How to paint lips in Photoshop?

When processing digital portraits, situations often arise when it is necessary to correct some details of the subject's face. Moreover, it does not matter at all whether we are dealing with an amateur photo of our own wife or with an image of a professional model. An inexpressive look, skin imperfections, poorly defined eyelashes, etc. often spoil the whole look of a not bad, in general, frame. We will focus on one of the fairly common problems in portrait photography - the dull color of the lips in the picture. To solve it, we need a computer with one of the best graphics editors Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 installed on it. In principle, in order to demonstrate how to paint lips in Photoshop, any version of the program created in the last decade will do. It's just that the authors have exactly PH CC 2014. We will work in it.


Almost any task in Photoshop can be solved in different ways. Our case is no exception. We will describe several of the most common methods, but first we will carry out general preparatory work.

Opening our case study.

Duplicate the "Lips_Original" layer. The main work will be carried out on the "Lips_copy" layer.

Select any tool for complex selection from the lasso group (L) and carefully outline the contour of the lips. Given the sufficient contrast in our image, we applied the Magnetic Lasso. It works very well with high contrast images.

Note. If you are comfortable with vector tools, you can use Pen.

Now we need to smooth and feather our selection. To do this, go to the "SelectionThis completes the preparatory steps.

Now let's answer a question that may arise from an inquisitive reader. Why do you need a selection, and even saved in the channel? In the future, we will have to work exclusively with the lips, both totally and pointwise. In this case, it will be completely impossible to avoid the impact of our efforts not only on the lips, but also on the nearby skin areas. And this will lead to constant fixes, rollbacks in the history palette - in general, a lot of unnecessary and unproductive work will appear. Precise lip definition saves you from all of these overlays. In turn, the use of smoothing and shading will give a natural look of the transition of the lipstick overlay into the skin surrounding the lips.

Saving the selection to the channel allows you to work with it in the future without fear of losing it. We can safely close the file and reopen it in Photoshop whenever we want - our selection will be safe and sound. Also in the channel there is the possibility of almost unlimited editing of the saved selection, but that's another story. Well, now you can go directly to a detailed consideration of the question - how to paint lips in Photoshop?

Manual work

This method is the simplest and at the same time the most laborious. First, let's load our selection. In the channels palette, click on the saved channel ("Alpha Smoothed"), holding down Ctrl beforehand. Then press Ctrl H in order to hide the selection (but not cancel!). In an invisible state, it will not distract us and interfere with the visual assessment of the work done, but at the same time it will fully retain its functionality.


Select the "Sponge" in the toolbar. You can set your own settings - the main thing is to understand the principle of its operation:

  • brush size - depends on the image resolution;
  • mode: increasing or decreasing saturation - everything is clear;
  • saturation factor - it is best to set small values ​​in the range of 15-30%.

The operation of the tool is very simple. You move with a sponge on the surface to be treated, and the process of saturation with the color of this very surface, or vice versa (in the "De-saturation" mode) is in progress. The more you drive in one place, the more saturated tone it will acquire. This is how our lips will look (two options) after finalizing.

The advantages of this method are as follows:

  • allows you to manually adjust the saturation;
  • The shade can be varied in different locations.


  • often have to do step-by-step rollbacks;
  • it is required to closely monitor the general appearance of the processed object - somewhere you can slightly undershoot, and somewhere on the contrary - to sort out in tone;
  • takes a long time.

One conclusion can be drawn: this method is for creative people with good artistic abilities.

Automation - quickly and efficiently

Now let's move on to less laborious and fast methods.

  1. Select the "Lips_copy" layer, load the selection from the channel and press the key combination Ctrl J ("Copy to a new layer"). This brings the lips to a new layer. Let's call it "Lips 2" (double click on the layer name and enter a new name).

  2. Next, click on the "Create a new adjustment layer or fill layer" icon located at the bottom of the layers palette. Most of the color tone adjustment methods are hidden under this icon.

  3. Before us there was a palette "Selective color correction". Until we touch it. We need a layer palette. There, at the very top, there is a new, adjustment layer, which is also called "Selective color correction".

    Note. The Selective Color Correction palette and the layer of the same name are interconnected. In fact, the palette is the setting menu for this layer.

  4. Now any actions taken on this layer will be reflected in the entire image. We don't need this. Our task is to change the color of the lips, not the whole face. Therefore, hold down the Alt key and move the cursor exactly to the border between the "Custom..." and "Lips 2" layers. It will take the shape of a square and a downward-pointing arrow. Left-click and release Alt. The adjustment layer has shifted slightly to the right and got an arrow icon. It is done. Now it will only affect the underlying "Lips 2" layer.

  5. You can start the main thing - processing the lips. Go to the Selective Color Correction palette (you should have it open) and start experimenting with the color settings. Specifically, it will look like this:
    • in the "Colors" field, select "red";
    • below there are sliders for adjusting the main components of any color, the main work is done with them;
    • even lower there are two labels - "Relative" and "Absolute". If you choose the first, the lips will get a "lipstick gloss", the second will make them dull;
    • Well, at the very bottom there are several rarely used settings, which we will not focus on - we do not need them.

After some experiments, we settled on the following option:

Gray old

to subtly and correctly paint lips in Photoshop using a regular brush. This method gives off a distant romance of the first versions of the legendary program, but it must be admitted that it is still relevant.

  1. So, let's do the already familiar manipulations: load the selection from the channel and press Ctrl J. Then turn on the button "Preserve the transparency of pixels" in the upper part of the layers palette. When this option is enabled, only pixels with a color will be affected, that is, in our case, lips.

  2. Select a regular round brush from the standard set of Photoshop, set the maximum softness, select the brush diameter to match your image. The color is red.

    Note. Of course, you can choose any color that interests you. We just choose the standard.

  3. The rest is straightforward, although there is a little cunning. We paint over the lips with a brush and we have unclear what at the output.

  4. Now, attention! Press the key combination Ctrl Shift F, bringing up the "Relax" window. The window is small, with a minimum of settings, but it works wonders. First, let's run the blending modes. Our actions are reflected in real time - we can visually observe all the changes taking place in the image. Just don't forget to check the "View" box. We settled on the "Base shade" mode.

  5. It turned out so-so. Too intense. This is easy to fix. We set the transparency to our liking and admire the result.

  6. Useful little things

    There are many more ways to apply makeup in Photoshop. Let's show some lightning-fast and very elementary methods.

    Note. Almost all tools for working with color are located in the main menu under the address "Image