Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It is really easy to "pop" or enhance eyes in LightRoom 2 (LR2). It takes just a few seconds to sharpen and enhance or change their color. I overdid my samples to make sure you could see what I was doing in each step, so don't be scared by little Imp's eyes.
NOTE: I have to add the images back to this post, they disappeared for some reason!
Click to select (or press K) your adjustment brush. In the image above you can see it under the 1/800 sec under the histogram, and over "New". Then look for the "Effecs" menu (under "Mask") and select "Clarity" (this will sharpen the eyes and lashes) and set it to 100%. You can always dial it down later. I keep flow, feather and density on 100 in these steps. Click on Auto Mask if you want to "stay in the lines", but I actually turned it off on this step because I wanted to sharpen the iris AND the lashes.
Adjust your brush to size (use the [ and ] on your keyboard, or adjust the "Size" slider)and paint over the iris and lashes to bring them out. You can adjust the amount of clarity to taste, but I usually use 100 on this step.
A nifty trick to see if you did paint ever the entire area is to hold your mouse over the active "black" little circle that shows where you have started editing and then click on Alt on your keyboard. The red areas are where you have painted.
Now click "New" under "Mask" because we are going to use the adjustment brush for another enhancement and don't want to adjust the Clarity setting we already made.
Select "Exposure" under "Effect" and dial this up to taste. Again, I usually start higher and then move it down after painting over the eyes. I used the Auto Mask this time because I am only going to paint over the iris. You can also use Brightness on this step rather than Exposure, but I find Exposure usually looks nicer.
Click on "New" under "Mask" and make sure "Auto Mask" is checked and paint over your eye whites with a higher exposure. Don't overdo this step, and dial it down just until your whites are brighter but not glaringly white.
Select "New" then "Saturation" under "Effect" and paint over the iris. Don't overdo this step either.
If you want to actually enhance or change the color of the eyes, it is easy. Click on "New" then "Color" and pick a color.
Paint over the iris with this new color (I removed Auto Mask on this step because I was having problems adding blue to the highlights in the Iris) and then adjust the slider to taste. I completely overdid this step for this example. Freaky blue eyes! But this can be done with a very subtle hand, like all steps in this tutorial.
Here is little Imp with his enhanced overdone eyes. This sounded time-consuming, but it is actually very fast and easy. I often skip the saturation step, but I love to add clarity and adjust the exposure a bit to every close-up portrait. Again, be restrained with eye enhancements. You don't want your portrait to look like a doll. :-) Dial down the settings until you don't notice much of a difference. Subtlety is key.
Next tutorial will cover skin healing and smoothing in LR2. Plus I have more presets, actions, and templates coming your way! And if you haven't yet, check out my first set of free B&W LR and ACR presets, CoffeeShop CoffeeBar.