Admit it - you'd love to be able to easily change the eye color of some
special person in your life.
It's really easy to do and if you went through the hair color change
tutorial then you know everything you need to know already.
With Photoshop Elements 9 there are a plethora (that means a lot) of
different methods to modify someone's baby blues to some other
This tutorial will focus on a trusted method
using an adjustment layer.
There is some painting involved in the technique and a Wacom tablet
will make this critical part of the color change easier and much more
Here is the original we
will be working with.
Her natural color (unless her eyes were digitally colored) is kind of a
yellowish-gray color (#82764c) and this gives a nice base to work with.
Hue And Saturation
It's always a good idea to make a copy of the original image by
dragging the Background onto the new layer icon (outlined in red).
If a complete disaster occurs then you have the original at the bottom
of the stack.
Now we can get started - with the Background copy selected add a Hue
and Saturation Adjustment Layer.
This is how the layers palette will look with the three layers.
That's all of the set-up so now the rest of the technique is simply
adjusting the eye color and painting it in
When the Hue and Saturation Adjustment Panel opens you will see the
To apply a color to the whole image put a check mark in the Colorize
When the Hue and Saturation Adjustment layer is created these are the
settings in the Adjustment Panel.
The image is not changed.
This applies a color to the image and the settings can be changed by
moving the three sliders around.
Hue - top slider
Saturation - middle slider
Lightness - bottom slider
Play around with these settings until you get a color you like and
don't worry about the fact that the whole picture is colorized - we're
going to take care of
that right away ... (remind you of Avatar?).
The wonderful thing about the Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer is
that it comes with it's own Layer Mask.
That means you can show or hide parts of the adjustments in truly
To get rid of the overall color added when the Colorize button checked
and to keep the nice new color available simply select the Layer Mask
by clicking on it (it's highlighted in yellow simply to point it out)
and press Ctr-I or Cmd-I to Invert
What was visible (blue in my case) disappears as the picture returns to
normal plus the Layer Mask turns from white to black.
Like this ...
Now the magic trick is to bring back only the eye color.
Because we're working on a layer mask that is filled with black we need
to paint over the eyes with white to reveal the new eye color (in this
case a nice deep blue).
Some guidelines/suggestions for working with the layer mask...
Zoom in tight (really close) on one eye at a time.
Choose a small brush.
Set the dynamics of the brush to change with pressure.
And that's all there is to changing eye color. Here's the image
with nice new blue eyes.
There are, however, some other things that can be done to further
modify the eyes.
The Hue and Saturation adjustment layer is set at 100% Opacity by
default. If the opacity is lowered then the effect of the layer
can be decreased.
The Hue and Saturation Opacity was lowered to 44% to produce this
Another change that can be made is to change the Blend Mode of the Hue
and Saturation Layer. There are 25 Blend Modes in Photoshop
Elements and you can try them all`but the ones that will likely
produce the best results are Color, Multiply (to darken), Screen (to
Changing the Blend Mode to Color provides a slightly different result
than lowering the opacity.
There you go - a simple method for changing eye color using and
Adjustment Layer. This method provides unlimited combinations of
Hue, Saturation and Lightness.