Red Eye Removal with Photoshop
Even with today's smart digital cameras, using an on-camera flash can result in the dreaded "Red Eye" syndrome. We've all seen the photographs... with the people looking like weird alien creatures (usually smiling and holding liquid refreshments of some nature) their eyes shining bright red... pretty spooky stuff. Well it's time to dust off that shoe box of old photos, get them into the computer, fire up Adobe Photoshop and fix the problem once and for all.
The photograph in the figure below shows a similar problem, but instead of red the pup's eyes are showing a bright blue color. I've seen this a lot in photos of dogs, cats and (rarely) with photos of people.
|Red Eye (or in this case, blue eye) Correction|
Red eye is such a common problem that many software packages, including Photoshop CS2, have a "Red Eye removal" tool. I like to have a little more control over the problem and the solution, though. There are a number of reasons why I prefer the following method over using the Red Eye Removal tool... For one, the Red Eye Removal tool won't fix the blue eye problem with the pup's photo, and for another the Red Eye tool is destructive in nature in that you cannot go back and re-edit the changes it makes. At least not past using Undo... The following method, on the other hand, will work for all colors and the results will remain editable.
As an added benefit of correcting the problem in the following manner you will get to learn about Photoshop's Rulers, Guides, Elliptical Marquee tool, and a cool selection technique. With that said, let's get started.
NOTE: This Photoshop lesson was created using Adobe Photoshop CS2, but the same results can be achieved in just about any version of Adobe Photoshop.
Rulers and Guides:
The first thing that needs to be done, as with many of the other Adobe Photoshop techniques I write about here at GrafX-Design.com is to isolate the area that needs to be fixed so that the correction can be done without affecting the rest of the photograph. With this particular problem the areas that need to be selected and corrected are generally round, or elliptical in nature. Knowing that is a clue as to which tool needs to be called upon... i.e. this is a job for the Elliptical Marquee tool. Before we get to that, though, I'm going to demonstrate one of my favorite Photoshop techniques... I'm going to show you how to create the perfect elliptical (or round) selection.
To make the perfect elliptical selection requires using Photoshop's guides to help properly position the Elliptical Marquee tool. To see, and create the guides, the rulers need to be on, or visible. You can activate the rulers by choosing View, Rulers. Doing so will turn on the rulers for the currently active image. You can see in figure 23.1 that the rulers are on. The rulers run across the top and down the left side of the image. Note that I have my rulers set to measure in pixels. You can set the measurement value by choosing Edit, Preferences, Units and Rulers... There is a fairly large number of choices available.
TIP: For all you keyboard shortcut fans out there, you can toggle the rulers on and off by pressing CTRL+R
With the rulers activated it's time to set up some guides to help with the selections. To set a guide, simply click-and-drag from within one of the rulers. For example, click-and-drag from the ruler on the left towards the middle of your image... as you drag, you'll note a line being dragged along by the mouse. This is a vertical guide. You can also click-and-drag down from the top ruler to set horizontal guides. Pretty cool stuff, eh?
What you want to do is drag a vertical guide to one side of the pupil, and drag a horizontal guide to the top or bottom of the pupil. You can see, in figure 23.2, that I've dragged guides to the left and bottom of one of the pupils.
NOTE: When you "drop" a guide it will stay put. If you need to re-position it, though, grab the Move tool from the Toolbar and simply click-and-drag the guide to reposition it. To remove a guide simply drag it off the image. To turn of the guides, choose View, Show, Guides... do the same to toggle the guides back on.
TIP: For all you keyboard shortcut fans out there, you can toggle the guides on and off by pressing CTRL+;
Now that you've got a set of guides positioned around one of the red-eyed pupils, continue on for all the red eyes in your particular image. While you do so, I'll add a couple more guides to the pup's other eye on the image I'm working with so we can continue.
With the guides in place, it's time to make the selections. Again, because of the nature of the areas that need to be selected, the Elliptical Marquee tool is the most logical choice. And now that the guides have been positioned, it will be a snap to select the red areas, or in the case of the puppie's photo, the blue areas.
The Elliptical Marquee tool may be hidden under one of the other Marquee tools. You can access it by clicking-and-holding the mouse over the Marquee tool in the upper left of the Toolbar (see figure 23.3).
With the Elliptical Marquee tool selected, move the tool over the guides where they criss-cross for any given red-eyed pupil. With the tool positioned over the criss-cross, click-and-drag to make an elliptical selection (see figure 23.4).
In figure 23.4 you can see the mouse just above and to the right of the blue-eyed pupil. That's the ending point of my click-and-drag... So, by starting where the guides cross it's possible to line up the selection correctly. If you find that you aren't happy with the way things lined up, cancel the selection (choose Select, Deselect), move the guides and try again.
When you've got one of the pupils properly selected, activate the Add to Selection option for the Elliptical Marquee tool by clicking the icon in the Options bar (see figure 23.5).
Doing so will mean that any other pupil you select will be added to any already selected areas. For the image I'm working on I'll select the other pupil. You can see in figure 23.6 that I've got both pupils selected and that I've turned off the guides and the rulers as they will no longer be needed...
One last thing needs to be done before the red eye problem can be corrected... The selections should be feathered (the edges of the selections need to be softened) just a little to help conceal the correction that's about to be made. Feathering the selections will make the transition between the corrected areas and the rest of the photo nearly invisible. To feather the selections choose Select, Feather... In the Feather Selection dialog box, enter a value from about 1 to about 5. If the selected areas are small use 1-2 pixels and if the selected areas are relatively large use 3-5 pixels. I used a value of 2 for the image that I'm working on. Click OK to exit the dialog box and feather the selections.
With the pupils selected and the selections feathered it's time to make the correction. That is, it's time to stamp out the dreaded red (or blue) eyed areas in the photograph. To make sure that only the selected ares will be affected, and to insure that the changes will be totally undoable/re-editable even through saving the image, a mask and an adjustment layer will be used.
To create the mask and the adjustment layer at the same time, simply click the "Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer" icon at the bottom of the Layers palette (see figure 23.7).
Doing so will bring up a menu. Choose Channel Mixer from that menu.
In the Channel Mixer dialog box click the Monochrome option. That's it! The dreaded glowing pupils should now be tamed... see figure 23.8.
TIP: If you find that the pupils are a little too light, or too dark you now can change that by playing with the "Constant" slider in the Channel Mixer dialog box. Be careful to make small subtle changes, though.
Make sure that you save a copy of your image as a .psd file so that you can come back to it later if necessary and make any subsequent changes or re-edits.
That's it for now... Be sure to check out some of our other Photoshop tutorials including the next one that demonstrates how to brighten and whiten smiles.
Everyone loves a quickie, especially if the quickies are free Quick Tip Videos for Photoshop. Our "Quickies" are short, web-based videos (approx. 2 minutes, or less) that highlight some neat trick or time-saving tip for Adobe Photoshop. Go ahead and check them out... you know you want to :)