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Retouching the Mouth

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This chapter is from the book

Fixing Spaces Between Teeth

Some folks are blessed with perfect teeth. Others (myself included) are not so blessed. Most of the time it’s okay, but once in a while a space between the teeth may be a little distracting to the overall photo. Luckily we have Elements to fix this. Be careful though, you don’t want to hurt your subject’s feelings by making them think they had all of these problems. Remember, they’re going to see the portrait you’re creating. Make it real by doing selective and tasteful work—not a total makeover.

  • Step 1. After you locate the photo with the space between the teeth that you’d like to fix, go ahead and create a blank layer on top of it (by clicking on the Create a New Layer icon at the top of the Layers palette). We’re going to use the Clone Stamp tool here, so we might as well take advantage of the fact that it’ll let us work on a blank layer.
  • Step 2. Press Z to zoom into the photo and then select the Clone Stamp tool from the Toolbox (or just press the letter S). In the Options Bar, turn on the Sample All Layers checkbox. What we want to do here is just extend the tooth to the side of the space a little, so we need to lower our brush size significantly so we can be precise. Press-and-hold the Alt (Mac: Option) key and sample an area right at the center and bottom of the tooth.
  • Step 3. Move your cursor over until it’s right inside the gap (on the tooth’s side). Click-and-drag from the bottom part of the tooth and follow the contour of it as it moves up toward the lip or gum. You’re essentially extending the side of the tooth here.
  • Step 4. Depending on the gap, you may be able to get away with one brush stroke here. If not, resample and continue extending the tooth until the gap is closed.
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