Sep 30, 2014

How to Whiten Teeth in Photoshop

How to Whiten Teeth in Photoshop

You’ve asked, we’ve answered! In today’s episode, learn how to whiten and straighten teeth in no time!

Selecting the Teeth

Make sure to start off by selecting the teeth, so they can be isolated for the color work. The initial selection doesn’t have to be perfect as you can go back in and refine the mask layer. For this specific image, we use the lasso tool.

Now that we have a selection, we want to turn it into a layer mask. Make a new layer and press CMD/CTRL + G to group that layer with itself. Then, hit the layer mask button. Now, all the changes you make will only apply to the layer mask. This is a very important step and is extremely helpful later on!

Tackling Color

Make a new hue/saturation layer mask, and drag the slider almost all the way to the left. Decrease the saturation a little bit as well. You do want to have a tiny bit of color in the teeth, because no one has completely desaturated teeth. Grey teeth would be a very scary sight.

Lightening the Dark Areas

Make a new curves adjustment layer and drag the middle of the curve very far up. At first this will look really horrible, but don’t worry! Double click on that layer and select the Blend-If window. Here, you can hold ALT/OPT and drag the bottom right slider to the left. If it goes too far though, the darkness will come back into the teeth so be sure to find a happy medium.

Lightening the Light Areas

For this step, use the marquee tool to select a box around all of the teeth. Then hit Shift + Delete and choose Fill With White. Now, use the same Blend-If technique as before but bring the left slider to the right


If you need to straighten teeth as well, make a stamp visible layer by pressing SHIFT + OPT + CMD + E. This will be the layer that you alter the shape of the teeth on. Go to Filter -> Liquify, and make adjustments with your brush as needed on the teeth.


user image You
(will not be published)

  • user image

    I’m following the instructions step by step and have tried more than once, but creating a layer mask just cancels out my selection. Apparently “every single time” doesn’t work that way on my computer. When I CTRL+Z, my layer mask disappears, but my selection reappears. I’d love to know what I can do to fix this!

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    George Bouchoc

    Hi Aaron,
    I have been following your tutorials for a while now and the knowledge is great, I have learn a lot, thanks for your lessons. For the time I have been following you I never heard you talk about Camera Raw; how and when do you use it? Do you shoot your pro work in raw? What are the advantages and disadvantages of Camera Raw? your post production work; how do you save your work, psd, tiff, jpg or other format? What are the advantages of each. Hope I did not bore with some primitive questions but it will be very interesting in hearing your prespective on those issues.
    Thanks you for all the great tutorials and keep them coming. My best

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    ron hampton

    Hi Aaron great episode. Have been following you for a while but couldn’t catch up , because you speak too fast. I was so happy to see the text of each step. I hope you will continue with this format. Thanks

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    Roger Smith

    Hi Aaron,
    You never show the step, where you add Layer 2 (Approx. 6:55 into the video) it just appears on the screen with no explanation.
    Also at 7:13 into the video it should be Shift + Backspace (for PC’s) to fill with white.
    Enjoy your informative videos!

  • user image

    Loved this tutorial.. you are so funny. I actually have to do this with some pictures i took. Thanks Aaron, I sent the link to my son, he is also in photography..

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    Paul Osborne

    At 6:47 there was no layer 2, but at 6:57 it was there. How did you create this?
    When i have tried at the shift delete stage to fill the marque area I get a warning the is nothing selected.

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    Kerry Dawson

    Love your energy and humour Aaron. You have the best photoshop tutorials on the web for sure – don’t stop doing what you’re doing!

  • user image

    After I make the group layer, I click on the “make layer mask” button , and it creates an all black window and doesn’t show the white selection. Please help.

  • user image

    I got to the part where you have added the new layer, group and the mask after lassoing the teeth and refining the edge, but it is not isolating the teeth. It still allows me to paint all over the face. Can you please help me out? Thank You!