How to Smooth Skin With GIMP

By Rupinder Dhillon

Taking the perfect portrait photo is a difficult task. Oftentimes, skin might look uneven or speckled due to the settings of the camera or the type of light used. Additionally, most people have small imperfections on their skin, which they might want to remove with photo-editing software. You can quickly and easily smooth out imperfections using GIMP -- a free image-editing application for Mac and Windows computers.

Step 1

Open your photo in GIMP by clicking "File" and "Open." Double-click the photo to open it.

Step 2

Create a duplicate of the photo in a new layer by clicking the "Duplicate Layer" button in the "Layers" panel. The button is located at the bottom of the panel and resembles two overlapping blue windows.

Step 3

Click on the new layer you created in the "Layers" panel to select it for editing.

Step 4

Select "Saturation" from the "Mode" dropdown menu in the "Layers" panel to change the blending mode.

Step 5

Click "Filters" in the menubar. Select "Blur" and "Gaussian Blur."

Step 6

Set the "Horizontal" and "Vertical" blur radii in the "Gaussian Blur" window to the same number. Choose a value between 15 and 20. Click "OK." If the skin is not smooth enough, click "Edit" in the menubar and select "Undo." Reapply the Gaussian blur with a higher value. If the skin is too blurry, undo the Gaussian blur and reapply the blur with a lower value.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want to smooth small portions of skin, select the area with the "Free Select Tool" or "Paths Tool" and then apply the Gaussian blur.
  • If you are unhappy with the Gaussian blur, try using the "Selective Gaussian Blur" or decreasing the opacity of the blurred image layer.
  • To remove small blemishes, use the "Healing Tool."
  • Excessive blurring might make skin look waxy and synthetic.