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Brightening eyes with Curves

From: Photoshop CS6 Essential Training

Video: Brightening eyes with Curves

Another way to enhance a portrait is to brighten the subject's eyes. Not only will it draw attention to the eyes, but it will also make them appear more awake or alert in the photograph. So let's zoom in using the Spacebar and the Cmd key on Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows, I'll just click-and-drag to the right in order to zoom in on the eye area. Now we're going to do this in two steps. First we're going to brighten the whites of the eyes and then we're going to create a new layer in order to dodge and burn the actual eye itself, to add a little contrast and give it a little bit more dimension.

Brightening eyes with Curves

Another way to enhance a portrait is to brighten the subject's eyes. Not only will it draw attention to the eyes, but it will also make them appear more awake or alert in the photograph. So let's zoom in using the Spacebar and the Cmd key on Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows, I'll just click-and-drag to the right in order to zoom in on the eye area. Now we're going to do this in two steps. First we're going to brighten the whites of the eyes and then we're going to create a new layer in order to dodge and burn the actual eye itself, to add a little contrast and give it a little bit more dimension.

So let's use the Lasso tool and just select the whites of the eyes. Remember now, when you're using the Lasso tool, it's the very tip of that black arrow that is your hotspot. And once you've made your first selection, in order to add to that selection, you can either hold down the Shift key or you can click on the second icon here in the Options Bar. That way you won't need to hold down a keyboard modifier and you can simply click-and-drag in order to select that area.

Of course, there's different ways that you can select this area. You could try using the Magic Wand tool or the Quick Select tool. But I find that most of the time it's just easier to click-and-drag in that area with the Lasso tool. If you make a mistake, just click-and-drag to add to that area. Of course, if you drag out too far and you need to subtract from your selection, then you can select the third icon here, and just click-and-drag over the area that you want to subtract. You can also remain with the Add To Selection tool and just hold down the Opt or the Alt key to switch or toggle temporarily to the Subtract From.

Now that we've got the area selected on our Adjustments panel, let's click the Curves Adjustment. I'll position my cursor in the middle of the curve and simply drag up. And you can see if you drag up too far, obviously, the area is going to get way too bright, so just drag up too far and then back off a little bit. You might also notice that the edges of your selection are a little bit too sharp. So while we're on the Properties panel, let's click on the Masks icon and then add a small Feather to that selection.

That will just soften those edges so we can't tell the area that has been adjusted versus the area that has not. And then to check to make sure that we haven't over-retouched, let's use the Eye icon on the Layers panel and just toggle that on and off before and after. We can even zoom out using Command+0 to go back to 100% and then just toggle that on and off. If you think you've made too much of an adjustment, you can either change the Opacity of the layer or click on the Curve icon to bring up the Properties panel.

In this case, I'll just decrease the Opacity of the layer, down to about 65 and toggle before and after. So that's the first step. The second thing we need to do is we need to dodge and burn around the iris and the pupil. So I'm going to add another New layer, but before clicking on the New layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, I'm going to hold down the Option key. When you hold down the Option or the Alt key on Windows and you click, you get the New layer dialog. That's going to allow me to change the Blend mode to Overlay and also choose to Fill with Overlay-neutral color or 50% gray.

When I click OK, we'll see Layer 1, which we can then rename to dodge and burn. While we're over here, let's go ahead and rename the Curves layer as well. We'll call that eyes. We'll zoom in again using the Spacebar and the Cmd or Ctrl key, clicking-and-dragging to the right to zoom into the eye area. The reason that we made this dodge and burn layer is because I want it to be very flexible.

A lot of times I find that when I'm dodging and burning the iris, I actually tend to overdo it. When I'm zoomed in, I can't tell that I'm overdoing it, but when I zoom back out and I see the overall portrait, I tend to take this portion of the retouching too far. Although I'm calling this dodge and burn, we're actually not going to use the Dodge and Burn tool. Instead, I'm going to switch to the Paintbrush. And you can see that the Opacity is set up to 100% right now, which means if I paint with black or white on this layer, it's going to make a huge difference.

In fact, let's go ahead and just I'll show you what I mean by painting with black. It's just going to make it look terrible. So let's undo that, Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z, and let's change the Opacity way, way down to maybe like 20%. Then the first thing I want to do is I want to dodge the iris. So I'm going to tap the D key to make sure I have my default colors and then I'll tap the X key in order to exchange those, so that I'm painting with white. And now with my Opacity set very low, I'm going to just click-and-drag around the iris area, and then I can go ahead and do that one more time.

If I need to change the size of my brush, I can use the Right Bracket (]) to get a larger brush, or the Left Bracket ([) to get a smaller brush. But now when we show our before and after by clicking on the Eye icon in the Layers panel, we see before and after. So with just those two small strokes set at 20% I've really made quite a difference here. I've really brightened up that eye and added some contrast. So let's do the same to the other eye. I'll click-and-drag around, maybe get a little bit larger of a brush for the second stroke, and paint around that eye.

Again, toggling the Eye icon, we see before and after. Now I want to darken down around the edge of the iris. So I'll tap the X key in order to exchange my foreground and background colors so that now I'm painting with black, and I'll get a very small brush and then click-and-drag around the outside edge of the eye. I'll do the same on the left-hand side, and then we can toggle that on and off. There's before and after. So you can see, I've really made way too heavy of an edit here, and in fact, let's zoom all the way out, using Cmd+0 to zoom back.

And if we toggle that on and off, see it's just far too strong. But the advantage of using this dodge and burn layer is that now I can take the Opacity slider and scoot that way down to maybe say 30% and toggle that on and off and you can see how I've just brightened the eyes just a little bit in order to draw your attention there, as well as make the person in the portrait look more alert and awake. If you wanted to, you could do your painting of white on one layer and your painting of black on another layer, if you wanted to control those individually, or you could even do one eye on one layer and one eye on another.

It just really depends on how much flexibility you want.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 Essential Training
Photoshop CS6 Essential Training

148 video lessons · 90219 viewers

Julieanne Kost
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 42s
    1. What is Photoshop?
      1m 42s
  2. 1m 11s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
  3. 32m 15s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      2m 49s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      4m 27s
    3. A tour of workspaces in Bridge
      5m 32s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 44s
    5. Changing file names and batch renaming
      2m 58s
    6. Adding basic metadata with metadata templates
      5m 10s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 58s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      2m 37s
  4. 27m 1s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejected images
      4m 18s
    2. Saving images in collections
      4m 23s
    3. Rating and labeling images
      3m 46s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 16s
    5. Using smart collections
      4m 18s
    6. Viewing final selects in a slideshow
      2m 21s
    7. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      3m 39s
  5. 32m 8s
    1. Comparing RAW and JPEG files
      6m 10s
    2. Starting in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      3m 12s
    3. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      9m 13s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      3m 58s
    5. Toggling onscreen shadow and highlight clipping warnings
      3m 11s
    6. Choosing output settings
      3m 36s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      2m 48s
  6. 38m 37s
    1. Using the nondestructive Crop tool
      4m 42s
    2. Correcting a horizon line with the Straighten tool
      2m 41s
    3. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      3m 50s
    4. Fixing blown-out highlights
      2m 56s
    5. Revealing hidden shadow details
      3m 7s
    6. Correcting lens distortion
      3m 25s
    7. Making perspective corrections to images
      2m 40s
    8. Removing color fringing and chromatic aberrations
      2m 28s
    9. Sharpening the details
      7m 45s
    10. Making an average photo great
      5m 3s
  7. 51m 2s
    1. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      6m 57s
    2. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      10m 19s
    3. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      3m 41s
    4. Exploring a quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 31s
    5. Converting to black and white
      2m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustment tool
      3m 21s
    7. Creating selective color effects with the Adjustment Brush
      6m 5s
    8. Using sepia and split-tone effects
      3m 33s
    9. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 20s
    10. Adding vignettes and border effects
      3m 59s
    11. Saving variations within a single file with the Snapshot command
      3m 40s
  8. 15m 13s
    1. Copying and pasting settings across files
      2m 4s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      3m 22s
    3. Saving and using the library of Camera Raw presets
      6m 48s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process files
      2m 59s
  9. 30m 24s
    1. Opening files from Bridge
      2m 7s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      2m 51s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      3m 59s
    4. Using the Application frame
      3m 34s
    5. Managing panels
      5m 14s
    6. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 39s
    7. Switching tools using the keyboard
      2m 47s
    8. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      5m 13s
  10. 10m 25s
    1. Working with tabbed documents
      1m 34s
    2. Arranging documents
      1m 52s
    3. Stopping Photoshop from tabbing documents
      1m 32s
    4. Panning and zooming
      3m 14s
    5. Cycling through different screen modes
      2m 13s
  11. 15m 44s
    1. Understanding file formats
      4m 36s
    2. Choosing the resolution you need
      4m 39s
    3. Understanding Resize vs. Resample
      4m 11s
    4. Working with print sizes and resolution
      2m 18s
  12. 32m 53s
    1. Using Undo and the History panel
      3m 7s
    2. Using crop options
      3m 54s
    3. Understanding Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      1m 46s
    4. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      40s
    5. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      3m 31s
    6. Making the canvas bigger using the Relative option in the Canvas Size command
      2m 18s
    7. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      1m 27s
    8. Straightening a crooked image
      2m 29s
    9. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      5m 46s
    10. Making nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      2m 34s
    11. Warping images
      2m 48s
    12. Preserving important elements with Content-Aware Scale
      2m 33s
  13. 30m 41s
    1. Exploring layer basics
      11m 16s
    2. Loading, selecting, and transforming layers
      8m 4s
    3. Organizing layers using layer groups
      5m 3s
    4. Merging, rasterizing, and flattening layers
      6m 18s
  14. 43m 11s
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      5m 43s
    2. Combining selections
      4m 4s
    3. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      5m 29s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      4m 35s
    5. Selecting soft-edged objects using Refine Edge
      9m 42s
    6. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      7m 22s
    7. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      3m 17s
    8. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      2m 59s
  15. 34m 36s
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      3m 47s
    2. Starting with a preset
      2m 18s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      5m 31s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      6m 44s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      2m 30s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 29s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      4m 41s
    8. Making washed-out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 48s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      1m 47s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an adjustment layer
      2m 1s
  16. 19m 33s
    1. Adjusting shadows and highlights
      5m 44s
    2. Replacing color using Selective Color
      3m 49s
    3. Using fill layers to create a hand-painted look
      6m 5s
    4. Using a gradient fill layer to add a color wash
      3m 55s
  17. 52m 9s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing Brush and the Patch tool
      12m 42s
    2. De-emphasizing wrinkles with the Healing Brush
      4m 52s
    3. Smoothing skin and pores with the High Pass filter
      6m 19s
    4. Making teeth bright and white with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      3m 21s
    5. Brightening eyes with Curves
      7m 0s
    6. Taming flyaway hair with the Patch tool
      3m 44s
    7. Removing unwanted details with Content-Aware Fill
      5m 49s
    8. Body sculpting with Liquify
      8m 22s
  18. 24m 12s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      4m 48s
    2. Combining multiple frames in an action sequence
      8m 44s
    3. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      10m 40s
  19. 38m 26s
    1. Overview of filters
      2m 52s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively using Smart Filters
      5m 18s
    3. Creating a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      3m 35s
    4. Creating an infrared look with Diffuse Glow
      2m 14s
    5. Adding noise with the Add Noise filter
      6m 27s
    6. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      5m 11s
    7. Giving an image texture with the Texturizer filter
      1m 49s
    8. Using the Field, Iris, and Tilt-Shift Blurs
      6m 1s
    9. Creating a painting with the Oil Paint filter
      1m 34s
    10. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 25s
  20. 22m 16s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      6m 42s
    2. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      2m 40s
    3. Scanning or photographing paper to add a deckled edge
      3m 1s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      5m 21s
    5. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      2m 26s
    6. Adding a realistic off-center vignette
      2m 6s
  21. 20m 9s
    1. Exploring character (point) type
      7m 6s
    2. Adding paragraph (area) type
      3m 38s
    3. Adding type on a path
      4m 44s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      3m 3s
    5. Warping type
      1m 38s
  22. 15m 57s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      6m 15s
    2. Adding edges, textures, and color overlays using layer styles
      4m 27s
    3. Creating a transparent logo or watermark
      2m 42s
    4. Knowing how and when to scale layer effects
      2m 33s
  23. 15m 45s
    1. Creating contact sheets
      2m 49s
    2. Using the Output workspace in Bridge
      5m 32s
    3. Exporting web photo galleries
      4m 20s
    4. Saving for the web
      3m 4s
  24. 23m 38s
    1. Working with video clips
      9m 29s
    2. Adding special effects to video
      5m 45s
    3. Adding pans and zooms to still images
      8m 24s
  25. 1m 10s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 10s

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