How to Make a Subject Look Younger with Photo Manipulation

Whether your motives are good or evil, you may have reason to use your photo editor to make a subject appear younger with photo manipulation. Here are a few tips to remove marks of age from a portrait photo:

Skin

A first way of making skin look younger and remove wrinkles or imperfections is to use a uniform dust or scratch filter. At a reasonably low opacity, this should smooth skin tones and remove minor imperfections. This method, however, can produce some undesirable effects. A way to combat such effects is this: before applying such an effect, copy your image to another canvas. Run the dust or scratch filter over the image, then use the erase tool to wipe out all negatively effected areas. Now, copy the entire second canvas onto the first. The result will be that the erased areas are filled by the information on the original canvas.

Another idea is to use a heal brush, like Photoshop's Spot Healing Brush Tool, on skin. Locate such a tool in your photo editor. You will probably see a setting for brush diameter. Play with this and with any other settings your heal brush has, and find settings which satisfy you. Apply this tool to whichever areas of the portrait contain unsightly blemishes or wrinkles.

The liquify tool may also come in handy. This is a uniform filter, applying to the whole image, and is present in many photo editors.

Eyes

Yellowed or reddened eyes will betray your portrait. Desaturate the eyes of the subject with the sponge tool on a low setting. It can also be advantageous to use a smudge effect on the whites to lessen the severity of any optical defects.

Burn and dodge effects may be useful in de-aging the areas around the eyes.

Teeth

Another area where there is danger of yellowness is the teeth. Much of this can be solved similarly, by desaturating teeth with the sponge tool.

Cloning

One of the most useful anti-aging tools is, surprisingly, the clone stamp. Find photographs of the subject at a younger age or of other people who have desirable skin, eyes, or teeth. It is a simple matter to clone eye color or even areas of skin from one photo to another. Having done this, you can repair any rough edges with blurring or with the heal tool.

Painting

An effective tool if you cannot find features to add to your subject is to paint them on. For instance, if you subject's eyebrows, eyelashes, or facial hair is undesirable, you can touch it up by zooming very far in on that feature and brushing in new hair with the paint brush on a fine setting. What looks jarring on a very minute scale will be hardly visible when the image is zoomed out, and you may be able to achieve realistic effects manually.

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