Changing the features of a model is a common practice in the advertising industry. It can also just be fun to do for selfies or pictures of your friends. Have you ever wondered what you would look like with a different eye colour? The following tutorial will show you how to easily change a person or pet’s eye colour in a digital photo.
Time: 2- 10 minutes
Materials: Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, and a digital photo of a person or animal.
Open the photo and perform any edits you wish to perform aside from eye colour alteration.
Here is a sample image before the eye colour has been altered
The first step, when changing the colour of someone’s eyes, is to select the ‘Sponge’ tool. Set the mode to desaturate and the flow to 100%. Use the tool on the iris of the eyes to remove all of the colour in the iris. The eye colour will now appear to be in black and white.
Next, select the ‘Dodge’ tool. Set the range to ‘Midtones’ and the ‘exposure’ to about 50%. Use this tool to brighten the iris area if required. If you aren’t sure whether to do this step, that’s okay, you can do it later if needed.
Here the eyes have been brightened with the dodge tool
Now create a new layer (Layer>New>Layer…). Make sure the new layer is highlighted in the ‘Layers’ panel. Select the brush tool and set the colour to the eye colour you would like to use. Choose a brush size that will work to paint over the iris area without going outside of it, and set the hardness to a low value (I use 0). Set the opacity of the brush to 100%. Paint over the iris area being careful to paint around any light reflected in the eyes. You can add some colour to these areas if needed, but first set your brush opacity to a low value so it will look more natural.
Once you have painted over the irises, adjust the layer opacity to a value that looks natural.
If the eyes appear too bright, select the background layer and use the ‘burn’ tool to make the eyes look more natural. If they appear too dark, use the dodge tool to brighten them as mentioned above.
Here the eyes have been touched up using the burn tool to make them look more natural
Not happy with your colour choice? No problem! Select the eye-colour layer and click Image>Adjustments>Hue and Saturation. Use these settings to adjust the eye colour to whatever looks best.
Here the Hue and Saturation have been adjusted to make the model’s eyes appear to be a bright blue
Flatten your image and don’t forget to save.
This process for eye colour adjustment does take a bit of practice. Once you have done it a few times and learn what brush sizes and opacities work best for the look you want to accomplish, it is a simple and fun way to add some drama to your photos.