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Retouching the Mouth

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This chapter is from the book

Fixing Crooked Teeth

Just like the technique before this one, fixing teeth is a tricky thing. There’s a fine line between offending the subject and a tasteful enhancement. A good rule of thumb here is to not make any adjustments to other people that you wouldn’t do to yourself. Here, we have a nice photo of a couple, and with one small adjustment to the teeth we can really make the smile stand out.

  • Step 1. Open the photo that you’re going to fix. Start out by creating a blank layer above the Background layer by clicking on the Create a New Layer icon at the top of the Layers palette.
  • Step 2. Click once on the blank layer to select it, press the letter Z to get the Zoom tool, and zoom in on the teeth. Then press S to select the Clone Stamp tool and make sure that the Sample All Layers checkbox is turned on in the Options Bar. Press-and-hold the Alt (Mac: Option) key and click on the top of the space between two other teeth to sample that area. The best way to fix crooked teeth is by building a straight space between the teeth that need fixing.
  • Step 3. Now, with the Clone Stamp tool, paint straight down the center of the two middle teeth to build a fake space between them. As you get toward the bottom, start curving the brush stroke along the contour of the tooth.
  • Step 4. Press-and-hold the Alt (Mac: Option) key again and sample the center of the tooth on the right. Then click-and-drag to start painting on the tooth on the left to get rid of the part of the original tooth we left behind in the last step.
  • Step 5. You may need to do this a few times to get the teeth to match up. Continually resample with the Clone Stamp tool to keep patterns from starting to appear.
  • Step 6. The last thing to do is to fix the area of space between the lip and the teeth. Zoom in on that area and you’ll see some remnants of the tooth shape that was originally there.
  • Step 7. Now, select the Eyedropper tool (I) and click on a dark spot in that empty area to sample the color. (You’ll see your sampled color in your Foreground color swatch at the bottom of the Toolbox.)
  • Step 8. Switch to the Brush tool (B) and drop your brush size way down until it fits inside this area. Start painting over the ghosted tooth shape to remove it and restore a realistic appearance between the teeth and the lip below them.
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