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#86 Improving Eyes

In a portrait, the first aspect of the image that draws your attention is the human eye. Some even go so far to say that the eyes are the most important aspect of an image. Therefore, it’s definitely worthwhile to learn how to help the viewer focus in on the eyes. This how-to shows you three eye-enhancing techniques that use curves and the Smart Sharpen filter.

Brightening using curves

  1. Make a selection of the eyes using the Lasso or Elliptical Marquee tool. Later you’ll turn this selection into a mask on an adjustment layer (Figure 86a).
  2. In the Layers panel, click the Add Adjustment/Fill Layer icon and choose Curves.
  3. In the Curves dialog box that appears, click the middle of the curve and drag up to brighten the eyes (Figure 86b).
  4. Paint with a soft-edged brush on the Curves layer mask so that the brightening is limited to the irises.

    Enjoy the final results (Figure 86c).

Adding sparkle using the Smart Sharpen filter

  1. Select the iris of the eye using the Lasso or Elliptical Marquee tool.
  2. Press Ctrl + J (Windows) Command + J (Mac) to copy the selection to a new layer.
  3. Rename the layer Smart Sharpen (Figure 86d).
  4. Select Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen.
  5. In the Smart Sharpen dialog box, increase the sharpening. The Amount and Radius settings you choose will depend on the image resolution; however, try an Amount setting of somewhere near 100% and a Radius setting of between 1 and 3 (Figure 86e).
  6. Click OK to apply the Smart Sharpen filter.
  7. Lower the opacity of the Smart Sharpen layer and preview the final results (Figures 86f and 86g).
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