• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Head Games: retouching portraits > Enhancing and Brightening Eyes

Enhancing and Brightening Eyes

This is another one of those “30-second miracles” for brightening eyes, enhancing the catch lights, and generally drawing attention to the eyes by making them look sharp and crisp (crisp in the “sharp and clean” sense, not crisp in the “I burned my retina while looking at the sun” kind of crisp).

Step One.
Open the photo you want to retouch. Go under the Filter menu, under Sharpen, and choose Unsharp Mask. When the Unsharp Mask dialog appears, enter your settings (if you need some settings, go to the first technique in Chapter 11, “Professional Sharpening Techniques”); then, click OK to sharpen the entire photo.


Step Two.
After you’ve applied the Unsharp Mask filter, apply it again using the same settings by pressing Command-F (PC: Control-F), and then apply it one more time using the same keyboard shortcut (you’ll apply it three times in all). The eyes will probably look nice and crisp at this point, but the rest of the person will be severely oversharpened, and you’ll probably see lots of noise and other unpleasant artifacts.

Step Three.
Go under the Window menu and choose History to bring up the History palette. This palette keeps track of your last 20 steps, and you’ll see the four steps you’ve done thus far listed in the palette (an Open step, followed by three Unsharp Mask steps. By the way, these steps are actually called “History States”). Click on the Open State to return your photo to how it looked before you applied the Unsharp Mask filter.

Step Four.
In the History palette, click once in the first column beside the last Unsharp Mask State (as shown here). Now, switch to the History Brush and choose a soft-edged brush about the size of the iris. Click once right over the iris, and it will paint in the crisp, thrice-sharpened eye, leaving the rest of the face untouched. It does this because you clicked in that first column in the History palette. That tells Photoshop “paint from what the photo looked like at this point.” Pretty cool!


After (the eyes sparkle).



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint