The Clarity tool can be used when softening the texture of the skin in portraits is required. To prevent the effect elsewhere in the image, particularly with backgrounds and highly textured clothing, brush the effect in using a layers adjustment. Some trial and error are required with the settings, depending on the desired effect. Natural or Classic method options are a good place to start. Although there may be some fine-tuning to make using the Structure slider, it is the Clarity slider that has the most significant effect. Avoid excessive slider adjustment as the Clarity tool may produce skin texture with an unnaturally smooth and plastic appearance.
When the desired balance has been achieved, you can save the settings as a single User Preset. When using the Clarity tool, it makes sense to create a small library of User Presets as the fast rendering between them on-screen is well-suited to displaying the subtle differences between the different settings.
If a layer mask has been made on an image, set the sliders to desired values and then switch between the method options to gauge the effectiveness of each. Use the clone variant option to make a variant group, then use the compare variant option as the favorite to compare each one before saving the tool’s settings as a user preset.
- Select the image in the browser.
- Go to the Layers tool.
- Select the Draw Mask from the foot bar menu or select the brush with the keyboard shortcut B and draw over the skin areas. Consider avoiding or removing the mask around eyes and lips.
- Go to the Clarity tool.
- In the Method drop-down menu, select either the Natural or Classic option.
- Drag the Clarity slider to the left, keeping to low values, while observing the effect on skin texture in the viewer. Avoid extreme adjustments. Zoom to 100% to check for unwelcome artifacts in backgrounds, enable the Exposure Warning, and check highlights.
- As an option, drag the Structure slider to the left in small increments, keeping to low values, while observing the effect on detailed areas, particularly eyelashes, eyebrows, and the iris, if included in the layer mask. Avoid extreme adjustments and check both highlights and shadows for potential clipping.