Many people love the look of contoured makeup but it can be pretty difficult to master. It also takes some time to do so you probably don’t have time to contour your face every day. But what if someone snaps a picture of you and you wish you had contoured your face? Or maybe you just want to do some fun photo retouching? This tutorial explains a quick and easy way to add face contouring makeup in Photoshop.
Step 1: Find A Good Face Contouring Guide
There are tons of these pictures floating around online. Most of them are pretty much the same, but they might vary a little depending on the shape of the person’s face. I suggest finding a picture based on your own facial shape and using that as a guide. I just went to Google Images and searched for “face contouring map”. Tons of options came up.
Step 2: Choose Your Picture To Contour
I choose this picture of myself for this tutorial.
Step 3: Load Your Picture Into Photoshop
If you can’t buy Photoshop, it’s available (along with Adobe Lightroom) for $10.00. That’s how I got Photoshop.
Now create a new layer and name this layer something like “shadows” so you can keep track of your layers.
Use the eye dropper tool to select a color from a shadow on your face. Don’t worry if it isn’t the exact perfect shade, we’ll change that later. Now make sure you are on the “shadow” layer and draw in the shadows.
(Now personally, I like to do check shadows separate from other shadows. You can create yours however you like. But I have found that it’s better to do the nose contouring shadow on a separate layer because when we apply a gaussian blur later, it doesn’t always look good if it has the same level of blur the cheeks do.)
This is an example of how the check shadows should look. I also went ahead and added shadow to the lower outline of my face, but you could do this on a different layer if you want. Or you might not want to do it at all, it completely depends on what exactly you’re going for.
Step 4: Adding Gaussian Blur
Make sure you are still on your “shadow” layer and go to “filter” “gaussian blur”. You’ll see a box pop up on the side. Use that to adjust the blur so that it looks good. If you find that the blur itself looks good but it’s still too dark, you can also adjust the opacity of that layer.
If it seems like the color is wrong, go to “image”, “adjustments”, “hue/saturation”. Use the sliders to get the color right where you want it. I actually had to do this myself in this image because the shadow was a little too gray looking. Also, if you didn’t draw your shadow in perfect (I didn’t) you can use the eraser tool to remove the shadow color from areas where it shouldn’t be. For instance, I had shadow color in my hair area that I had to remove.
Step 5: Nose Contouring
Create a new layer and call it “nose shadow”. Then create a thin line down the side and around the bottom of the nose.
Apply the gaussian blur again like we did for the cheek shadows. Make sure the color is correct and fix it in “hue/saturation” if it isn’t.
Continue doing these steps until you have shadows in all the areas you feel are necessary.
Step 6: Adding Highlights
Now we are basically going to repeat the same steps but this time you’re going to use the eye dropper tool to select a highlight color on your face. I picked the tiny highlight on the end of my nose.
In this case, I didn’t want to go into the area where my glasses were creating shadows, but normally you would extend the highlight color up much closer to the eyes.
Step 7: Final Touches
At this point you may think your highlights are too bright or your shadows are too dark. Or the color just isn’t right. So go back through all your layers and do adjustments as needed. Remember, you can change the color and saturation and you can also change the opacity level of the layers.
I decided my highlights were too bright so I decreased the opacity a little and I also decreased the opacity on my check shadows.
If you liked this article check out my GIMP Zombie Tutorial.