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Adobe Photoshop CS5 : Fixing Dark Eye Sockets

12/6/2011 5:09:46 PM
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This is a very common problem, and photographers use everything from reflectors to strobes placed down low in front of the subject to open up dark, deep-set eye sockets. Luckily, there’s a pretty quick and easy way to fix this problem in Photoshop. Here’s how:

Step One.
Here’s the image we’re going to work on, and if you look at her eyes, and the eye socket area surrounding them, you can see that they’re a bit dark. Brightening the whites of the eyes would help, but the area around them will still be kind of shadowy, so we may as well kill two birds with one stone, and fix both at the same time.

Step Two.
Go to the Layers panel and duplicate the Background layer (the quickest way is just to press Command-J [PC: Ctrl-J]). Now, change the blend mode of this duplicate layer from Normal to Screen (as seen here). This makes the entire image much brighter.



Step Three.
We need to hide the brighter layer from view, so press-and-hold the Option (PC: Alt) key and click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel (it’s shown circled here in red). This hides your brighter Screen layer behind a black layer mask (as seen here). Now, switch to the Brush tool (B), choose a smallish, soft-edged brush, and paint a few strokes over the dark eye sockets and eyes (as shown here). Now, I know at this point, it looks like she was out in the sun too long with a large pair of sunglasses on, but we’re going to fix that in the next step.


Step Four.
What brings this all together is lowering the Opacity of this layer, until the parts that you painted over and brightened in the previous step blend in with the rest of her face. This takes just a few seconds to match the two up, and it does an incredibly effective job. See how, when you lower the Opacity to around 35% (which works for this particular photo—each photo and skin tone will be different, so your opacity amount will be, too), it blends right in? Compare this image in Step Four with the one in Step One and you’ll see what I mean. If you’re doing a lot of photos, like high school senior portraits, or bridesmaids at a wedding, this method is much, much faster than fixing everyone’s eyes individually.


 
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