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Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

Posted July 27, 2009 12:00 AM by Mello

This week we'll wrangle another photo problem with the lasso tool—how to get rid of an undesirable feature.

If you didn't catch last week's blog entry on how to fix blinking in photos, you might want to check it out, as it utilizes many of the same tools and methods we'll be using here.



























This week's photo example may look fine to the casual observer, but if you look closely, you can see that a couple days of walking around Disney has taken its toll on me—causing those unsightly dark circles under my eyes. Let's see what we can do in Photoshop so I won't be embarrassed to print this one out for my scrapbook!

Focusing In On the Problem

First we open a copy of the photo; we don't want to mess with the original in case something goes wrong. Photo editing can take a lot of trial and error sometimes.



Zoom in to the area we'll be working in (using the Zoom Tool or Ctrl + ), in this case the eyes. I'll be using the Lasso Tool with the Feather value set to 9 (like last week's example, this value may vary depending on the size/resolution of the photo and the area you're working on). Select the darkened area underneath the eyes, making sure you're on the more generous side—it's better to use a larger area and delete some of the excess later.

Edit: Copy (ctrl c) the selection, then Edit: Paste (ctrl v) and this selection will be a new layer. Photoshop can be a bit odd sometimes about the placement of pasted selections, so if it's not quite in the same place, you can use the Move Tool to nudge it a bit left/right/up/down.




Trial and Error

Hang in there, this next part entails more trial and error. First we go into Image: Adjustments: Brightness/Contrast. I'll try these settings: Brightness = 32, Contrast = - 9.

Make sure you have the "Preview" option checked, and you can see we end up with an area that's much too light around the dark circle part. Let's fix that next before we get too far. The main thing we're aiming for is to get the color of the area under the eyes to be similar to the area near the cheeks.








Using the lasso tool again with the same feather as before, select the area that's a bit too light and press Delete—I'll usually do this a little bit at a time, so I don't go too far into the section we're keeping. If it looks like you've deleted too much, Edit:Undo (Ctrl z) to go back a step (or Edit: Step Backward more than once to go back more steps).






Finishing Touches

At this point, there's still somewhat of a darkened line that I'm not too thrilled with on my right undereye area. Repeating the process we just completed—selecting the darker area, copying and pasting it, and tweaking the brightness/contrast will lend some pretty decent results.

This time I used a feather of 6 on the Lasso Tool since the area is smaller, and I only bumped the brightness up by +8.




You can use the layers panel to check the before and after; click the eyeball next to the layer to turn the layer visibility off so you can see the layer below it.

I'm pretty happy with the way this looks now, so I'm going to merge the lightened undereye layer by right clicking on the layer in the layers panel and selecting "Merge Down". If you have multiple layers, you can ctrl click to select more than one layer, then right click on one of them and select "Merge Layers".













That's it—no more dark circles under my eyes and I look like I'm ready to take on the Tea Cup ride!

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#1

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/27/2009 10:05 AM

It definitely takes some tweaking when it comes to the trial and error step. I did a pretty good job with last week's lesson but this will require some real practice! Thanks for the post. This will be useful once I get it down.

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#2
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Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/27/2009 10:32 AM

Yes indeed-- you are in control of how your photo looks. Don't like a change you made? You can go back and try it again!

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#3

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/27/2009 11:59 AM

Strewth! This could put cosmetics manufacturers out of business!

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Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/27/2009 12:42 PM

A good point, PWSlack; it certainly is more economical than lots of makeup or professional airbrushing! (Although I suppose it's not the most help for making one look spectacular in person)

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#5

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/28/2009 10:14 AM

This is an impressive and handy tip, but I can't let my mom know. She'll ask me to edit every single one of her photos!

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Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/28/2009 1:03 PM

Once you start editing photos, it's hard to stop! I've actually had a hard time finding examples to use for these blog entries, because a lot of times I'll delete the original photo to save computer space. Fortunately I found a couple of old non-digital photos that I scanned in for the next "Confession."

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#6

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/28/2009 10:31 AM

A very good job walking through this one.

Right now I am just wondering why a chipmunk is eating your head...

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#9
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Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/28/2009 1:06 PM

Because my husband, brother, and I went a little crazy with hats in the souvineer shops! While we never actually bought any, we did take a lot of silly photos.

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#7

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/28/2009 10:59 AM

You know, this may sound silly but... although I love photoshop and use it all the time, I've never thought to use it to edit photos of myself or my friends.

I'm much more likely to use it to add captions (see avatar), remove bothersome timestamps, or manipulate the background or foreground. It probably has something to do with the fact that I take more pictures of animals and nature than people...oh well...
I guess I've always thought of photoshop as a fun tool and not a practical tool.

All in all, THANK YOU! Your directions are very easy to understand and the screen shots are very helpful, especially for beginners. I'll definitely advise people to check out your blog entries when they need to do some photo-editing.

And now I have something new (and useful) to do during those rainy weekends.
I look forward to reading your next entry!

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#10
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Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/28/2009 1:12 PM

Thanks, I'm glad you're finding these tips helpful!

You know, I've never understood timestamps on digital photos-- The files themselves have the date/time information in them, so why ruin a perfectly good image by putting numbers in the corner? o.O

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Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/28/2009 1:18 PM

I think the date/time stamp may have originated from when old pictures didn't have any time stamps. When my grandfather died, we had all these black and white pictures, but without dates, we couldn't tell how old anyone might have been in the picture, which would also help to distinguish who some of them might have been.

Thankfully, some did have handwritten dates on them. So we could tell who they were and how old they were, but it was really hard for the pictures that didn't have dates on them. The timestamps may not be helpful to you, but it will be to those who inherit them when you are long gone.

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#12
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Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

07/28/2009 1:27 PM

Actually, Jaxy, that's a very good point!

I guess I'm looking at it from more of a standpoint of having images that are on your computer or a cd. That, and most of the photos that I do print out are for my scrapbooks-- they usually get some date labelling on the page, not the photo itself.

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