There were so many requests on how to boost eyes in photoshop that I couldn’t refuse. Here’s the how-to:
First you need a photo with some eyes in it. A-duh.
You also need photoshop. Not Photoshop Elements because we are going to be using actions…specifically the free actions provided by The Pioneer Woman. You can go to her site and pick em up.
As an example, I will be using the photo of this little smarty-pants squirt…Cole. Here is the straight-outta-the-camera shot.
First I open up the photo in photoshop. I use the CS4 version for those who are wondering. As you can see, the actions are saved and open in the right hand column under ‘Actions’. The first thing I do is apply the ‘SLIGHT LIGHTEN’ action so that the photo is lifted a bit. Note that if you shoot in JPEG, it is better to underexpose than overexpose….I can never seem to get it right when I am outdoors (something about the sun makes me shoot all crazy)…so if I underexpose, I can salvage a shot in photoshop rather than losing a great photo.
Anyhoo…here is me lightening the photo:
See the difference?
Ok…ok…I’ll make this easy on ya. See the difference now?
After lightening the photo slightly, I wanted it to look a little more contrasty and a little more saturated. The ‘Boost’ action is perfect for that. I applied that one directly over my last action and kept it at 100% opacity for the maximum contrastyness (yes that is a word) and saturatedness.
Here’s Cole baby after the boost:
See how the background looks even greener and the little pink in his lips puckered right up? Even his little tan and his blue eyes became richer. In the words of the Mad Hatter – he’s muchier…he’s got more muchness.
Ok. Now we are to the point where we can really bring out those baby blues. Pay attention. This is the part you were asking about. In Pioneer Woman’s action set 2, there is one of my favorite actions called “BRING ON THE EYES!”. And boy, does it.
First you have to apply the action.
Then, you have to get your little brush ready. I like to use a little brush with 0% hardness (so that if I go into the little fleshy part of the eyes, it won’t be too apparent). And then lastly, you must make sure your color is white.
Then, I zoom in and color in the eyes with the white paintbrush. Everywhere that you color will become more light and more saturated so try to color in the lines.
There’s those sparkly little suckers :)
Not really noticable unless you see the before’s & after’s…but alas, the little editing really draws you into see his bright blue eyes instead of focusing elsewhere. Plus, it whitens the whites and makes the iris of the eye way more saturated…like in real life :)
Now the last thing that I always do is sharpen things up. I apply the “SHARPEN THIS” action. The same thing applies here…you have to get your little brush and “color” with white the areas that you want to sharpen up. I like to go on the features and on the outline of the face…so I brush with white over the eyes, the nostrils, the mouth, the jawline and the hair. I don’t sharpen the skin because then the flaws of the face (like dirt, wrinkles, and eye bags look more apparent).
There he is in all his lightened, boosted, saturated, sharpened glory.
And just so you can see what the sharpen tool really does – here is the difference:
Now that you have followed along, I know you are dying to see the comparison. Well, I just want you to realize that this means that the charade of me being a good photographer is coming to an end. I’m a giant falsehood. With this little tutorial I hope that you realize that I can no longer pretend to be this fabulous shutterbug…it’s all editing. Judge me if you want. I can take it.
No…that’s a lie. I can’t take it. I want your adoration. I want you to love my skills so much it makes you green with envy. In the words of Michael Scott – I want you to love me so much it hurts.
Seriously though. I can take it.
That’s a lie.
Ok. Back to the photos. Here is the SOOC shot next to the fully edited version:
See the difference? No? Mom – go get your glasses. You have like eight pairs in the office. Pretty cool huh? It really ought to be called PhotoMAGIC instead of Photoshop. It seriously has to be magical to take one of my photos from drab to fab. And now that you know one of my little tricks, I hope that you can take your lift the eyes of your subjects…afterall, they are the windows into the soul. Basically you are making other people’s souls better when applying this action. That’s what the Bible says anyway. Pretty much :)