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Enhance Skin Tones - FREE Macros for Download


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I have attached a macro category called "Enhance Skin Tones." This is a free download which will help add color and tone to the skin of your portraits. There are 21 different enhancement macros included, grouped for Light, Peach, Tan, and Dark skin. These macros are meant to enhance, not replace, skin colors. The macros are all based on the use of Gradient Maps, and use different dark and light colors along with setting opacity and blend mode for each adjustment.

While the skin tone macros are grouped into Light, Peach, Tan, and Dark skin groups (roughly corresponding to Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, and African coloration) they are certainly not exclusive. You may want to experiment using the adjustments from any (or all) of the groups to add different coloration and tone to your underlying portrait.

The Light and Peach skin tone macros add a gradient map and set its opacity to 25%. The Tan skin tone macros set the opacity to 30%. The Dark skin tone macros set the opacity to 40%. All of the macros set the blend mode of the gradient map adjustment to Soft Light. You should also experiment with changing the opacity and blend mode of the adjustments, as these will create different effects that you might like. Try using blend modes such as Overlay, Linear Light, and even Multiply. The results can be subtle, but changing the default settings can often make them fairly dramatic.

An important note: the macros work best when you have the skin selected prior to invoking the macros. This ensures that the gradient map adjustment uses your selection as a mask, and applies the changes to the skin only. As with all layer masks, however, you can edit the mask (by painting on the adjustment layer in black or white) after the fact.

Here is a graphic that includes 4 portraits (labelled as Original versions) along with versions of each of the 21 different skin tone enhancing macros. The enhanced versions are all based on the default settings for the respective macros. Under each example is the name of the skin tone macro used, along with a gradient representing the dark and light colors used in the gradient map adjustment. Remember that these results look very subtle, but your results can be more dramatic simply by increasing the opacity slider.


The attached macro category was created in Affinity Photo 2, and probably will not be compatible with version 1. It is a category and therefore should be imported into the Library panel (using the "hamburger menu" at the panel's top right corner). The category includes the 21 skin tone macros, but also includes a macro called "Try All Skin Tones" which will create a group (with sub-groups) that includes all 21 adjustments so you can try them all to see which one you like. There is also a macro called "Instructions - Enhance Skin Tones" which will display on-screen instructions for using the macros. These instructions are placed in a separate layer which you should delete after having read and understood the instructions.

[These macros are loosely based on some of the gradients used in a recent YouTube video by Blake Rudis, whose f64 Academy channel has been quite helpful (especially for matters concerning color grading). Blake's videos are exclusively aimed at Photoshop users, but the methods he uses are almost always compatible with similar methods in Affinity Photo. So, a big thank-you to him.]

As with all of my Resource uploads, these are the work of 1 person working on 1 computer. I do not pretend to have tested them extensively, but I believe they will function as they are supposed to. Try them and see if they work for you. If they do, they are free for your use without restriction.

I have always encouraged users to "pay it forward" and help others in this forum as they themselves become more knowledgeable and adept at using Affinity Photo. This is how knowledge and good will spreads.

Enhance Skin Tones.afmacros

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