STÖHR+SAUER Beauty Panel for Photoshop

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About us

STÖHR+SAUER has developed a tools panel for beauty retouching in Photoshop for all fans of people photography and provides this panel free of charge "as is" (without guarantee). This is the first public appearance and will be expanded and refined according to feedback and interest.


In addition to the availability of various other useful tools in this panel (but also a few of the standard tools), the particular objective was, to be able to work with as few clicks as possible. For this purpose, a number of preset buttons were created, which can be individually assigned with personal preferences. Most features are configurable and some even have an extra one-click button.

Where available, you can access the configuration by CMD/Ctrl Left Click or additionally by right-clicking the mouse in Windows.

Why a Panel ?

In People photography you usually spend a lot of time with retouching the pictures. In contrast to other fields of photography, many details have to be edited manually (hair, skin, other details). In other genres, e.g. Architecture, landscape or street photography (just to name a few) it is usually not so distinct.

A collection of actions will help to ease repetitive processes, such as frequency separation, but it also requires constant changes in tools and settings, depending on which layer you are working. In Photoshop, this means switching between stamp and brush and changing opacity and hardness needs several clicks, and this has to be made very often during retouching. Among other things, this will be reduced as consequent as possible with the panel.


Before / After

In this description there are some pictures that show the original picture and additionally as mouse-over effect the retouched Beauty Panel version.

All pictures with this effect have a header "Before / After".

Important !!!

For best results, the images should be in 16 bit/channel RGB mode or converted into it. This makes it possible to work in a particularly differentiated manner and consistently uses the potential of this tool.

Download S+S Beauty Panel

WARNING !! The panel is not compatible to Photoshop 2019 !!!

Download the current version of the S+S Beauty Panel here.
This version is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh systems.

S+S Beauty Panel Description PDF-Format

Download the PDF description file of the S+S Beauty Panel here.

Software Requirements

The panel is currently compatible with Photoshop CC, both on macOS X and Windows.
As far as possible without much effort, we also make it workable for the CS6 version.


The Beauty Panel is currently available in German and English.

Installation Windows

Download the Beauty Panel. Unzip the contents of the zip file and copy the folder "Beauty Panel" into the following folder:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\CEP\extensions

If you are using a new installation of Photoshop CC and the panel doesn`t show as described, this path could be possible, too:

C:\ Program Files\Adobe\ Adobe Photoshop CC 2018\Required\CEP

After you have started Photoshop, you can start the Beauty Panel in "Windows / Extensions" and fit into your working environment.

Installation Macintosh

Download the Beauty Panel. Unzip the contents of the zip file and copy the folder "Beauty Panel" into the following folder:

-/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CEP/extensions/

Here you will also find the beauty panel in "Windows / Extensions".


The tools of the Beauty Panel are allocated in 4 tabs, which are explained in more detail on this page.
The overview is kept short and requires basic Photoshop knowledge. If necessary, you will find a respective detailed description in specific parts of the documentation.

The most important tools for the manual beauty retouching and the presets for brush, stamp and zoom.
Different sharpening methods with configurable presets for pixel radius and intensity.
Various filters with masks for image post-processing.

File Saving

Presets for faster storage.

1.Tab - Tools


It is the linchpin of our retouching.

The frequency separation is a professional image processing method to make very sophisticated manual image editing of individual retouching possible. For this purpose, an image is split into the detailed brightness information ("Details" layer) and into a soft color and brightness component ("Soft"). This means you do not have to worry about the underlying color and brightness when editing details (structure, skin, fabric, ...). Conversely, you do not have to worry about the details in the level Soft. Both layers (soft + detail) together return the original image.

In order to make the structures more visible in details, the contrast is extremely enhanced by means of Level. This makes even slight details visible.


For professional image processing, the digital photo should be saved in 16-bit format. When Frequency Separation starts, the mode is checked and a warning appears, if it is less then 16 bit. Be sure to convert to 16-bit color mode prior to image editing.


After executing the frequency separation, the Soft layer is turned off, Detail layer is selected, and Contrast turned on, to get the maximum contrast for editing.
Finally Stamp is selected with 100% Hardness and 100% Opacity.

Before / After

Here you can compare the original picture with a result you can get with the Beauty Panel. Skin details are improved and the soft structures are smoothed without destroying the skin structure.

Sveta Before

The pictures below show the different layers Soft and Detail in isolated view. The Details are separated from the colour and brightness Soft layer and can be edited very independently. The two layers combined show the original image again.

Layer Details


Processing of an image for the detail correction takes place in the Details layer. Due to the fact, that mainly black and white structures are present, it is very easy to correct and clean skin areas (stamping), because in areas, where the sharpness is identical and the structure is right, you can determine the source almost everywhere. Stamping is done with 100% Hardness and 100% Opacity to avoid blurring when copying.
The video shows the basics. (in process)

Layer Soft


Still visible cloudy structures will be smoothed In the Soft layer, which will be done with the softest stamp 0% and low opacity 6% (changeable). Through multiple, soft stamping, the "clouds" in the skin are removed or reduced, to make the skin look smoother and healthier. Color and brightness are taken from a suitable place. But you have to make sure, that you do not exaggerate. Do not change the 3D structure of the body, shown by light and shadow, whith shifting the brightness and color when stamping.


During retouching, you often have to switch between the Soft and the Details layer. To avoid unnecessary clicks, there are 2 buttons, which perform all needed switching and select the respective layers.

Button Details

Switches to the Details layer. Enables the Contrast layer and sets the Opacity and Hardness for the stamp to 100%.

Button Soft

Switches to the Soft layer. Disables the Contrast layer and sets the opacity of the stamp to the value of the 2nd button and the hardness for the stamp to 0%. The first Button can be configured to an even smaller value for Opacity. The 6% default value of the second button has proven to be practical, but can also be changed.

Defaults (configurable)

These 5 buttons each for Opacity and Hardness can be set by CMD/Ctrl Left Click or additionally in Windows by right clicking on respective values. These values ​​can be different for Brushes and Stamps.


5 presets of Opacity for Brush and Stamp


5 presets of Hardness for Brush and Stamp


Here are 2 default zoom levels (fit screen and 100% pixel size) and zoom in + and out - directly accessible, relative to the current zoom factor.

Dodge and Burn (2 variants)

Beauty retouching of course includes dodging and burning of parts of the picture.
We have 2 different non-destructive methods available, which have their specific advantages and disadvantages depending on the objective target.

D&B Gradient

Creates 2 gradient adjustment layers for non-destructive dodging and burning to enhance contrast. Dodging and burning with white in the respective mask.
Gradient for Dodge
Gradient for Burn
Gradients Dodge & Burn has the advantage, that the lights and shadows cannot become more intensive than set by the gradients. In addition, there is no such strong color shift as with the standard Dodge & Burn (non-destructive) because the blend mode only refers to the luminance. The mask and the corresponding transparency controls, how intensive the darkened (brightened) part of the image is overlaid on the original picture.

Dodge & Burn

Creates an adjustment layer with 50% gray on which you non-destructively can Dodge & Burn. Stronger effect than D & B gradient. Dodge White and Burn with Black.

!! However, if you overdo, color shifts will occur !!


Button White

Sets the foreground color to White. Mask color for D & B gradient and Dodge color for Dodge & Burn.

Button Grey

Set foreground color to 50% gray. Erasing paint for Dodge & Burn.

Button Black

Set foreground color to Black. Dodge color for D&B gradient and Burn color for Dodge & Burn.

2.Tab - Sharpen


Unsharp Mask

Invokes the default Unsharp Mask filter of Photoshop and can be used in general. In connection with the Frequency Separation, it is applied exclusively to the Details layer.
In addition to the Photoshop methods Unsharp Mask and Selective Sharpen, there are also 2 special methods that are once adapted to the Frequency Separation and another version that is designed for a selective sharpening of edges.

Filter selection

First, you have to select one of the 4 methods you want to use. The option Switch to detail level will change to a existing Detail layer, to apply the selected sharpening method to Details. Otherwise, the active layer is sharpened.
Since we are dealing here with beauty retouching, some specific characteristics have to be considered.

Selective Sharpening

The advanced sharpening method Selective sharpening has additional parameters to control sharpness artifacts (bright edges, noise). Bright parts of images may be sharpened with different settings than darker ones, to reduce noise in dark parts.

FreqT - Frequency Separation sharpening

This panel is the first to take into account the peculiarities of frequency separation, to get an even better result. This is a sharpening of the Detail layer without sharpening the color details that are still present. As it contains the difference to the softened Soft layer, it also contains fine color structures. In order to not produce any intensified color artifacts when sharpened, the detail layer is temporarily split once again into a Detail color layer and a pure Detail luminance layer (black and white) (color separation). Only the luminance portion is sharpened and the two temporary layers are afterwards combined again to build the original Details layer.
Detail color (very reinforced)
Color artifacts after sharpening (1.5px, 200%)
Details luminance

Masked Sharpening

This method of sharpening is not so much for beauty retouching as for landscape and architectural photography. With edge filtering and configurable filter creation settings, a mask for high-contrast edges is created, and smoother areas are less or even not captured. This makes it possible to sharpen these edges only, but you do not amplify the noise in even, low-contrast image parts.

Before / After

Edge selection

Soft selection

Final Mask for selective drawing

Options: Switch to Layer

As long as this function is checked, sharpening automatically changes to the Details layer.


Here are six predefined settings. The first number is the pixel radius and the second the intensity of sharpening.

3.Tab - Effects


Improve details

Creates a masked layer with which the contrast can be increased with selectable sharpness. The intensity is controlled by opacity.

Reinforce details

Creates a copy of the detail layer whose influence on the fine contrasts is controlled by opacity.

ORTON Effect

The Orton effect creates a "dreamlike" image impression, in that the sharp original image is superimposed transparently with the softened image.

It creates a masked blurred layer with selectable Normal or Negative Multiply mode for the Orton effect. The "Negative Multiply" layer mode also brightens the image and creates a sunnier mood. The intensity of the effect is controlled by the opacity.

Creates a masked blurred layer with selectable mode for the Orton effect. The "Negative Multiply" layer mode also brightens the image and creates a sunnier mood. The intensity is controlled by opacity.


Creates a layer with a variable round or elliptical vignette. The size of the vignette can be set as a percentage of the image size and is thus resolution-independent. The softness of the vignette is also adjustable and the intensity is controlled by opacity.


Creates a masked layer where the greens are shifted to red to create autumn colors. The intensity is controlled by the opacity.

Additional function
You can also reduce greenish stray light under trees well, if the model is only partially illuminated by it. This effect can be controlled in detail with the mask and the opacity.

Original without effect

Image with autumn-effect

4.Tab - File Saving

This tab contains the basic storage options of Photoshop to have the most important things in the panel.

Current Image

Here the picture format and the resolution are displayed in pixels. This gives a quick overview before applying the normal Save or Save as command in Photoshop.

Save copy as (scaled)

With the button you can define the size and the format for saving a copy of the current image.

Defining the button asks for the following settings:

  • Name of the image to be saved (can be changed)
  • Scaling and scaling method
  • Sharpening intensity and values with the filter unsharp mask
  • Path to save to and image format (the name can be changed here)
  • Storage format options (depends on the format)

This process creates a temporary copy of the current image and applies the settings to that copy. This ensures that the original is not accidentally affected. After saving the copy, it is deleted and the panel returns to the original file.

The button displays the selected resolution in pixels as well as the image format and below the selected storage path.

Save copy as (unscaled)

This button allows you to save the current image without scaling in a different picture format and path than the original image, and does no scaling and sharpening.
In the button, this is defined and the selected image format is displayed and below the path for saving.