Making Facial Features Symmetrical
More often than not, the features on your subject’s face won’t be perfectly symmetrical (one eye might be higher than the other, or their nose might be a little crooked at the nostrils or the bridge, or one side of their smile might extend higher than the other, and so on). Luckily, you can bring all these misaligned features back into alignment using just a few tools, and some techniques you’ve already learned (but we do get to learn a helpful new tool this time, as well).
Here’s the image we want to retouch, opened in Photoshop, and there’s a very common problem here (well, when it comes to facial symmetry anyway), and that is our subject’s eyes aren’t lined up perfectly symmetrically (the eye on the left is up a little higher than the one on the right. I put a horizontal guide over the center of her pupil on the right to help you see the difference). There’s a surprisingly easy fix, though. By the way, to get guides like this in Photoshop, you just have to make the rulers visible by pressing Command-R (PC: Ctrl-R). Then, you can click-and-drag guides right out from the rulers themselves.
Get the Lasso tool (L) and make a very loose selection around both the eye and eyebrow on the left (as shown here), because we’re going to need to move them together as a unit. Of course, at this point if we moved this selected area, you’d see a very hard edge (a dead giveaway), so we’ll need to soften it by adding a feather to the edges that will help it blend right in. So, go under the Select menu, under Modify, and choose Feather. When the Feather Selection dialog appears, enter 10 pixels (as shown here) and click OK, and now you’ve softened the edges of your selection.
Press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to copy your selected eye area (with its soft edges) up to its own separate layer. Here, I hid the Background layer, so you can see what just the eye area looks like. What’s nice about seeing this view is that you can see the area you selected has soft edges, instead of sharp, harsh edges (the checkerboard pattern shows you which parts of this layer are transparent). By the way, to hide a layer (like the Background layer, in this case), go to the Layers panel and click on the Eye icon to the left of the layer’s name. To see the Background layer again, click where that Eye icon used to be.
Now, switch to the Move tool (V) and then press the Down Arrow key on your keyboard a few times until her eyes on both sides line up (as shown here). In this case, I had to hit the Down Arrow key seven times until they lined up. You might find it helpful to pull out a horizontal guide (drag it down from the top ruler) to help you align the two eyes right on the money, or you can just eye it. (Oh, come on. That one was pretty good. Get it? “Eye it.” Seriously, that was pretty decent, ya gotta admit.)