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Hour 11. Removing Red Eye, Dust, and Scr... > Task: Fixing Red Eye from Scratch

Task: Fixing Red Eye from Scratch

When the official Elements method doesn’t do it, here’s another way that’s almost as easy, and generally more effective. Just follow these steps:

Zoom in to make the eyes as large as possible. (You can work on one eye at a time.) Use the Magic Wand to select the off-color parts of the pupil. Usually, they are the same color or close to it. (Adjust the Tolerance value as needed to select as much as you can.) Leave the small white circles in the middle of the eyes. Those are “catchlights” from the flash. See Figure 11.9.

Figure 11.9. Select as much of the red as you can.

Press Ctrl+Shift+U (or select Remove Color from the Enhance, Adjust Color menu) to desaturate the selection. Now the incorrect color is gray. Saturation, as you may recall from the discussion on color systems in Hour 7, “Printing Your Pictures,” is the intensity of a color. By removing it, you take out the color hue, and reduce the selection to gray tones similar to what you might see in a grayscale image. The lightness and darkness are still there, just not the color. You’ll learn other ways to play with saturation in an image in Hour 12.

Make sure the foreground color is set to black or very dark gray. Switch to the Brush tool (located in the toolbox), select a large soft brush from the drop-down list, and click the Airbrush icon on the Options bar (it’s on the far right). Set the blending mode to Darken and the opacity to no higher than 20%. Although we’ll cover blending modes in Hour 20, I can tell you now that the Darken mode will darken only the pixels that are lighter than the foreground color. Pixels darker than that color are not touched. Brush in layers of black, letting the color build up naturally. Because you turned on the Airbrush function, you’ll be spraying only bits of color each time you drag over the eye. Continue until it looks right, zooming out to see it in context. If you make a mistake, you can use the Undo History palette as shown in Figure 11.10.

Figure 11.10. Use the Undo History palette to step backward if you go too far.

Repeat with the other eye. Figure 11.11 and the corresponding color plate show the final result.

Figure 11.11. Now he looks quite normal. Pity he doesn’t act it.



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