PSE Level 3

  Eclectic Academy
  Instructor: Sara Froehlich
Northlite Designs
Classes I teach
Photoshop Tutorials


Photoshop Elements Level 3
Photo Retouching and Restoration

This is an excerpt from one lesson of the next level in my series of Photoshop Elements courses: Photoshop Elements Retouching and Restoration. You can enroll in the Level 3 by going to the class description page here and clicking on the Enroll Now link at the bottom of the description. Completion of previous levels is a requirement to take this class. You may register for the other Elements classes as well by following this link:

Photoshop Elements Courses at Eclectic Academy

The classes progress as follows:

  • Photoshop Elements From the Ground Up
  • Photoshop Elements Level 1
  • Photoshop Elements Level 2
  • Photoshop Elements Level 3: Photo Retouching and Retouching

Twinkle in your eye gone?

Sometimes during correcting or because of lighting eyes don't have that natural twinkle that makes a photo come alive. Here's how to get it back. This is a detail of a retouched portrait of my daughter. Find a photo of your own that you want to put the twinkle back in the eyes.



Step 1. Open the photo in Elements and duplicate the layer by dragging it to the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Note: There always seems to be confusion in these classes if your layers are not exactly like mine. This time, please note that I started with a photo that had already been retouched, and the photo did not have a background layer, but a real layer, and is named Layer 1. Yours might be called background; and in that case, your duplicate layer will be called Background Copy. In this series of classes you may not always have the same thing as I do, because we will be working on different photos.

Duplicate layer


Below is a closeup of the eyes area, at about 50%. Since it was done for print it's too large to show here at 100%.

eyes before


Step 2. Make your view 100% size. When sharpening, it's often very important to be able to see the effects full size. On the duplicate layer, run Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask at about amount 88%, Radius 1, threshold 4. These settings are common ones shared with us by Scott Kelby in his book "Photoshop Elements for Digital Photographers". Click OK to sharpen whole photo.

Step 3. Cmd/ctrl+F two times to apply the unsharp mask twice more. The photo will be very over sharpened. In fact it will probably look pretty bad overall, but don't worry about that. You are on the duplicate layer.



Step 4. Hold the cmd/ctrl key and click one time on the new layer icon on the bottom of the layers palette. This will create a new blank layer right under the selected layer (the duplicate, sharpened layer).



Now click on the sharpened layer again (mine is layer 1 copy) in the layers palette to make it the active layer and press cmd/ctrl+G to group the layers. The visible sharpness disappears, but that's ok, that's what's supposed to happen. Basically we have "faked" a layer mask like Photoshop has.



Step 5. In the layers palette click on the blank layer to make it active (it should be in the middle). We will be painting on this layer.



Step 6. Press D to set the colors to default black and white, switch to the brush tool and choose a soft edged brush that is smaller than the person's eyes from the options bar. "Paint" over just the irises and pupils of the eyes to reveal the results of the eye sharpening, making the eyes sparkle. Make sure you are painting on the blank layer!

eyes after painting


Step 7. Merge all layers. See how easy that was?




Enroll in Photoshop Elements Restoration and Retouching here.

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©2003 Sara Froehlich All Rights Reserved

All images are copyrighted to and are the property of Sara Froehlich and may not be reproduced without , with the exception that you may print one copy of this tutorial for personal use.