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Removing Red Eye in Camera Raw

Camera Raw has its own built-in Red Eye Removal tool, and there’s a 50/50 chance it might actually work. Of course, my own experience has been a little less than that (more like 40/60), but hey—that’s just me. Anyway, if it were I, I’d probably be more inclined to use the regular Red Eye tool in Photoshop CS4 itself, which actually works fairly well, but if you’re charging by the hour, this might be a fun place to start. Here’s how to use this tool, which periodically works for some people, somewhere. On occasion. Perhaps.

Step One

Open a photo in Camera Raw that has the dreaded red eye (like the one shown here). To get the Red Eye Removal tool, you can press the letter E or just click on the tool up in Camera Raw’s toolbar (as shown here).

Step Two

You’ll want to zoom in close enough so you can see the red-eye area pretty easily (as I have here, where I just simply zoomed to 50%, using the zoom level pop-up menu in the bottom-left corner of the Camera Raw window). The way this tool works is pretty simple—you click-and-drag the tool around one eye (as shown here; make sure you include some of the surrounding face), and as you drag, it makes a black-and-white box around the eye. That tells Camera Raw where the red eye is located.

Step Three

When you release the mouse button, theoretically the box should snap down on the pupil, making a perfect selection around the area affected by red eye. You’ll notice that the key word here is “theoretically.” In our example, it did. If it doesn’t, then press Command-Z (PC: Ctrl-Z) to Undo that attempt, and try again, but before you do that, let’s try to help the tool along by increasing the Pupil Size setting (in the Red Eye Removal panel on the right) to around 100 (as seen in the next image).

Step Four

Now, with the Pupil Size setting at 100, the tool should do what we hoped it would—snap right down around the pupil, and remove the red from that area. Once that eye looks good, go over to the other eye, drag out a selection again (as shown here), and it does the same thing (the before and after are shown below). One last thing: if the pupil looks too gray after being fixed, then drag the Darken slider to the right. Give it a try on a photo of your own. It’s possible it might work.

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