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Head Games: retouching portraits > Enhancing Eyebrows and Eyelashes

Enhancing Eyebrows and Eyelashes

After Kevin Ames showed me this technique for enhancing eyebrows and eyelashes, I completely abandoned the method I’d used for years and switched over to this method because it’s faster, easier, and more powerful than any technique I’ve seen yet.

Step One.
Open the photo that you want to enhance.

© BRAND X PICTURES

Step Two.
Get the Lasso tool from the Toolbox and draw a loose selection around the eyebrow. It isn’t necessary to make a precise selection; make it loose like the one shown here. Your subject might be turned so that there’s only one eyebrow showing; but if there are two (meaning they don’t have a uni-brow), after you select one eyebrow, hold the Shift key down and select the other eyebrow (as shown).

Step Three.
After your eyebrow(s) is selected, press Command-J (PC: Control-J) to put the eyebrow(s) on its own separate layer (as shown).

Step Four.
In the Layers palette, switch the Blend Mode of this eyebrow layer from Normal to Multiply, which darkens the entire layer (as shown here).

Step Five.
Hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette (as shown). Holding down the Option/Alt key fills the Layer Mask with black, which hides the Multiply effect from view. As you can see, the eyebrow looks normal again. Next, press the letter “d” to make white your Foreground color.

Step Six.
Choose a soft-edged brush that’s about the size of the largest part of the eyebrow. Now, paint over the eyebrows, going from right to left. As you paint, hold the Left Bracket key to make your brush smaller as you trace the eyebrow. As you do, it darkens the eyebrow by revealing the Multiply effect. The final effect will probably be too intense, but you can fix that by lowering the Opacity of the Multiply layer in the Layers palette (as shown here).

Step Seven.
Now on to the eyelashes. In the Layers palette, click on the Background layer. Get the Lasso tool again and draw a loose selection around the eye(s), and make sure your loose selection fully encom-passes the eyelashes (as shown here).

Step Eight.
Once the eye and eyelash area is fully selected, press Command-J (PC: Control-J) to copy it up to its own separate layer. Change the Blend Mode of this layer from Normal to Multiply, which darkens the entire layer (as shown).

Step Nine.
Hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette to add a Layer Mask filled with black to this layer. Just like on the eyebrows, doing this hides the Multiply effect (as shown). Make sure your Foreground color is still set to white, and then choose a very small soft-edged brush and paint along the base of the eyelashes to darken that area (as shown). Also paint along the top eyelid, at the base of the eyelashes to make the lashes appear thicker, fuller, longer, and more luxurious. (Incidentally, the reason we put the eyelashes and eyebrows on separate layers, rather than doing them at the same time, is so you can control the Opacity of each part individually.)

Before.

After.


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