Glowing Eyes

Humans get red eye - pets get glowing eyes - either blue or yellow and sometimes green.

It makes them look like some kind of evil demon and I've got the shots to prove it.

This can wreck an otherwise great shot of your favorite companion and it generally happens when you use a flash.

It really is quite easy to eliminate with Photoshop Elements as you will soon find out.


My buddy, Terry, graciously sent this picture of his little Maisie with the blue eyes.  Blue eyes on a human is fine but blue eyes are not so appealing with little Maisie ...

glowing eyes maisie

She is a cute little thing, isn't she?  Let's deal with that unwanted eyes ...

The Selection

  1. Zoom in on one of the eyes, grab the Selection Brush Tool (or use any selection tool you like) and select the first of the two glowing eyes.
    pet refine edge
  2. Move to the other eye and do the same thing with the Selection Brush Tool.

  3. If your version has Refine Edge in the Options bar then click on it and expand the selection by at least one pixel.

  4. The other two settings can be modified to taste but they really don't need to be much over the minimum.

  5. Click OK when you're done.

The interesting thing about eyes is that they all have spectral highlights - that little white spot where highlights are captured.

Dogs and cats are no different from humans in this regard - we all have spectral highlights.

What you need to do is identify the spectral highlights and then deselect them from the selection you just made.

If you're using the Selection Brush Tool then go up to the Options Bar on the left end - you will find these options glowing eyes options bar

Make sure the icon on the right is selected - the one with the minus sign - and then paint over the spectral highlights in each eye to remove them from the initial selection.  If you pet has hair crossing over the eyes then paint them out as well.

Press the Ctrl/Cmd-J key to place the glowing eyes on a new layer.

Now the real work begins ...

The Layers

It's not really that difficult either ...

glowing eyes layersThis is the final layers palette - those two little black dots are the two little glowing eyes selections.

The Layers Palette was changed in the Palette Options to show the Layer Bounds (click on the little arrow below the X in the top right of the panel and choose Palette Options).

Layer 2 also has a little lock icon on it's right side and it is needed to make the technique work.

To lock the layer first select it and then click the little Lock icon at the bottom of the palette.

OK - so that sets up the Layers palette.

The Brush

Now for the Brush.

glowing eyes brush options

  1. Select a standard round brush,

  2. Click the little airbrush tool at the top of the Options Bar,

  3. Set your Wacom pen to change Opacity with Pressure,

  4. Set the Foreground Color to Black by pressing the X key,

  5. Change the Blend Mode of the brush to Darken, and finally,

  6. Activate the selection layer.

Now all you have to do is paint over the two selections - the glowing eyes will be replaced with black and the spectral highlights will remain as they should.

That should do it quite nicely unless there was some of the original demon color that didn't get selected.  If that's the case then activate the Background layer and use the Clone Tool to get rid of it quickly and efficiently.

The Result

glowing edges final

That nasty blue color is gone and the spectral highlights in each eye are still visible and Maisie is even cuter than before!

Here's another example - little Heaven, the Miniature Bull Terrier leaning against a post as she sits in a planter box.

glowing eyes heaven
glowing eyes heaven
Heaven with Glowing Eyes
Heaven without Glowing Eyes

Eliminating that annoying glow certainly makes a difference, doesn't it?

This is a nice easy technique to make a picture of your favorite friend look like is should look.

Page Links


The Selection

The Layers

The Brush

The Result

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