27:57 Duration

Frequency Separation Fundamentals

This lesson shows you how to get started doing an advanced retouching technique known as Frequency Separation. Using an included action, you’ll be able to easily separate an image into two layers, one that contains the fine details and one with all the basic colors and shading. Then you can retouch the two layers separately, which will allow you to replace the texture in skin without affecting the color/shading, or smooth out undulating surfaces without losing texture.

Note: The actions mentioned in the video are included within the practice images .ZIP file below. Also, at around 12:20 in the video, you might notice that the results of my retouching looks different than expected. That’s because I didn’t realize that my Clone Stamp panel settings were not at defaults… I show you that setting later in the video.


  1. Hi Ben, I have some U/W images that have light blotches (not classic backscatter) which dulls the water. Also very subtle sun rays that are lens-curved. This combo makes the water colour milky. I was trying to fix it with frequency separation, but not very successfully! Please help!

    1. Consider posting a low resolution example image an the Masters Forum Facebook group so I can see what you’re talking about and you might also get help from others there.

  2. Great lesson! I did have a bit of a problem concentrating at the very beginning because I kept looking at the background, wondering where in this beautiful country you recorded this lesson. Looks like Pacific Northwest paradise! The action loaded into PS exactly as you said it would. I have a couple images I want to try this on.

    1. That lesson was recorded in Armitage Park, which is on the northern edge of Eugene, OR.

  3. I have heard about this technique before, observed a tutorial on it, but was left without more background of how to set it up; actions certainly help, but you provided background on how to set up the technique and why. More examples of using this technique would be helpful. Thanks.

    1. Because there are two ways to achieve the same result. The results are visually identical, so pick one formula and stick with it… it doesn’t matter which one you choose.

  4. In case anyone else is having trouble finding the actions. They are in the folder with the images. I have a group of images that this should work well on.

    1. They should be included with the practice images. I included the following text in the video description to let people know that… let me know if you still have issues accessing them: “Note: The actions mentioned in the video are included within the practice images .ZIP file below.”