Clinique Post-Production 1: Initial Compositing and Basic Cleaning

In this series of Photoshop classes, you’ll see the complete post-production process for the Clinique-style advertising image that Karl shot (this is available in our Product section).

This first chapter focuses on creating the group shot. This involves layering and compositing the final images, cleaning up the background and base surface, removing water droplets and reducing the reflection in the base surface. To do this, Karl uses a variety of tools and techniques, demonstrating how to work with masks, use the clone stamp and brush tool and adjust highlights and contrast.

In this class:

  • Layering files in Photoshop – Demonstrate how to manually align images
  • How to recover highlight details
  • How to use the Clone Stamp tool
  • How to clean the background and base surface using the Clone and Brush tools
  • How to reduce reflections on a white surface

Clinique post production before example

The original file before removing water drops from the bottles and base.

Clinique post production after example

After removing water drops and reducing the reflections in the base.

To see how this image was shot, watch the Clinique Style Advertising Shoot classes.

If you’re unfamiliar with the techniques covered in this class, watch our Photoshop for Photographers course, where Karl covers the essential Photoshop tools. More advanced techniques can be found in the Advanced Photoshop for Photographers classes, presented by professional retoucher Viktor Fejes.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Alhaidan

    Amazing photo shoot from start to finish, but I have a question concerning whether to make the shoot realistically believable or not I mean 90% of commercial work are not real even a face of a model or a face of celebrity in a cover of a magazine so why do we care about realism that much if that is the case ?!
    Thanks Karl!

    1. Hi Alhaidan, different companies will accept different levels of ‘artistic license’. Some companies don’t though and they want their adverts to look completely real, Clinique has always been a brand (certainly in Europe) using real splash shots.

  2. hi, at the minute 42 of this video you were fixing the MID_TONE and saturation of
    the right bottle without effecting the other bottles on the other layers that you made…so I tried to do the same thing but was effecting all the other layers as well…I wasn’t able to isolate one single layer to adjust it separately…any tips? 🙂 thanks

    1. Hi Peter, at the bottom left of each adjustment layer panel is an icon that looks like a folder with an arrow pointing downwards. If you click that Icon then the adjustment layer only affects the layer below it and not the others.

  3. Ha-ha! “I don’t know why my brain accepts it”
    I’m sure, Karl, I could tell you about so many things MY brain accepts…however I probably won’t be.

  4. Hi Karl,
    Thanks for in-depth retouch tutorial.
    I haven’t yet completed video, but i noticed at 51:55-51:59 while using clone tool on jar bottom right corner – you were clicking along curve after regular intervals and nice line along jar was getting cloned…
    it will be great if you could share the setting for the same….

    1. Hi, hold the ‘shift’ key down in-between mouse clicks and it forces the clone tool in a straight line between the two points that you clicked.

  5. Does it ever happen that you do the editing after the first day of shooting, and then reshoot everything again the next day – knowing that you can do few things better based on the first edit pass feedback ? I know some bigger shoots have the “digital technician”, who is usually doing the first pass in photoshop – as everyone is shooting – just for that purpose.

    1. Hi Gregg no not really as I’ve always got a very clear idea of what the image is going to and needs to look like based on the previsualisation that I’ve done.

  6. hello karl,
    I have a problem loading this video, it keep pausing and when i refreshed the page many times and still not able to watch all of the video, it keep stopping one point.. the problem is not my connection, all other videos are playing fine
    thank you for everything

  7. I’m looking forward to the post production/Photoshop/compositing portion of this training. Any idea when it will be available other than “soon”?

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