Terry White shows several methods for improving the look of eyes, subtly and effectively.
Written on July 23, 2012
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When it comes to portrait retouching, a person’s eyes can be the most important (and trickiest) feature to work with. Eyes are expressive and detailed, and we instinctively know what they’re supposed to look like. So when they’re reproduced poorly, we notice right away.
In the video below, Adobe Creative Suite Design Evangelist Terry White shows several ways to use Photoshop to improve the look of someone’s eyes. He shows how to fix blooshot eyes and dark circles under eyes. Even though the video title specifically mentions CS6, users of older versions of Photoshop can make use of many of the tips and techniques shown.
Terry makes the point that there’s no single best technique for retouching eyes. Depending on the particular photo you’re working with, you might need to use cloning, the Patch tool, the Spot Healing Brush (with Content-Aware Fill), or some combination. Though as the video shows, each of those methods can be time consuming.
For his preferred method of fixing bloodshot eyes, Terry shows an old school method of painting on a new layer with low opacity and sampling the natural colors from the eye in several small independent brush strokes, to slowly build up the retouch.
Also, we are reminded that the phrase “the whites of their eyes” is just an expression and not meant to be taken as advice for the retoucher. The whites of human eyes are always some shade of gray, light beige, or similar color, and making them pure white is a big mistake.
A second technique in the video shows how to remove dark circles under people’s eyes with either the Patch tool or the Clone Stamp tool and the Lighten blend mode.
As with the bloodshot eye fix, Terry uses a separate layer that can be blended with the overall image, to give better control of the final result.
Similar to retouching the eye itself, you don’t want to go too far and remove all the darkness and wrinkles from the skin under someone’s eyes (if you want them to resemble an actual human face).