Laura Shoe's Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) Blog for Digital Photographers

Fixing Flash-Filled Animal Eyes

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Is anyone still out there?  I think it is time to revive this blog.  I chuckle when I think about how I titled it Digital Daily Dose, but I think that many blog writers can relate to my early enthusiasm.

Recently a colleague of mine, Kathy Eyster, wrote an article in her award-winning blog, Essential Digital Camera, on how to fix flash-filled pet eyes using Photoshop.  The red-eye tool won’t fix them, as it simply takes red out, and pet pupils don’t turn red.  Kathy points out that there are two steps, first turning the pupil almost black, and then painting back in a catch light.  Reading this led me to attempt the same in Lightroom with the adjustment brush.  Kathy was kind enough to lend me her photo.   

My conclusion is that both techniques work equally well, and are equally as straightforward (assuming you know each program).  

Here’s the Lightroom approach:  (If you don’t know how to use the adjustment brush, watch my video here.)

1.  In the adjustment brush, as a starting point set exposure to -4.00, brightness to -50, and saturation to -65.  Zoom in and paint both pupils with a fairly soft-edged brush.  Do not use auto mask — the edges will be too harsh.  After painting, go back to the sliders and adjust brightness to get the right amount of darkening (it depends on how dark the pupils were to start with).  Adjust saturation so that most of the color is taken out.

2.  Click on “New” at the top of the adjustment brush panel to start a new adjustment.  Set Exposure to +4.00.  Paint catch lights in both eyes.  If for some reason they are not bright enough, also increase the brightness slider.

The round adjustment pins may get in the way of painting.  If so, type H to temporarily hide them, then H to get them back again (or in the toolbar below the picture, change Show Edit Pins temporarily to Never).



 This is also a hint to you that anytime you want to turn something in your photo black (like a background), extreme negative exposure and brightness will do it.  Occasionally you will need a second extreme adjustment on top of the first to get enough darkening, but it can be done.  Of course the opposite can be achieved as well — turn something white by painting with extreme positive exposure and brightness.

Do check out Kathy’s blog!  She has lots of excellent articles.

  1. Yes – still here. A good explanation of this technique – thanks.

  2. Maybe call it Digital Occasional Dose? Digital Irregular Dose?
    I’ve had you in my menu bar, knew you’d be back sometime. Enjoy your site and I’m putting the information I got in your printing class to good use. Dr J

  3. I was in need of a method for adding catch lights to eyes using lightroom. This tutorial has provided that.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s