Reducing wrinkles or removing zits is relatively easy compared to the challenge of improving the overall complexion. A couple of posts ago, I showed you a blur-based technique for skin softening. I compared it to foundation because the powdery blur improves skin at the risk of making a person look fake. Women who use a good deal of makeup already don't seem to mind the airbrushed look at all, but I would never use the technique on men. Sounds sexist, I know, but the problem is that since the "foundation" method is based on blur, any man old enough to shave is going end up with a Halloween-hobo style smudge of skin and stubble. And for those men with baby-smooth skin who probably don't need to shave more than once a month (the ones we always see in shaving commercials) anyway, skin softening is only going to make them look like the Adam Lambert album cover, which is fine if that is what you're going for, but not every guy wants an androgynous mannequin-like complexion.
I am also not a big fan of the "foundation" method used on anyone who doesn't normally wear makeup (that means kids—let's hope—and a good number of women as well). So what do you do in those cases? Well, you have to find a technique that does a better job of preserving texture. I'll cover that very soon.
For now, I just want you to look in the mirror. Look at your skin and notice how much the texture changes from one area of your face to another. The nose is not the same as the forehead, neither are the cheeks the same as the chin. Some lucky people have nearly invisible pores, while others, like myself, have craters that are visible on google maps.
One thing I can tell you is that the perfect skin retouching software or plug-in or action has yet to be invented.
As a final example, look at Jame's Cameron's "Avatar" (crossing my fingers that it will be amazing). The close-up of the animated skin shows his attention to detail—namely, flaws and variations. (Ironically, this is the kind of thing we try to eliminate in actual human stars). I read an interview in which he claims that the technology he used for the animation is so good that he could have just as easily made perfect duplicates of humans. As my wife likes to say, "I'll be the judge..."