How to make eyes expressive in Photoshop

As the famous proverb says, the eyes are the mirror of the soul. They also play a huge role in photography, drawing the viewer into the image. In this lesson, Tigz Rice will use Photoshop channels and demonstrate a quick, simple technique to lighten the eyes, which will make your image more attractive.

Channels are a special kind of layers in which Photoshop stores color information. In the standard RGB mode, there are three channels (Red – Red, Green – Green and Blue – Blue). They indicate how many colors need to be applied and where (a black and white card is used for this).

You can also use these channels to select specific areas of the image when retouching. For example, you can emphasize the bright areas of the eyes, while darker, richer tones will remain intact.

For the lesson, a photo taken with carefully tuned lighting and a professional model was chosen, so the effect may seem weak. However, this technique also works to create more noticeable results, if required. Just do not overdo it with the final effect.

Model: Aurora Galore

Step 1

Open the desired photo and select the layer Background (Background).

Step 2

Go to panel Channels (Channel Panel) – it is next to the tab Layers (Layers) in the standard Photoshop interface. Or go to menu Window> Channels (Window> Channels). On this tab you will find three layers – Red (Red), Green (Green) and Blue (Blue).

Scroll through each one and select the one that has the most contrast in the eye area. The green channel is quite suitable for most photos, although in our example it is worth choosing red.

Step 3

Hold and hold Ctrl, and then click on the selected channel, selecting all its contents. Now around the selected areas should appear a stroke with “marching ants.” The selection will affect the bright areas of the eyes and reflections from light sources.

Other parts of the photo will also stand out, but at this stage do not worry about them.

Step 4

On the panel Adjustments (Adjustments panel) click on the icon Curves (Curves). “Ants” should disappear, and the panel Layers (Layers panel) to get this look.

Step 5

Return to the panel Layers or just click F7. In the window Properties (Properties) click on the center of the diagonal line and drag the appeared point slightly up (about half a cell).

The line will turn into a curve and get something like this. This step should make the eyes noticeably brighter.

Step 6

If required, you can create additional key points in exactly the same way. Thanks to this, you get additional control over how your eyes are illuminated. Here I have added one additional point at the bottom to create a greater depth of chocolate-brown irises.

Step 7

After you become satisfied with the result, let’s put the adjustment layer in a folder. This will limit its use only to the eye area, and also allow for future edits. With selected layer Curves 1 (Curves 1), hold down the key Shift, then click on the icon Create a new group (Add New Group). Now our layer is automatically in the created group.

Name the group “Brightening the eyes” for convenience in orientation.

Step 8

Select a group, press and hold Alt, then click on the icon Add layer mask (Add Layer Mask). You will get a negative (black) mask for the whole group. This will remove all the clarified parts of the image added in the previous steps.

Step 9

Activate the layer mask. Use white Brush (Brush Tool) to paint over eyes. The white areas of the mask will allow the effect of applying the curves to appear in the right areas, while the rest of the photo will remain intact.

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