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Enhance Eyes in Photoshop Elements

by Erin Peloquin on November 7, 2008 · 4 comments

The first method of Eye Brightening is the PSE 7 Smart Brush version, which I think works better on dark eyes than on light.  The second method is compiled from several different sources – you can use any steps by themselves, or use them all together.

Brighten Eyes in Photoshop Elements Just Like the PSE 7 Smart Brush

  • Select the area of the eye you’d like to brighten.  This can include the white of the eye as well as the iris and pupil.
  • Add a Levels Adjustment Layer by clicking on the half-black half-white circle near the top of the Layers Palette.
  • Double click on the Adjustment Layer Thumbnail to open the Levels Dialogue box.
  • Under the Input Levels graph are 3 boxes.  Type 212 in the box on the right side.
  • Hit OK, change the Blending Mode of the layer to Screen, and adjust opacity to taste.

Alternate Methods for Brightening Eyes in Photoshop Elements

  • Use a small soft natural brush set on Soft Light Blending Mode and opacity less than 15%.  With the foreground color set to white, brush over the iris and white areas of the eyes.  If this isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, change the Blending Mode to Overlay.
  • With the same brush settings, switch the foreground color to black and brush a line around the edge of the iris and the pupil, if needed.
  • Sharpening the eyes makes them look extra sparkly.  There are many ways to sharpen in Photoshop Elements.  You can simply select the eyes and use Unsharp Mask or Adjust Sharpness.  If I want to sharpen not only the eyes but also the lashes and the eye liner line, this is what I do:
    • Duplicate the background layer
    • Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light
    • Run the High Pass Filter (Filter Menu/Other/High Pass) with the Radius set to about 20 pixels
    • Add a layer mask and fill it completely with black
    • Use a soft white brush at 100% Opacity and Normal Blending Mode to brush over eyes, lashes and eye liner line

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

kim adams October 26, 2010 at 8:48 am

I have tried sooo many different ways to brighten my daughters blue eyes. Just to make them “Jump at ya” a little more when doing close ups. what is a easier way. or do u have to go thru all the layers?
I have pse 8
thank you sooo much


Maddie November 15, 2010 at 12:03 am

Simple…use the Dodge and Burn tools. Use Dodge on highlights at 25% opacity and Burn on Shadows at 25% opacity. Use the Sponge tool on Saturate, also on 25%. I recommend duplicating the picture to make these adjustments on just in case…it also gives you to option to lower the opacity of the eyes on the adjusted layer. Hope this helps!


Annette August 31, 2011 at 9:18 am

and for your action for Photoshop elements nine
with enhancing eyes with the sparkle. how hard is it to install
what is the cost


Erin August 31, 2011 at 9:23 am

Hi Annette, information on MCP’s Eye Doctor is here

Instructions for installing it are included in the product, or you can look over these instructions. I provide support for MCP if you have trouble installing actions..


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