Practical Photoshop Elements: Fixing Red Eye

April 12, 2014

Practical Photoshop Elements: Fixing Red Eye

The dreaded red eye!

If you have ever snapped a photo using your camera's on-board flash, you've probably encountered red eyes.

Red eye occurs when the camera's flash enters your subject's pupil and then reflects off of the back of the eye. This reflected light is recorded by your camera as red eye.

Red eye is more often seen when the flash is close to the camera lens. That's why it tends to be a bigger problem when shooting with the camera's a built-in flash unit, and especially when shooting with compact cameras.

But regardless of the cause, the good news is that red eye can be fixed easily in Photoshop Elements. In fact, Elements has a tool specifically designed for this purpose. This tool is the aptly named Red Eye Removal Tool and you can find it in either the Quick Edit workspace or the Expert Edit workspace.

Let's see how this works.

Fixing Red Eyes in Photoshop Elements 12

Step 1

Begin by opening your image in the Photoshop Elements Editor workspace. For this fix, you can work in either the Quick Edit mode or the Expert edit mode. Select one of these modes by clicking on the appropriate tab at the top of the Editor workspace.

fix red eye in pse12

For the example we'll be working on in this tutorial, we'll be using the Quick Edit workspace. But the steps are the same for both.

Step 2

When working with this type of edit, it's best to be zoomed in tight to the area of the image that you're working on. So, before you begin, zoom in on your subject's eyes so that you can see them better. You can do this by using the zoom slider at the top of the Quick Edit workspace or by using the Zoom tool from at the top of the Editor Toolbox. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Crtl++ (Command++ on a Mac) to zoom in or Crtl+- (Command+- on a Mac) to zoom out.

Step 3

Now select the Red Eye Removal tool by clicking on its icon in the Toolbox.

fix red eye in pse12

When you select the Red Eye Removal tool, the options for the tool will appear in the Tool Options bar at the bottom of the workspace.

fix red eye in pse12

I like to first try using the Auto Correct option to see how well it removes the red eye. If it works, well, I'm done! To use Auto Correct, simply click on the button and see what happens.

fix red eye in pse12

Step 4

For my photo, Auto Correct makes the pupils too dark and too large. You can see that the dark pupil on the eye on the left is bleeding out slightly into Sophie's eyelid.

So I'm going to undo that edit using Crtl+Z (Command+Z on a Mac) and try doing the edit manually but tweaking the settings in the Options bar first.

First, I'll reduce the darkness of the effect by moving the Darken slider to the left until it reads 35%. Then I'll reduce the size of the effect by sliding the Pupil Radius bar to the left until the setting reads 40%.

fix red eye in pse12

Now I'll apply the edit. To do that, I'll click with the tool over the area of the red eye. First, the left eye:

fix red eye in pse12

And then the right.

fix red eye in pse12

That looks better!

Here's my finished picture:

fix red eye in pse12

By the way, red eye problems aren't limited to people pictures. You can also have this issue when snapping photos of animals. In that case, the light reflected in the pupil is often green, gold or yellow in color.

The method for fixing pet eye is very similar to that used for red eyes in people.

Fixing Pet Eyes in Photoshop Elements 12

fix red eye in pse12

Step 1

Begin by opening your image in the Photoshop Elements Editor workspace. Select either the Quick Edit mode or the Expert Edit mode by clicking on the appropriate tab at the top of the Editor workspace.

fix red eye in pse12

Step 2

Zoom in so that you have a good view of your subject's eyes.

Select the Red Eye Removal tool by clicking on its icon in the Toolbox. Check the box next to Pet Eye in the Tool Options bar. When you do this, you will notice that Auto Correct greys out and is no longer available.

fix red eye in pse12

So Pet Eye removal has to be done manually. That means that we'll use the same procedure we used above to fix Sophie's red eyes above.

Step 3

For Lucy's eyes, I'll first try the tool using the default settings to see where that gets me. With the default settings in place, I'll click with the tool over the areas of the eyes.

This is what I get.

fix red eye in pse12

I like these results and so I'm going to stick with them.

If, however, you don't like the look that you're getting, undo it (again using Crtl+Z on a PC or Command+Z on a Mac) and try the tool again after tweaking the Pupil Radius and Darken setting in the Options bar.

Here's my final Lucy photo:

fix red eye in pse12

Isn't she beautiful?

Until next time…




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