April 4, 2016

Changing eye colors in Photoshop

Every now and then I’ll take a photo of a person, usually a woman, and when I open it up later, I wonder what they’d look like with if their eyes were green instead of blue or brown instead of green etc etc.  

In this photo, my barmaid friend had sort of grayish pupils and I wanted to see how she’d look with green eyes or maybe blue ones. Sometimes their eyes just don’t have that special twinkle if you know what I mean? Does this ever happen to you? In this tutorial, I’ll show you a quick way to change the color of a person’s eyes to any color you’d like quickly and without the use of masks.  If I were going to change my final image, there would be a few more steps involved,  but for this tutorial we just want to see how this barmaid would look with different colored eyes.  For this to work best you should find a photo with a lot of detail in the iris and work from there. 

This photo was taken on a charity motorcycle run I was involved with a few years back and I really liked the photo. I asked the barmaid is she'd mind posing and she was more that happy to oblige. This lady had a beautiful smile and pretty eyes, but after opening it up in Photoshop I thought her eyes were kind of dull and thought they might look better blue? Like I said, I like the photo and for this lesson it'll work just fine. 

The first we have to do after bringing it into Photoshop is to select the eyes. I like to work on a duplicate layer so I click  (Ctrl + J) to make a copy of my background layer. Like everything in Photoshop, there are many ways to make selections, but I usually like to use the pen tool most of the time because it’s precise and with a little practice, it’s pretty quick. Choose your favorite method.

After we select the eyes, I’ll pop them onto their own layer (Ctrl + J) While they’re still active, I’ll feather the edges a little bit. If your eyes aren’t active, hold the Ctrl key and tap the eye layer. Now go up to the Select menu, scroll down to Modify and click on Feather. Depending on the resolution of your photo will determine how much to feather, but here we’ll do about 2 or 3 pixels just to soften the edges a little bit.

Now I go to the bottom of the Layers panel and add a Hue-Saturation Adjustment layer.  This will put an adjustment layer right on top of the layer with my eyes. To make sure I don’t change the colors of the other layers in my image when I change my eye color, I’ll clip it to my eye layer by holding the Alt key and clicking right between my eye layer and my adjustment layers.  You’ll see a funky symbol like in seen here to let you know you’ve got them clipped together. 

Blue Eyes

Brown Eyes

Green Eyes
Now, you can just play around with the sliders to tweak your colors. If you’re not getting enough oomph, you can click on the Colorize button at the bottom of the Hue-Saturation layer.  I tried out some Green eyes, the some Blue eyes and finally a set of Brown eyes. Which do you like better? Check it out for yourself, it’s quick and easy. 

As alway, remember to keep shooting and have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography