Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Enhancing the eyes, part of Photoshop CS4 Retouching: Fashion Photography Projects.
Here we're going to talk about how we can enhance the eyes. So let's go ahead and click in our topmost layer, and then what we're going to do is we're going to use a shortcut to merge all of the underlying layers to our topmost layer. This is a really valuable shortcut because it allows us to take everything we've done and merge it to the top. If you're a PC user, here is your shortcut. It's Shift+Ctrl+E. On a Mac, that's Shift+Option+Command+E. That will merge everything to the top. All right. Well, now that we've done that, let's zoom in a little bit so we can see some of the detail we have here. Navigate to our Filter pulldown menu.
What I'm going to do here is I'm going to choose Sharpen and then Smart Sharpen. This will open up my Smart Sharpen dialog. Now that I can zoom in on the eye, what I'm looking to do here is to go to Advanced. I want to add a Lens Blur sharpening effect. I want my Amount to be somewhere above 100 or so and my Radius I'm going to start to bring up. What I'm going to do is click on the image to look at the before and after, and I'm really focusing in on the detail of the eye here. I just want to make sure that I'm able to sharpen that and add a little bit of sparkle without exaggerating any halo. So when I go too far, we can see that there is all this halo effect.
That won't work for us. So I'm going to go ahead and back this off a little bit, and find the sweet spot there, just where it looks good. In this particular image, I'm thinking about 100% and about 1.8. Well, let's go ahead and click OK. Well, now that we've done that, we've sharpened the entirety of our photograph. We don't want to sharpen everything. We just want to sharpen the eyes. So we're going to add a mask, but we're going to add a mask that's filled with black. So in order to do that, you hold down your Option key or your Alt key. Again, it's Option for Mac, Alt for PC. Think of that key as kind of the renegade key, the key that says, hey, I want to do something my own way. So I press that key and I click on the Mask icon, and when I do that, it creates a mask that's filled with black.
All right. Well, then we grab our brush. We're going to paint with 100% Opacity and we're going to paint with white. Nice, small brush. We're just going to start to bring in the sharpening effect. I'm painting from the center of the eye out. I'm looking to not exaggerate, like this highlight here, and also exaggerate this part right there, which I don't like, so I'll press the X key, I'm going to mask that out. I will go over to this other side. I'll hit the X key. I'm going to paint with white here. 100%, just adding a little bit of detail to those eyes and making them sparkle a bit. I'll go ahead and paint around the eye there. Then look at my before and after. Here is before and here is after. Well, so far so good.
We added a little bit of detail there, and it's not far enough, right? We need to do more with the eyes. Well, what else could we do? Well, check this out. Next, we're going to click on our Adjustment Layer icon and choose Curves. When we go into this Curves dialog, we're going to make an adjustment and it's going to affect everything. It's going to affect the entire image. We don't want to affect the entire image, so we'll go ahead and let's apply maybe a little contrast curve and also go to the Red channel, and let's add a little bit of cyan, and then maybe the Green channel, add a little bit of green. So we have this color going on in here. Doesn't quite look good enough for us.
So let's invert the mask. We'll click on the Mask tab and choose Invert. Next, we'll grab our Brush tool. You know where we're going, right? We're going to start to paint with white. We're going to paint this in. You shouldn't expect this to look wonderful right away. Give me a couple of steps here and we'll get this looking good, but first, we're just going to bring in this Curves adjustment that we've made. Zoom out a little bit so we can kind of see that. We can start to see, yeah, we have this interesting color effect. Zoom in a little bit as well, so we can get all our edges covered up. So those look really good. Overall color is going in a good direction.
Then what we want to do is experiment with some blend modes. The blend modes are really where we can make the magic happen, especially with the eyes. So here is what we can do. We can try a blend mode of Soft Light. Now when we do that, it all of a sudden adds this really interesting detail, but it darkened it up a bit too much. So let's try that but lower the Opacity. Let's also go to our mask edge and Feather it out just a touch as well. Well, there is our before and after. Interesting, adding a little bit of that color. Well, let's copy this layer, duplicate it, this time let's take that blend mode to Screen; that's that brightening layer. So here we have our before and after with that brightening effect. So we can add a little bit of contrast, also, a little bit of brightening. Pretty interesting, isn't it? So let's take a look at our overall before and after. Here is before and then here is after.
Now, we've pushed this pretty far, probably too far, so one of the things that we want to do is start to back it off a bit. So let's go back to our Sharpening layer. Look at that, before and after. That's looking fine. Next layer, we have this layer, we're adding a little bit of contrast and color and what not. This side is a little bit too strong for me. So I click on my mask. I'm going to paint with black, and I'm going to paint with black at a lower opacity, somewhere around 50 or so. I'm just going to go ahead and start to conceal some of this effect. So I'm painting on this mask, I'm concealing it so it's going to be a little bit less. If I paint at a higher Opacity, we can see that we can pull out even more. So I don't want this far eye to overpower the near eye, the near eye is really much more important. Here is my before and after on that.
Okay, pretty subtle. Next, I have this brightening effect. Same thing here. I'm going to go ahead and click on that mask. I'm just going to start to bring this down just a bit here. I want this to look realistic, so I'm going to paint out a few little areas here, just cleaning up my masking. Then I'll zoom out. And now when I zoom out, there is really a curious effect. Here is our overall before and then our after. We're tying that into that color that we're seeing in the background. It's starting to look pretty interesting. Now of course, if we've gone too far, we can always lower our Opacity. We can go into each different Curves adjustment layer, and even the Sharpening amount for that matter to soften that up so that we have a realistic effect.
Again, here is that before and then after. In this case, we are just subtly shifting the color and the tone of the eyes, so they have a little bit of snap, a little bit of sparkle. Here is our before and then our after.
- Reducing shadows around the eyes and face
- Enhancing and smoothing skin
- Adding makeup to eyes, lips, and cheeks
- Improving details by adding light and shadow
- Modifying face and body shapes
- Brightening and straightening teeth for a perfect smile
- Creating dynamic images with creative color techniques
- Blending images of live subjects and products