A while back, I wrote a post about whitening and brightening teeth in Adobe Photoshop. In that post, I covered everything someone may want to know about the topic of making teeth look better. The only issue with what I wrote was that I found the method of selecting the teeth sort of cumbersome. I asked myself, is it really necessary to select each of the teeth? Is there a better, easier and faster way? After thinking about it for a while, I decided that there is.
In today’s post, I’m going to briefly talk about another selection method for accomplishing the same exact goal as last time, which is whitening teeth. Everything I already wrote after the selection process will remain the same. The only thing that will differ is the beginning part.
The Old Way vs. the New Way
In my previous post, I used the Quick Selection Tool to select the teeth. I zoomed in pretty close and traced the edges of each and every tooth in the subject’s mouth. While it wasn’t the worst thing in the world to have to do this, I did find it kind of annoying that I would have to spend so much time on selecting something for such a simple purpose. I also realized that all I was selecting the teeth for was to remove any yellow that may be mixed with the white.
I got thinking about that yellow and realized that if I were to use the, say, Lasso Tool to make the selection, I wouldn’t have to be as careful with what I was doing. I could be much more liberal with what I traced. I could even include some of the gums and lips, if need be. Since there’s no noticeable yellow in the those two areas that would be removed, they would remain unaffected. Because of this epiphany, I’ve updated my method. Now, I use the Lasso Tool for tasks like this.
Today, I’ll be using a very realistic photograph of two girls. One of the girls is smiling and showing her teeth, which is rather helpful. There’s also a very light yellowish overlay that extends over the teeth themselves. It’s this overlay I’d like to remove. I’ll also show you how to go about brightening the smile by using the same Lasso Tool in conjunction with the adjustment layer mask.
Selecting the Smile
Okay, let’s get going. To select the smile, I’ll head over to the left vertical toolbar and activate the Lasso Tool.
After that, I’ll zoom into the photo by pressing Ctrl++ on my keyboard a few times. Then, I’ll use the Lasso Tool to trace around the teeth as closely to them as I can.
Once I’m happy with the selection, I’ll go ahead and click on the Hue/Saturation icon in the Adjustments panel. This will add a new layer to the Layers panel as well as open up the Properties panel for this adjustment.
Whitening the Teeth
All I have to do now is remove the yellow from the teeth. To accomplish this, I’ll choose Yellows from the color selection drop-down in the Properties panel.
Then, I’ll push the Saturation slider all the way to the left to remove all of the yellow color. By selecting Yellows from the drop-down, I’m limiting what colors will be affected by this particular slider movement. It’s an ingenious method for manipulating color in Photoshop.
At this point, I can see that the teeth are indeed whiter. I can also see that there was some inadvertent saturation removed from one of the lips. That small part is now gray. Since adjustment layers work based off of masks, I can easily fix this. To do so, I’ll head back over to the left vertical toolbar and activate the Brush Tool. I’ll make sure Black is selected in the color picker and I’ll size my brush so it’s about the size of a penny. Then, I’ll add some softness to the edge of it as well.
When I’m ready to fix the lip area, I’ll make sure the mask thumbnail in the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer is selected and then I’ll simply paint over the affected area. I can actually follow these steps for any area that I find unappealing. This is the beauty of working with adjustment layers and masks.
To see what the mask looks like, I’ll hold down the Alt key on my keyboard and click once on the mask thumbnail in the Layers panel. This will create a visual overlay.
To remove the overlay, I can press and hold Alt again and then click the thumbnail once more. This is just a cool way to see if you’re in the right track when working with masks.
Brightening the Teeth
The problem with removing saturation from teeth without doing any brightening is that the teeth end up looking somewhat gray. To counter this, we can brighten them. Doing this is just as easy as removing the yellow. The only issue I’m facing right now is that my selection is gone. To bring it back, I’ll press and hold the Ctrl key on my keyboard and then I’ll click once on the mask again. This makes the selection reappear. I should see the marching ants.
Now, I can go back up to the Adjustments panel and click on the Brightness/Contrast icon. When the Properties panel for this adjustment appears, I can push the Brightness slider ever so slightly to the right to add just a hint of brightness. I have to be very careful here because it’s extremely easy to go too far. In this case, I barely moved the slider at all.
After doing this, I ended up with this result.
And this is the final image.
Again, if there were any areas that I needed to adjust (correct), I could simply click on this layer’s mask thumbnail and brush away those areas with the Brush Tool. It’s all fairly straightforward.
I hope I clearly explained how to whiten and brighten a smile in Adobe Photoshop with the Lasso Tool. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please let me know in the comment section down below. Thanks for reading!