When working in Adobe Photoshop, you’ll quickly learn that there are dozens of methods for accomplishing the same thing. It doesn’t take much to set a goal and to work with the most obvious tool for accomplishing that goal. As you become more advanced with the application though, you’ll find that you’re able to use additional or alternative tools to give you the same result, but that will offer different flexibilities later on. Examples of such tool may be the Clone Stamp Tool, Spot Healing Brush Tool, Healing Brush Tool and the Patch Tool. Let’s just say that there’s more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to working with these tools.
In today’s post, I’m going to walk through the process of using two different tools to accomplish the same goal in Photoshop. I’ll use a sample photograph of a woman who has fairly dark shadows under her eyes. To lighten the shadows, I’ll first use the Clone Stamp Tool, along with some specific settings and after that, I’ll use the Healing Brush Tool to do the same thing. I’ll set that tool as well but then after I’m finished, I’ll make one final adjustment that will bring everything together.
The Sample Photo
Okay, as you can see in the photo below, there certainly are shadows under the woman’s eyes. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because we all experience shadows, but when it comes to photo retouching, this area is generally corrected. Take a look.
Using the Clone Stamp Tool
Both methods for dealing with this issue are relatively simple. Neither takes much time, but both require explanation. I’ll begin with the Clone Stamp Tool.
To activate this tool, I’ll head over to the left vertical toolbar and click the tool.
Next, I’ll resize the tool by pressing the [ and ] (bracket) keys on my keyboard. I want the size of the brush to be about the height of the shadows. In this case, I’d say that’s around a half inch. I’ll also keep a soft edge.
After that, I’ll move up to the options bar and set the Opacity to 10% and keep the Aligned box checked. Finally, I’ll make sure All Layers is selected in the Sample drop-down box. Sampling all layers means that even if I place a blank layer above the background photo layer (which I’ll do), Photoshop will still recognize that background layer, even if the blank layer is the active one.
Finally, I’ll head over to the Layers panel and I’ll create a new blank layer that sits above the background layer.
Making sure the blank layer is active by clicking on it, I’ll then take a sample of the woman’s cheek by holding down the Alt key on my keyboard and clicking once with my mouse. Basically, when doing this, I’ll be looking for a sample area that I would like to see under the eyes. I’ll sample the clearest and brightest area of her cheek that isn’t too close to any edge.
Next, I’ll paint the shadows with the brush. As I do this, I’ll find that I’m really not making much of a difference. It will take many clicks and drags with the mouse to accumulate any amount of overlay. This is intended because the low Opacity value in the options bar offers a chance for any change to accumulate slowly. I’ll follow these instructions for both sides. After a few seconds of painting, here’s my result.
Notice how I didn’t completely remove any shadow or wrinkle? The goal is to keep things looking as natural as possible. If I had continued on and removed everything, the result would have looked very odd.
Using the Healing Brush Tool
This method is slightly different than the last. To start off, I’ll delete the blank layer I just created and worked with and will replace it with another blank layer. Then, I’ll head over to the left vertical toolbar and I’ll select the Healing Brush Tool.
Next, I’ll revisit the options bar up top and make sure some values are set correctly. In this options bar, I want Mode to be set to Normal, Source set to Sampled, the Aligned box checked and the Sample drop-down set to All Layers. After this, I’m going to follow the same exact steps I laid out above. The only difference will be that instead of applying 10% of the brush strength, I’ll be applying 100%. Things will look very strange in the beginning.
I’ll go ahead and do this now. Here’s the result.
If we look at the above result, I think we can all agree that the shadows have been completely removed, but that the outcome looks a little strange. With the previous method, I applied the correction slowly and over many brush strokes in an effort to build it up. Here, I applied it all at once, which gave me quite the unnatural looking result. In order to fix this and make the shadows look much more natural, I’ll go back into the Layers panel and I’ll reduce the Opacity value to something around 75%.
By doing that, I’ll, in essence, be blending the unnatural looking result with the original shot. I’ll get this result.
This is arguably a much better outcome. Let’s take a look at the entire image.
Wow, that is so much better looking. I hope you agree.
I hope I clearly explained how to go about correcting under-eye shadows by using the Clone Stamp Tool and the Healing Brush Tool in Adobe Photoshop. If you have any concerns or questions regarding this post, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!