One of the most popular touch-ups we can do in Photoshop is changing the color of eyes. It’s quite easy when you get started but it still might not look as it should have, so keep experimenting with different colors to find your spot!
Don’t worry, changing eye color and making them realistic and natural is easy if you know how. We’ll go over it step by step in the following article. You’ll see how simple it is!
Choose the Right Photo:
When picking out a photo it’s important to think about a few things. The first thing you should do is choose the right photo for your needs. This means not just changing the color of an eye, but choosing something that will be noticeable and look good is important to change eye color. You can always reach professional photo editing services for better results. Photo should meet these basic requirements:
The eyes must be well lit: Photographs with unnatural lighting make for awkward-looking portraits. Try to use a type of shooting that provides frontal light or is at a 45° angle. where the eye is brightly lit and the original color of the iris can be seen clearly.
Try to make the iris quite closed: If you would like to see relatively large changes to the color of your eyes in a photo, find a time where they’re closed and not much else is happening. Otherwise, it will be challenging to see more than subtle changes when you go back over the eye colors..
Choose close-up photos: The closer the photo, the better it is for retouching. These close-ups usually work better than full body shots because they’re easy to work with.
I’m going to use this photo, as you can see, it’s a close-up portrait. It’s well-lit and where the original color of the pupil can be perfectly appreciated. I’ll show you step by step how to edit them so that they have eyes of any color. We’re going to see a couple of examples involving eyes of different colors, this way you’ll be able to compare and contrast the differences between them.
Change the Eye Color in Light Eyes with Photoshop:
Let’s start by talking about light eyes: they will be easy to touch up as long as we want to change the tone, for example from blue to green, or vice versa. But the situation gets more complicated if we want dark eyes to become light. Let’s start with the easy fix, then look at how to make them darker.
Open your photo in Photoshop and create a new layer on top of the others by pressing Control+Shift+N (for Windows) or Command+Shift+N (on Mac).Add a layer mask to this new empty layer by clicking on the button that you’ll also find below the Layers window.
All you need to do is paint the entire layer mask black, or select it and press Control+I (or Command+I) to invert it so it’s now all white. Now, just paint the mass inside of your iris with a solid coat without breaking the line. If you’re finding this hard to envision. It does not matter that you cover the black pupil as well, being black it will not be affected by the eye color change.
If you double-click the layer mask, the properties of the mask will be displayed. You can change it to fade at points if you want your edges to be softer and retouching more natural. I’ve put 0.3px. but the resolution of your photo will affect it. The smaller the photo, the less Feather you’ll need).
Although you could just paint with the desired eye color on the empty layer below, I prefer to do it this way because it is very easy to change colors and make different tests.If you don’t have a layer mask in the shape of the iris, you will have to reapply your color layers everytime you want to make an adjustment. This saves time and effort because you only need to be careful with the mask layer and can just treat it like any other color on your canvas.
Now that we have our empty layer with an iris mask, let’s choose a color to change the hue of our model’s eyes. Let’s try blue. To make the change seem real, try to pick a color that isn’t too light or intense. A slightly grayish tone is more believable. Otherwise, it will look overdone and unreal.
Now paint the eyes on the new layer and ignore where it might go on the mask. This is one thing that masks are good for- you wouldn’t have to worry about it when painting carefully in other images.
Try changing the blending mode on the layer that you just painted. If you don’t like what happens, then use the paint bucket tool to change the color until
If you’re looking for a more artistic effect, setting the layer’s blending mode to Color may be what you need. The color will be much more vibrant and intense, but also less natural. This filter will work well with photos that are nature-focused or in some other way seem more “unreal.” For this instance, only paint the pupils of your subject eyes on a layer mask. This is because when you use this blending mode, it affects the layer mask and changes the eye color. You can do it using above mentioned steps or can hire a photo editing service to do it for you.
Darken Light Eyes in Photoshop:
As I mentioned before, the problem comes when we want to darken light eyes. If, continuing with the same example, we paint on the new layer in blue, no matter how dark it is, the eyes remain light, and the blue is practically not noticeable.. If we try the Color blending mode with this type of object, things don’t improve much either. We do get a more bluish tone, but it’s still light, and unrealistic. What do we do?
I think what we need to do is to make your iris darker. We are going to hide the layer of the new color in order to work better. To do this, click on the eye icon in front of the layer. Then to reactivate it again you can just press there again
Select the iris by Control+clicking or Command+Clicking on the Mac on the layer mask we made earlier. This will create a selection which matches the shape of the mask. Add a Levels adjustment layer using one of the quick buttons below
To darken the iris, move the center triangle on the “Midtones” to the right. To lighten it, move it to the left instead. If you want it more black, adjust accordingly.
Now we’re going to turn the new layer back on with the eye color. Paint over it with a brown color and set it to Color blending mode, because in Hue blending mode you won’t normally see the brown color well over the darkened eye. As I mentioned before, when we put the layer in this blending mode, we will have to paint the pupils in black over the mask. If you don’t, you will see the color change of that area as well.
As you can see, we’ve been able to give a blue tone to the model’s eyes. However, this has made her look very unrealistic. To make it more realistic, reselect the irises with CTRL+click on the mask and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Pull down the saturation until color is less saturated and more natural.
And that is how you change light eyes to any color, both light and dark! Now let’s try with some different colors
Change the Color in Dark Eyes with Photoshop
Now we’ll see a less common case, since this time we will have to lighten the dark eyes. As with before, the process will be relatively easy but it’ll be more difficult in this case. We’re going to keep the eye color to be quite noticeable, but it would be hard for the eyes to be as light as the original ones of the other girl. It would always be better if you darken a light eye than to brighten a dark one. Nevertheless, still we can get good results. Let’s see it step by step!
As before, we are going to create a new layer with a mask that encompasses only the iris. If we paint it blue, as bright as it is, and put it in Hue or Color blend mode, you will see that the color is barely noticeable but it is
As before, we will have to make the light eye darker and the dark eye lighter. Hold down Ctrl and click on the layer mask to select just the iris. Then, add a Levels adjustment layer, but this time move the midtone triangle (the one in the middle) to the left instead of to the right. You should see your iris start lightening now!
Then put the color layer in Color or Hue mode, as dark eyes usually require the use of Hue blending mode. Make sure to not use too bright or light tones so that a natural eye color is maintained.
If you think the color is too strong, you can add a Vibrance adjustment layer (selecting the iris mask as before) and tone it down a bit, to make it look more natural.
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And voila! We already have our colleague with beautiful green eyes. Do you dare to try now?