Join Janine Smith for an in-depth discussion in this video Repairing red-eye, part of Photo Restoration with Photoshop.
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There are a lot of ways to fix the dreaded red eye in your photos, such as the much-maligned Red Eye tool, channels, channel mixers, masks, adjustment filters. Well, there are probably as many ways to fix it as there are people fixing it. As with any given problem you're repairing in Photoshop, we'll go over to the easiest today: Black & White adjustment filter and the Red Eye tool. We'll start with the Red Eye tool. First thing you will want to do when you use this is duplicate your original layer using Ctrl+J on a PC, Command+J on a Mac.
The Red Eye tool resides over here with your Healing brushes; it will be down at the bottom. The default settings for the Red Eye tool are 50% Pupil Size, 50% Darken Amount. Let's zoom in using Ctrl+Plus or Command+Plus on this image and move it over, so we can see both eyes. We use this default setting first to show you what happens. Select far away from the red, and you'll see that there's still a lot of area around it that it didn't cover.
Now we'll go up here and we'll change the settings to 100% Pupil Size and bring the Darken Amount up to 75 or so. We can adjust those at any time, the Darken Amount, if you need to, and we'll try this area. Now, that made it a lot darker, and again you can adjust the Darken Amount as you see fit, but there's still a ring around it. And it also looks pretty unrealistic there.
If you want something that looks a little more realistic--zoom back in here--you can try a Black & White adjustment filter. Let's hide this layer and go down to this half-black half-white circle, create a new fill or adjustment layer, and choose Black & White. Now you want to do now is go over to your Brush tool and adjust your brush size using your open and close bracket keys. So it goes over the entire pupil.
You want to go up and check your Hardness setting and make sure it's at 100% and then click on the pupil. Now what you want to do is invert your mask by using Ctrl+I or Command+I. Make sure that your mask is selected when you do this. You can see that it didn't fill out the whole thing, so what you need to do, if you want to adjust this, is go down to your foreground and background colors and invert them, and you can go and fill in the areas that didn't get filled in so well.
Now the next thing you want to do is go up to your Defaults in your Black & White adjustment and scroll through them. I am going to use the downward arrow key on my PC. You'll see the Blue filter is very, very dark, and the Darker is a little bit lighter, a little more natural looking, the Green filter lighter. The High Contrast Blue is horrible. Actually I like the Darker filter, so we're going to stick with that. And the next thing you want to do is go over to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
Now the reason you want to do this is just to soften the edges a little bit. If you're zoomed in, you have your eyeball right here in your viewing window, so you can kind of see how much you're blurring it and also look over here to see what effect it's having--just a little bit, 3, 3.5 the most. This is getting a little too soft. There: 2, 2.5, 2.4 is good. Now let's click OK and compare the Black & White adjustment to the Red Eye tool.
The Black & White adjustment looks just a bit more natural. Bring that out here. Now let's look at both of them again. There's the red eye. There is your Red Eye tool with both settings and your Black & White adjustment layer, and that's actually much better. Now of course you do your other eye; you wouldn't leave one red. But now you know how to do it and what would look best. We've gone over just two ways to remove red eye and there are many more. Like I said before, there are as many ways to fix a problem in Photoshop as there are people fixing them, and most of the methods have merit.
The trick to any given way is to experiment with settings and adjust them to get the best possible result for your image.
- Assessing the damage
- Rebuilding color channels in a grayscale image
- Removing small splits, specks, and spots
- Repairing red eye
- Reassembling torn photos
- Removing stains
- Fixing mold damage
- Understanding the basics of levels and curves
- Correcting color problems
- Repairing and recreating backgrounds
- Sharpening a photo
- Comparing before and after images