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Getting Dramatic Eyes with Photoshop


red eye We can use the eyes to focus attention onto what we want the viewer to look at, by emphasising the eyes we encourage the focal point. In this tutorial we will be adding shadows and changing the colour of the eyes, to give it a more fantasy / mystical feel. 

Photo from Stock.xchng

Step 1

In this example we are manipulating a woman’s face, we shall start by duplicating the Background Layer by Pressing Control & J or dragging it to the New Layer Icon in the Layer Palette. Name this Layer Eye.


Step 2

We now want to use the Burn Tool to darken the areas around the eye. Set the Range to Midtones and the exposure to 10%, make sure the Brush has a soft edge or your burns will not blend. Begin to gently darken under and around the eyes, take your time to get it looking right. If you are zoomed in – occasionally Zoom out to see the overall effect.


Step 3

The eye colour is the next item on our list, we add a Black and White Adjustment Layer above the Eye Layer. Select the Adjustment Layers Mask and press Control & I on the keyboard together to invert the mask. The eye will now appear as it did before – zoom in on the iris and using a soft edged brush paint with white onto the Mask to reveal the Black and White, making the Iris colourless.


Step 4

Next we add a Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer above the Black and White Adjustment Layer, firstly Click the Colourize tick box to add a tick next set Hue to 0; Saturation to 32 and Lightness to 43. The face will now be red, once again like in Step 3, invert the mask and paint in the iris.


Step 5

We now want to set the Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer Blending mode to Colour, this will darken the red and make it blend with the other Layers. If you want to use a different colour than Red then you can make those adjustments using the Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer.


Step 6

Finally we are going to increase the shadows, make a new Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer under the Original Black and White Adjustment Layer. Reduce the Saturation to -100 and set the Layers Blending Mode to Overlay.


red eye

About Simon Rudd (51 Articles)
Simon Rudd is a freelance writer and artist specialising in Photoshop tutorials as well as Horror, the Macabre and Fantasy themed pictures. He frequently writes for magazines and websites.

1 Comment on Getting Dramatic Eyes with Photoshop

  1. Beautiful tutorial looks nice….

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