I know this may be old hat to you guys. Lee Varis posted on his blog a new (?) technique to smooth skin.
Outline form. With blotchy skin.
1. Copy Control I to invert copy.
2. Blend mode to vivid light.
3. Filter- high pass. Adjust just looking at skin. Look for smooth
3. Filter- Gaussian blur. Adjust radius to see skin texture.
4. Add black layer mask and paint with white to show skin texture.
Ed's curves (Varis again)
Definitely a weird curve. Fixes banding in skies. The screen shot is my screen shot.
Lee Varis is very good, but alas, he is a Mac (non CM) user.
Also, Russell Brown has interesting videos on panoramas, masking, and puppet warp. www.russellbrown.com
Share your quick and clever Photoshop, Elements, or Curvemeister techniques here!
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