Friday, June 10, 2011

Vanquish That Green Eyed Monster!

Does the family pet or your furry friend give you the "green" eye? Many times when I take a picture of an animal, such as dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and the like, they are posing for the picture but they have these crazy green or yellow glowing pet eyes! That is the animal version of red eye that we sometimes get in our photos. Many animals eyes have an extra reflective layer which causes those pesky eyes to turn odd colors. Here is a tutorial for removing that reflective glow from your pets' eyes.

I'd like to introduce you to Harvi. Here he is in the original version of the photo I'll be working with for this tutorial. To start off, I've opened, cropped, and saved a new version of my photo so the original will be available if I need it in the future.

You begin by using the Polygonal Lasso Tool to select the portion of the pet eyes that you want to fix. I prefer to use the Polygonal Lasso Tool, as the Magic Wand always seems to grab other areas that I do not need included from all over the picture. The Polygonal Lasso allows for a more detailed selection than the regular Lasso tools. Since animal eyes are not always round or oval and some times are just odd shape, I find that the Circle or Elliptical Lasso Tools are not the best choice for this type of selection. You will need to zoom in close to each eye to make your selections. Also, make sure the "Add to Selection" is chosen from the Polygonal Lasso Tool menu bar. Additionally, when using the Polygonal Lasso Tool on a rounded edge, to make sure it remains rounded, just use extra anchor points as you go around the curve.

With your picture selected in the Layers Palette on the menu bar, choose Layer > New > Layer Via Copy.

Next, rename the copied layer in the Layers Palette to "Eye Desaturate." With this layer selected in the Layers Palette, you will now desaturate the selection. Choose Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. This quickly allows you to change the layer's color to grey. The eyes should look similar to this:  

Next, duplicate the Eye Desaturation Layer and rename the new copied layer "Burn Tool and Blur Tool." Press D on your computer to make sure your foreground and background colors return to the default setting.

Choose the Burn Tool (a sub tool with the Sponge) and change the exposure to 50%. Now paint black on the eye all over. The white parts should remain white while the grey parts will darken. Paint until all areas are colored. They may look similar to my image, here:

In this picture, the eyes are too bright for my taste and I want to add a little more light reflection. I decided to lower the layer'ss opacity to 55%. You can play with the opacity in your photo so the color of the eyes is to your liking.

Sometimes there are harsh lines that you may feel need to be softened on the eye; you can use the Blur Tool to fix those. Choose the Blur Tool and change the strength to a range of 10% - 25%. With the "Burn Tool and Blur Tool" layer Selected, blur the edges that you want softened.


Merge your layers by right clicking on the top most layer in the layers palette. Choose Merge Layers. The Green Eyed Monster has now been vanquished, and your family pet is back to stay!



  • If you didn't get the whole area that needs to be color changed, you can modify your selection. Choose Select > Modify > Expand. When the submenu pops up, enter the number of pixels the selection should be expanded by. I've seen ranges from 1-8 used, but go by your picture and selection. 

    • If you add catchlights back to the eyes or want to brighten certain spots, make sure to create a new layer. Use the white foreground color, and brush onto each eye carefully. 
    • For cat's eyes, try using an oval shaped brush when adding reflections back to the eye.
    • For my example of a cat, here is Nala. I used a white oval brush to add some bright spots back to the eyes. Cats' eyes are a little more difficult to on because of the shape of their eyes and pupils.


    Special Thanks to Photonut71/Kris for the picture of Harvi and MsBrad/Michelle for pictures of Nala.

    This article was originally created by me for the ScrapMatters Newsletter.  You can sign up and recieve these too!

    Thanks for visiting!
    (jk703/The Typative Scrapper)

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