Deke’s Techniques 025: Correcting Red-eye like a pro

025 Correcting red-eye like a pro

This week, I show you how to fix red-eye. Now I know, some of you are thinking, really Deke, red-eye?!? First of all, that’s not something a professional photographer with any skills or equipment encounters. And second, aren’t there tools for automatically fixing that problem?

Of course, but here’s the thing. First, pro photographer or not, if you’re snapping pics with a point-and-shoot camera or cell phone, red-eye remains a constant problem. And second, the automated tools don’t do a particularly good job. Which is why I offer this video, in which we not only make red pupils black, but also mask those pupils with an alarming degree of accuracy.

Here’s the official description:

Wait, fixing red-eye like a pro? True, professional photographers, with their fancy equipment, probably don’t end up with glowing-eyed subjects very often (if ever). But the fact is, if you’re using the camera at hand, and it happens to be a compact device with the flash and lens element in close angles to one another, anyone might end up with red-eye in their portraits. And what Deke demonstrates in this week’s technique is how to fix red-eye like a pro. That is, as a professional Photoshop retoucher.

And yes, this involves avoiding Photoshop’s red-eye tool altogether. Deke starts by showing you how to create a nuanced mask using the Calculations command and painting with an overlay brush to select the subtle outlines of blown-out pupils. Then he employs the Channel Mixer to rid the selected pupils of their redness. The result, as you can see below, allows for nice dark pupils with nothing but the spark of a natural spectral highlight. (And along the way, you get a cool zombie-like effect during the mask-creation process.)

The three stages of red-eye correction in Photoshop

Each week, Deke offers up a new technique that’s free to everyone. And members can view the entire collection of Deke’s Techniques (including some exclusive members-only episodes) inside the Online Training Library. If you’d like to see more about masking, members can also check out Chapter 26 of Deke’s Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery course. And we’ll see you all back next week for another free Deke’s Technique.

I promise you, it’s a great technique. And next week, we’ll get back to some (possibly more compelling) graphic arts tricks. Enjoy.

Next entry:Yesterday, I Started Work on Photoshop CS5 Extended One-on-One: 3D Scenes

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  • Alpha Channel Erratum


    At one point in this week’s lesson, you invert the double selection you make in the alpha channel and fill it with black.

    You mention the command to invert is command-shift-i (control-shift-i).

    Considering the subject matter, shouldn’t you have said the command is command-shift-i‘s (control-shift-i‘s)?

    Hahahahahahahaha! Get it? I‘s = eyes! Hahahahaha! I’m a riot! Hahahaha!


    “Thanks again, for another day full of something that I

    just can’t put my finger on.”—Kim Knoche

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