Removing Red Eye With Adobe Photoshop

Red eye is caused when a camera’s flash is reflected from the retina within the human eye. It can be fairly tricky to remove and you may have seen plenty of gizmo’s claiming to be red eye’s magic cure. Although these work well in most instances, it’s a good idea to have an arsenal of methods in case the usual doesn’t work.

In the following tutorial, I will show you a few methods for the manually removing of red eye.

Red eye removal tool

Method 1:  Red Eye Tool

  1. Make active the Red Eye Tool (J) from the Tool Palette. If you are using the quick key, you may need to scroll through the healing tools using SHIFT+J.
  2. On the Options Bar, I generally leave the Pupil Size and Darken Amount both at 50%.
  3. Click and drag to create a rectangle around the entire eye. This should remove the red pigment and slightly darken the eye.

Color Replace

Method 2: Use selective color replace

  1. Make a selection around each cornea (lens) of the effected eyes using the Lasso or Polygonal Lasso tool. Be liberal with your selection.
  2. Call up the Replace Color dialogue box: Image->Adjustments->Replace Color…
    1. Place the eyedropper over to the red part of the eye and click to select.
    2. Decrease or increase Fuzziness until the preview shows all of affected area.
    3. Reduce Saturation by between 50-75%.
    4. Reduce’Lightness until the eye looks dark enough.
    5. Increase and decrease Fuzziness until the desire look is attained.
    6. Click OK to complete, and de-select (CTRL ‘D’) to cancel selection.

Channel mixer layer

Method 3: Channel Mixer

  1. Call up your Layers floating palette: Window->Layers.
  2. Ensuring that the relevant layer is high-lighted (should you have more than one), click on the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and select Channel Mixer from the pop-up menu.
    1. Drag the Red slider to zero.
    2. Drag the Blue slider to 60%.
    3. Drag the Green slider to 60%.
    4. Click OK.
  3. Now, reset the color chip at the bottom of the tools palette by pressing the D key. White should now be the foreground and black the background colour.
  4. Hold down CTRL and press Backspace. This will fill the layer mask with black, which will hide the effects of the set colour mix.
  5. Choose the Brush tool from the tools palette and select a decent, soft brush, big enough to cover the cornea of the affected eyes.
  6. Paint, with white over the affected area. The red should now disappear.
  7. Should you paint out too much of the original colour around the eyes, flip your colour chip so that black in the foreground colour ‘x’ and paint to bring back (or hide the colour mix) the original colour.

removed-red-eyeThere are many methods for removing red eye in Adobe Photoshop. I tend to opt for the latter of these two. Using the Channel Mixer, or indeed any Adjustment Layer, offers great flexibility.

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