Frequency Separation

Blog: How to Create Frequency Separation (FS)

Frequency separation is a technique used by many photographers to smoothen out faces and give it details. Its one of my things done when retouching a photo and this blog is to give you a step by step how to achieve frequency separation.

Some photographers use Adobe Lightroom first to edit their images and end there while other like me start off on Lightroom and finish up in Photoshop. Lets get right into it….

First thing to do is duplicate your original image twice (ctrl + J twice), you can rename one smoothness and the other detail.

With the smoothness layer selected, click on filter > blur > Gaussian blur and set the value to 5. (smoothness layer should be on top at this point to see effect.)

Drag the Detail layer above the smoothness layer, click image > apply image. when the window opens, Change Layer to smoothness, Blending to Subtract, scale 2 and offset 128. (the value of the scale and offset have been calculated by previous photographers to give you the exact difference between the two layers to have the perfect detail.

Click ok and change the details layer blending mode to linear light.

Select both the detail layer and the smoothness layer and put it in a group (ctrl + G).

You can rename the group FS or Frequency separation.

Open the group and select the smoothness layer, click Lasso tool or L and change the feather to 15px.

With the smoothness layer selected, use the lasso tool to select body skin parts in fairly large sizes.

After selection, got to filter > blur > Gaussian blur… sample different values though i mostly use between 10 and 25.

If you comfortable with that value, when the next area is selected, click (ctrl + F) to repeat the same filter used previously.

Note: Avoid the Eye area (eye brows, eye lashes, eye-ball), Nostril holes, ears, and lips.

When done with smoothness, click details layer and change your tool to stamp tool.

The stamp tool allows you sample an area and print it on a section u want to change, some time good for blemishes.

To sample an area, hold alt key and click the area of skin, when you release the alt key after sampling an area you should see a plus sign, whatever the plus sign hovers around gets sampled in the stamp tool brush.

Note: keep the radius of the stamp tool small.

When stamping is done, you can click on the FS group and reduce opacity to better blend the Frequency separation layer with the original image.

Have in mind, the values used for the Smoothness and guassian blur can be changed to suit your taste but apply image scale and offset are fixed.

If you have any questions. suggestions or request, leave a comment below.

Dont forget to like and share.

Thank You

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