[Video] Basic Eye Enhancements in GIMP

When taking portraits, one thing that can make or break a photograph is the model’s eyes. In this tutorial, I will show you how you can quickly add a little pop to your model’s eyes.

Concept behind the edits:

With the Free Select Tool we are capable of selecting a closed circuit around any part of the image. This lets us isolate any edits to that particular part of the image. That’s the reason behind selecting around the eye, because we want to isolate the Curves tool’s changes to only the selection.

After we adjust the brightness and color of the eye, we add more depth by making the outer edges darker than the edge near the pupil. For this we use the Dodge and Burn tools. The Dodge tool lightens the image and we apply it lightly, about 19% opacity, on the iris around the perimeter of the pupil. The Burn tool darkens the image. This tool is also applied lightly around the outside of the iris. The result is an eye that is a lot more interesting than before. The tone difference adds to the depth of the eye and the portrait as a whole.

NOTE: The Dodge and Burn tools are destructive, this means that the you are degrading the image when you use it. The only way to undo the these edits is by undoing (Ctr+Z) so be careful not to overdo it. There are other methods that are not destructive that you can use, such as using blend modes and layer masks. More information about this will be added in the future.

Once the color of the eyes are perfect, we are left with one last task: Sharpen! You should sharpen after you have finished editing the image. Take care of any other edits, such as removing blemishes, adjusting the white balance, or adjusting the exposure before sharpening the image.

To sharpen we used the Unsharp Mask filter. I left the default settings for the tutorial but you can adjust it to your liking. I also used a layer mask to have control over the location of the sharpening and the amount.

That’s pretty much it. It’s a very simple and quick thing you can do to improve your portraits.

This is my first video tutorial. If you enjoyed it please subscribe to the Studio1026 channel, it lets me know I’m not publishing into a black hole. 😉


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Laurie on November 17, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Yes, I liked it! Very helpful. Keep them coming.


  2. I found it very helpful. But I have noticed that you have not posted since Oct! Very quick to discontinue your blog posts. Please continue!


    • Posted by joelmontes on December 29, 2010 at 1:20 pm

      New tutorials will appear soon. I have been bogged down with a few things since October, but I already have a few tutorials thought out and will be online soon.


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