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image enhancement

autoRetouch explained: Skin Retouch

Next to background removal, one of the most important image editing tasks for Fashion product images is retouching skin.

The human eye can discern the most minute details in a product image. In Fashion photography for e-commerce, this is particularly observable. Shoppers will make up their minds on an apparel product never based solely on the images of the product itself but also based on images that show a human model wearing it.

The overall appearance and as such the skin of the human model thus is an important part of any good fashion product image. Two of the most common skin retouching steps to move from raw photograph to e-commerce ready product image are: mole removal and airbrushing.

Until now, both of these tasks were tough to automate at scale.

It’s time for a paradigm shift

How does the Skin Retouch component work in autoRetouch?

The Skin Retouch component can be placed anywhere in an autoRetouch workflow. It can work together with other components, like Remove Background or Set on Canvas, but it also works standalone in a workflow.

The most important thing to note about this component is: it applies its effects and modifications, as the name suggests, only to skin.

First, any kind of visible human skin is selected; we call it segmented. This is done with outstanding precision. Nails, lips, nostrils, eyes, eyebrows, and beards are spared from this selection, so the effects only apply to actual areas of skin.

This is how autoRetouch “sees” skin. Note that fingernails, toenails and lips are not identified as part of the skin.
This is how autoRetouch “sees” skin. Note that fingernail, lips, teeth, ears, eyebrows, eyes, necklace and other accessories on the body are not identified as skin. Also, when hair touches the skin, it’s not “seen” as skin.

The component has two settings:

  1. Mole Removal – When switched on, dark skin moles will be detected in the skin area and replaced with skin that matches the surroundings. Think “Spot Healing” in other image editing tools, but on steroids. Good to know: freckles are not moles and will thus not be removed.
  2. Airbrush skin – On the identified skin area, a professional airbrushing is applied. To accomplish this in an image editing tool you would invert the image and apply a Highpass and Gaussian filter to it, paint with a brush over the skin and fade it out towards the edges. The skin retouch component works in a similar way. The result is a gentle airbrushing that removes skin imperfections but at the same time leaves skin pores visible, for a natural yet polished look. You can determine the intensity of this effect with the slider.
The skin retouch component removes moles and airbrushes the skin professionally.

What makes the autoRetouch ‘Skin Retouch’ component special?

Our service is designed around the concept of workflows. In a workflow, you chain up components, each representing an automated version of various otherwise manual retouching steps.

That means our Skin Retouch component, often is just one part of an automated image processing workflow that accomplishes various image editing tasks at once.

In a workflow where retouching skin is your primary objective, you will also incorporate automated background removal with our Remove Background component and can further automate additional image editing work, such as the application of ground shadows with our Add Ground Shadows component.

The biggest impact when moving from manual image editing to automated image processing with autoRetouch is the amount of time you save: think seconds, not minutes per image.

This becomes especially powerful when you also leverage autoRetouch’s bulk-processing capabilities (currently up to 100 images per workflow) in order to retouch many images at once. 

The Takeaway

Today’s online fashion retail environment is all about user experience.

To satisfy the human eye, impeccable skin is an important aspect of the overall product image aesthetic and as such must be taken seriously.

Optimization starts with the willingness to try something new. So, kick off your skin retouch automation journey with autoRetouch workflows today.

You can try the service for free with up to 10 images by creating an autoRetouch account