The creative tutorial home of image wrangler, Lesa Snider.

How to Fix Animal White-Eye, Part 2

October 12, 2005 by
Fixing cat eyes in Photoshop Elements

I recently wrote a tutorial on fixing animal white-eye in Photoshop, where I used a photo of a beautiful dog named Abbey... and that was good. Then one of my readers sent along a photo of their fluffly cat Chloe... and that was good. Chloe did indeed suffer from white-eye, though only in one eye--the other eye was an odd turqoise. That is not good.

Today I'm going to show you how to fix your beloved pet's eyes no matter what color the camera flash turns them. And to spice things up a bit, I shall perform this technique in Photoshop Elements... and that will be good :)

Step 1: Pop open a beloved pet photo and press Command + J (PC: Ctrl + J) to duplicate the background layer. This protects us from ourselves, as the original image will remain unharmed.

Step 2: First, let's crop the photo to the subject matter, which is Chloe's pretty little face. Press C to choose the Crop tool and draw a box around her face. Press Return to accept the crop.

CROPPING TIP #1: If I wanted to print this photo and place it lovingly into a 4 x 6 frame, I would dial in those numbers in the options toolbar at the top of the screen before drawing the crop box. Tthis will lock the aspect ratio of the crop tool, ensuring a perfect size print. For width type "4 in" (you must enter the unit, else Elements thinks pixels), and "6 in" for height. A resolution of 200 is fine for most home inkjet printers.

CROPPING TIP #2: Press the ESC key to back out of the crop completely.

Step 3: From the View menu, choose New Window for [image name]. Zoom in closely in one window, and zoom out to roughly the size the photo will print in another. This will allow you to see the effect at a realistic size. What you do in one window happens instantaneously in the other. This is what my workspace looks like:

TIP: Hold down the spacebar and use the mouse to move around in the zoomed-in document. The cursor will turn into a little hand as circled in red above.

Step 4: Select the Magic Wand tool from the toolbox, or just press W.

Step 5: Click once in the white area of Chloe's eye. Hold down the Shift key and continue clicking until all the white area is surrounded by marching ants. TIP: Holding down the Shift key adds to a selection; holding down the Option (PC: Alt) key subtracts from a selection.

Step 6: Hold down the Shift key and click on the turqoise eye area. Keep Shift-clicking until both of her pupils are selected. You could certainly do this technique on one eye at a time, if you'd rather.

Step 7: Choose Select > Feather, enter 2 and click OK. This will soften the edges of our selection so the effect looks realistic.

TIP: You can also access the Feather dialog box by Control-clicking within the selection area (PC: Right-click), as shown below. This little trick also works in the full-blown Photoshop.

Step 8: Press D to select the default color chips of black and white. With the black chip on top (just press X to swap them if necessary), press Option + Delete to fill the selection with black. NOTE: You can also choose Edit > Fill Selection with black.

Presto! Chloe's eyes are back to normal kitty eyes, just like that. When zoomed in, the black doesn't cover 100% of her pupils; though, at roughly the size the image would print the effect looks great. Therein lies the logic of opening a duplicate window of the image. There's no need to spend hours pouring over an the tiny details of an effect or retouch if those details are so small they won't be noticeable.