Improve eyes in Photoshop
Don’t let wrinkles ruin your photos, Dani Dixon shows you how to transform your portrait photos quickly in this Photoshop tutorial
The best retouching work is when you don't think anything has been done at all.
We all like our photographs to look clean and professional which means Photoshop retouching is a necessity. Even the most glamourous of models will have under eye shadows and dare we say – lines, but these common flaws are easily rectified.
Eyes are the windows to the soul so they need to be the key focus in a portrait meaning all imperfections need to be removed. Good lighting conditions and camera functions only prevent so much, so use Photoshop to get rid of annoying red eye, lens flares, grey and blood shot areas and you can even make both eyes the same size if need be.
All of these treatments can transform a model and the shot into something much more spectacular. These may sound like a lot of corrections to make to an image but a limited amount of Photoshop tools are needed.
The Clone Stamp tool and the Healing Brush eradicate lines, shadows and blemishes. The use of the Dodge and Burn tool adds lights and shadows to much needed areas.
The Brush tool can be used to clean the whites of the eyes all combined with general colour correction and the photos are finished nicely. Once these tools are mastered then the skills learnt can be used on all past and future images.
The Clone Stamp and Healing Brush tools work in a similar way, treat them as Brushes. Simply Alt click a clean sample area within the photo, which is a similar colour and texture and paint over the area where repairs are needed.
The Clone Stamp tool copies pixels from the sample area and replicates them in the new area. The Healing Brush tool does the same but blends the sample and new pixels together for a smoother finish.
Keep the Brush size small and opacity low when working so the cover up is natural. Don’t go in with a 100% opacity and rush it or your retouching will just look fake. The best retouching work is when you don’t think anything has been done at all.
1. Save a copy
Work on a duplicate layer so you always have an untouched version to refer back to. To do this drag the Background Layer over Create a New Layer icon at the base of the layers palette, press the eye icon next to the original layer to hide.
2. Sharpen the eyes
Select the Sharpen tool from the side tool bar. In the top options bar carefully lower the Strength to 50% and select a large soft brush to use. Paint over the eye areas, lightly brush over the eyes so not to overwork the pixels.
3. Clone Stamp tool
Select the Clone Stamp tool from the tool bar. Lower its Opacity to 70-80%. We are going to start off by removing the strand of hair over the eye. Simply Alt click a clean area of skin next to the hair strand and then paint away the hair.
4. Cover the lines
For the best results you will need to work with a small brush and make very gentle sweeping movements when retouching details like this and pick the correct tool. To remove the lines around the eyes use the Clone Stamp tool.
5. What tool for the job
The Healing Brush blends tones together and works best when pixels are tonally similar. It won’t work as well on erasing lines. Use it more to tidy up the messy edges left by the Clone Stamp and to even skin tones and erase shadows.
6. Build up slowly
If you start getting dirty colours when blending with the Healing Brush switch back to the Clone Stamp. Lower its Opacity to around 30% and lightly paint over the shadows. Return to the Healing brush and finish off the blending.
7. Lighten the eyes
Leave enough details for a natural look. Switch between tools to make sure you are using the right one for the job. Select the Dodge tool to lighten the eye, in the top bar lower the Exposure to 50% and set to Midtones.
8. Lights and darks
Paint over the whites and any area you want highlighting with the Dodge tool, keeping the Exposure low means a more natural effect is created. Repeat with the Burn tool over the pupil and lashes, Exposure 30%, set to Midtones.
9. Eye colouring
Now you will need to add a new layer to the top of the layer stack. Select the Brush tool and Alt click onto a bright Blue in the eyes. In the Color Picker choose a brighter shade than one already present in the eyes, hit OK.
10. Brighten the Iris
Lower the Brush Opacity to 30% and set to Multiply in the top bar. On the new layer paint over the Iris area on both eyes. Use the Eraser tool to clear the colour off the pupil. Then set the Layers Blend mode to Overlay.
11. Clean up the whites
If there is any red or grey in the whites of the eye tidy this up now. Add a new Layer and still with the same brush, lower Opacity and pick a white colour. Paint over the whites, but if it looks too harsh lower the layer’s Opacity.
12. Don’t stop now
Keep on correcting and don’t stop at just the eyes. Now that you have these new skills in the bag you can: whiten the teeth, clean up blemishes, get rid of stray hairs, add depth with the Dodge and Burn tool, and so much more!
13. Final corrections
Zoom out for a final check as it now time for final colour corrections. Use Adjustment Layers found at the base of the layers palette, as these can be altered at a later time. Simply double click on the Layer to alter the values.
If one eye is noticeably smaller then just use the Transform tool to increase the size. Simply use the Lasso tool to select the eye area, press Cmd/Ctrl + J to place the selection onto its own layer. Cmd/ Ctrl+T to Transform, holding Shift to keep perspective drag a corner point outwards, hit ok when the size looks good. Now use your Stamp and Healing brush tool skills to tidy up the edges.