Get Rid of Red Eye with Photoshop
I wrote about Parc Cruz’s Contact Lens Workflow recently and mentioned that you could use this technique to get rid of red-eye. Bryan Villarin asked me to expound on that and sparked the idea for this post.
Yes, Photoshop CS2 has a red-eye removal tool, but it doesn’t always work so well. This technique takes a bit more work, but it’s guaranteed to work. Want to learn more? Read on.
Next, open up your image in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or your image editor of choice. Once there, open apply a Channel Mixer adjustment layer on the image. You can do that by clicking Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Channel Mixer.
A dialog window will immediately pop up asking for a name for the new layer – name it anything you want. I suggest something descriptive like “red-eye removal” or something like that, but that’s totally up to you.
What we want to do is get rid of the red – that’s why we’ll drop the value for that source channel to zero. Of course, we still want the output to hit 100%, so we have to raise the green and blue values to 50% each.
This will give our subject a sickly greenish-grayish-bluish skin tone, but don’t worry – we’ll fix that in a bit.
More likely than not, pressing Ctrl-I will do the trick. If it doesn’t, just undo the last step and click on the little white box beside the channel mixer. Then you can fill it with black any way you want. Again, I recommend pressing Ctrl-I.
At this point, our subject’s eyes will be as red as ever. You might be wondering why we’re back at square one. Don’t worry – we’re going to brush the red away from her eyes. Select the brush tool, make sure we’re still on the mask of our adjustment layer (you didn’t select anything else, did you?), and select the default foreground and background colors. As you can see from the dialog, you can simply press D to do this.
Now you can brush over the red parts of her eyes – I choose to use a very soft (0%) circular brush that’s slightly smaller than the red area. Just move the brush around in small circular motions until you get rid of the red.
In the example to the right, I’ve already fixed one eye and I’m working on the other. You can also see the size of the brush I’m using. Again, small circular strokes are what you need to get the job done.
Just click on the little arrow shown on the right, or as the tool tip says, press X. Now armed with a black brush, you can hide unwanted portions of the adjustment layer. In this case, we want to brush away the gray around her eye.
There you have it! Now you can get rid of those spooky red eyes in your photos. As for our little project here, you can see the final result here.
• Luis • 17 December 2007 •