Photoshop Airbrush step by step video tutorial

Photoshop tutorial
See airbrush instructions below.

I’ve added a step by step Photoshop video tutorial giving you a look at how I edit my images. I’ve shown a few how to photo editing tips in the past, but today I’ve created a free, simple way for you to airbrush images yourself!

You don’t need to be a Photoshop expert to edit your images. By following a few basic steps below, you can airbrush your images with ease.

For best results, I recommend you first view the video below. The video is large, but if your computer can handle it, view it in 720HD and full screen mode. This will allow you to see my steps in detail.

After viewing the airbrush video, use the numbered steps below to see what I did and in which order. The outlined steps will help you re-create the process when editing your image on Photoshop.

Photoshop airbrush tutorial in 16 steps:

  1. Create a new Layer – CTRL+J (named Layer 1)
  2. Create a new Group – CTRL+G (name it Airbrush)
  3. Highlight Layer 1 then Filter>Blur>Surface Blur (use Radius 37, Threshold 19)
  4. On Layer 1 add new layer – Shift+CTRL+N (call it “texture”)
  5. Right click on Texture, Blend Mode>Hard Light
  6. On Texture – Shift+F5 – Fill should be 50% Gray
  7. Use Eyedropper to get sample of skin
  8. On the right side slider, make sure HSB is shown
  9. Use CTRL+U – Saturation/Hue settings: Hue 18, Saturation 26, Lightness 34
  10. Highlight Group Airbrush, then layer drop down menu – Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All
  11. Use Brush Tool to on the face
  12. Use Eraser Tool to clear out the eyes, eyebrows and mouth
  13. Highlight Texture Layer then use CTRL+U and enter: Hue 9, Saturation -45, Lightness -9
  14. Still on Texture Layer, go to drop down menu Image>Apply Image>Channel “Red”
  15. Highlight Group Layer then use the Opacity and change to 50% or whatever looks good to you.
  16. Hit save as and share your photo!

Always remember that it’s easier to work on a large copy of an original image. Never edit the original image, always make a copy for editing. Try to remove any major blemishes on the image prior to using this tutorial.

One last important recommendation, it’s always best to use a pen & touch tablet like the Wacom Bamboo Pen & TouchΒ or other similar type. All the steps above can be done with a mouse, but if you are going to be doing any serious Photoshop work, a pen and tablet method would be best.

If you have any questions regarding this video or the steps I described, feel free to leave a comment. Also, why not share with the rest of us your edited image if you used these steps? I’d love to see them, leave a comment below.

11 thoughts on “Photoshop Airbrush step by step video tutorial

  • avatar
    July 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    A great tutorial thanks…..I have only one problem in that when working on the texture layer (blending and 50% grey) done, I cannot sample the skin – the sample is of the 50% grey. I;ve gone over your vid loads of times to see where I am going wrong please help?
    Sarah Bauer

    • avatar
      July 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      Make sure that on the “fill” screen when assigning the 50% Gray, that the other on the pop up screen be – Blending mode Normal, Opacity 100% and preserve opacity box is not checked. Also, when you originally create the texture layer, be sure that “color” is none and mode is “normal” and opacity is 100%.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you’re still having problems. Should work fine, I use this process all the time.

  • avatar
    March 5, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Salute to you sir!!! its really a wonderful tutorial i have ever seen. but sir! there are some steps i couldn’t understand what they are use for..for example I have seen so many airbrush tutorials but no one did use ctrl G function , so please i could not understand its functionality and more over when u had applied Hue & saturation effects on Texture layer, and it looks so perfect, we just find some need to reduce opacity then it would be perfect to my point of view., Then why you further go on group layer and apply Eraser tool.. from onward i could not understand .. please do help me getting all the tricks you apply for. I am so eager to learn all those professional technique. kindly help me at if u can.
    again thanks u did GReat work!!

  • avatar
    April 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Hey there! This is a fantastic tutorial but I am having a little trouble… Once I get to the step of using the paintbrush and “filling” the face/neck, it isn’t doing anything like it does in the video. I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong… πŸ™ HELP PLEASE!


  • avatar
    September 29, 2012 at 8:22 am

    thanks, works well.

  • avatar
    March 17, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Hi, last summer I airbrushed a photo following the steps on your tutorial, great results! The resulted image is below. But since then, I’ve changed my computer and ps version to ps 8 and the shortcuts for layer group and fill don’t work anymore, also surface blur is no longer available. Could you tell me how to replace those steps?


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