tweak the settings to my style. When I have the image looking the way I want, I save the preset as my own. The next time I fire up Perfectly Clear, my preset becomes the default.

Harness the Power of Smart Objects

By adding smart objects to our workflow we can apply the filter as a smart filter. This makes our edits non-destructive, in other words we can make changes to the image after we apply the filter. Once we have the image looking the way we want, we save and close the image.

5 Easy Steps for the Right Amount of Retouching

Step 1: Create Smart Object by right clicking on the background layer and select Convert to Smart Object.

Step 2: Apply Perfectly Clear as a Smart Filter is easy. From the Filter menu click Athentech Imaging and select Perfectly Clear to launch the plugin.

Step 3: Start with a Default Preset by clicking on Beautify then select Adjust to modify your settings.

Step 4: Tweak your image by adjusting the sliders. Start from the top and work your way down. Perfectly Clear is intelligent enough not to apply a setting if it doesn’t need it. Hovering your mouse over a sliders name with bring up a description box for that slider. You can also learn more about Perfectly Clear by clicking on watch tutorials.

Step 5: Save Preset by clicking on create. Name your preset and add a brief description describing what the preset is used for.

Using Perfectly Clear will help you to apply the right amount of retouching to any image. Give it a try.