Sep 11, 2014

How to Change Eye Color in Photoshop

How to Change Eye Color in Photoshop

You’ve seen it everywhere, but how is it done?? Today we show you how to change the color of eyes in Photoshop!

Selecting the Eye

To start off, make a new layer and then a curves adjustment layer directly above it. Create an upward curve so that the image looks bright. This will help with visibility later on, and it allow us to alter the selection as we go.

Next, select an area just smaller than they eye using the elliptical marquee tool. Invert that selection by clicking on the mask and then press CMD + I. Delete the underlying layer and then invert the mask once more.

Refining the Selection

Since the outline of the eye is very sharp and unrealistic at this point, we need a blur to make it more believable. Go to Filter —> Blur —> Gaussian Blur, and choose an amount of blur that looks right for the image.

Layer Mask on a Group

This is a big and important step!  We want our color work to only be visible directly on the eye, right? To do this, create a group by pressing CMD + G.

Then, to copy the current layer mask onto the group, hold ALT/OPT and drag it on top of the group folder. The mask will now apply to the entire group.

We can fill the old curves adjustment layer mask with white because we no longer need it. To do this, hold SHIFT + DELETE and select ‘Fill with White.’

The Fun Part

Now that we have a group that will only apply to the eye, we can begin to alter the color. Select a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer. In this layer, the hue slider can be adjusted to whatever color you’d like!

Hint: Blue and green eyes will need a bit of desaturation.

At this point, it is usually quite noticeable that the layer mask is covering part of the eye that it shouldn’t be (pupil, eyelashes, etc.). If this needs to be fixed, go back onto the layer mask and paint over those areas with a white brush.

We can also add another curves adjustment layer to add detail in the eye. By bringing up the different color channels and then adding a layer mask, we can go back in and paint certain areas that we would like more color in.

Infinite Possibilities

Why stop after just one color? To continue with different types of eyes, duplicate the layer by dragging the entire group down to the new layer icon. Then, make the underlying group invisible.

Now we can go back into the adjustments we made previously and alter them however we’d like! Just double click on the adjustment layers and the dialogues will pop up.


Whew. Here’s the long story short:

  1. Create a selection where the eye is
  2. Load that selection as a mask onto a group
  3. Create adjustment layers inside of that group


user image You
(will not be published)

  • user image
    Kate Smith

    So much fun!!! Now everyone is going to have CRAZY EYES!
    Thank you for all that you guys do!

  • user image

    Awesome! for your next episode could you show us how to pop up a rainbow? it would be really helpful! you phlearn it 😉

  • user image
    kate hailey

    Very cool Aaron, you make it look easy! Definitely feel like this is something I could do, will have to give it a go. 🙂

  • user image

    Thanks again for this helpful Tutorial.
    I tend to download these free tutorials so I can categorize them and use them when I need some help when I am editing pictures and the like.
    However , using Chrome, it prohibits to download You Tube film even with some specials add- ons.
    So I found this website :
    Just copy and past the URL of the Tutorial and choose your download resolution.

    So now you can enjoy the tuts when you are not online and give them names that you prefer.

  • user image

    I love the fact that you talk about taking the picture not just the retouching. It would be way cool to have more examples of that, instead of using stock pictures ?

    • user image

      What bothers me a bit is that he chose to work on a photo where the eyes aren’t in full focus. Obviously, stock photos are not of very high detail.

  • user image

    Hi, I am having trouble when you fill the curves layer mask with white, at 5:20 in the video. When I do that, the curves adjustment affects my whole photograph and it all turns very light. Any help would be appreciated. I am using Photoshop CC 2014 on Mac.

  • user image

    Hello, do you have any more advice for working with dark brown/black-appearing eyes? I know you said ideally that’s fixed on the photography end, but as chance would have it, pretty much all the images that I want to use this on, I have nothing to do with that part nor a relationship with the photographer. And of course, most of the subjects have those super dark eyes 😐 Am I out of luck? I would pay money to learn how to change those realistically. Thanks.

  • user image

    Would like to see the method of creating a transparency logo that can take a symbol I have and make it into a brush that I can add to my photos as a trademark.

  • user image
    Chadi J

    how to change head to another body in photoshop
    ps: not face all the head 🙂

  • user image

    I LOVE THIS! I Love how real he is and kind of silly. Staying relaxed, making mistakes and some jokes helps me relax so I don’t freeze up and freak out and think, “Oh, this is so hard, wait what did he do, i’ll never get this, aak!”
    Instead it had me laughing and learning. Excellent!!!
    And I have done all the Team Treehouses already
    I can’t wait to get more of these, and thanks for the silliness. I will tell everybody I know about these and share them online.