Monday, September 09, 2013

CoffeeShop Photoshop/PSE Tutorial: Retouching Red Allergy Eyes!

I wanted to remind you that the Color Inc. and Unit Prints sale is ending today, so get your order in before it is too late!

I don't know about you, but often when I wake up in the morning my eyes are a bit blood-shot because of allergies.  Luckily no one is allowed to have a camera in my presence before I have my morning coffee and combed the tangles from my hair (I am a real morning grouch and might throw the camera out of the window!), but this is a common photography problem and I wanted to show you one way I would edit it in Photoshop or PSE.  Later this week I will post an action.

In the tutorial today I am using a beautiful image from Vanilla Tree Photography (Facebook).

When you zoom in, you can see she has a bit of eye redness.  No problem, it is a quick fix!

I add a Hue/Saturation layer, without any changes, and made the layer mask black.

Selecting the Whites:  Many people edit eyes by selecting the whites of the eyes using the lasso tool and then feathering it, but I personally find this incredibly tedious. I prefer to use a soft brush on a layer mask.  This allows me to fine-tune my selection later if necessary and is so much easier!

Click the "\" key and your image will turn red.  Zoom in and click on the black layer mask on the Hue/Saturation layer and paint over the eyes with a soft white brush (Click D, then X and make sure you are in normal brush mode).  Don't worry about being neat on this step.

Then switch to a black brush (D) and paint over everything but the whites of the eyes.  The red area will not be affected by the Hue/Saturation adjustments.

Remove Red and Whiten the Whites:  Press "\" again to remove the red mask, and edit the eyes with the Hue/Saturation layer.  I first select Reds from the pull-down menu (1) and move the Saturation down (2) and the Lightness up (3).   Play with these two settings until the blood vessels are less red and not so noticeable.  I leave some red saturation because I don't want them to be completely gray.

I also move the left and right sliders on the bottom outward to include more of the magentas and yellows (4). This step is not necessary but often does help by removing unwanted color tints.

I then go back to the Master drop-down setting and pull up the Lightness slider until the eyes look whiter.  When you edit eyes, please be conservative so your portrait does not have "crazy doll eyes".  :-)

Here is the before/after.  You can still see the blood vessels in her eyes, but they appear natural and are not quite as red and noticeable.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial!  I will post the action in the next day or two.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.


  1. Dear Rita,

    Thank you very much for all the freebies, tutorials, etc. Cannot wait to receive your newsletter each day. As a novice, I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me.

    I would like to learn to turn fruit and food images into water color paintings. Can you maybe help me with that?

    Thank you once again.

    Kindest regards
    Marie Antoinette Voges

  2. Did you post this in action form yet? I love it!


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