How To Open Eyes In Photoshop

Have you ever gotten the best, most perfect, beautiful shot, but the eyes were closed? It is always disheartening and sad, but Photoshop allows you to fix this. 

To open the eyes in Photoshop, you would have to choose two similar angled images, drag them on top of each other, create a mask, and then paint over the eyes to reveal the effect and open the eyes. You can make some adjustments to make it look more realistic. 

For a detailed guide, continue reading the article. 

When Is The Opening Eyes Technique Used In Photoshop?

This technique is used in Photoshop when you need to open up a subject’s eyes in a portrait. It is typically done when the eyes of the subject are closed, when the eyelids are too heavy and need to be brightened, or when the eyes are not open wide enough. 

A prerequisite for using this technique is to have multiple pictures of the same subject from the same angle. This makes it easier to adjust the eyes and open them in the picture that needs it. 

You may be wondering why someone would use an image with the eyes closed when there is a similar picture with the eyes open. This is because sometimes the shadows, highlights, and frames vary, and the picture with closed eyes might be a better quality photo than the rest. 

Photoshop Elements also allows users to open their eyes using a reference image. Watch this video: 

Choose Your Pictures

Once you have a picture with the eyes closed that you think is the perfect one to use, go through your entire collection of portraits taken from the same angle. Make sure that the second image you choose is from the point of view and is as similar to the first picture as possible. 

This is easier to do if you take a lot of pictures or use the burst option in your camera to take pictures. 

Drag Images To One Canvas

Open both the images you have chosen in Photoshop; they will open in separate tabs. Drag the image with open eyes and drop it on the canvas of the image with closed eyes. To do so:

  1. Click on the image with open eyes and drag your cursor toward the tab of the image with closed eyes. 
  2. The window will change.
  3. Now drop the image in the Layers panel and release the mouse. 
  4. The image with open eyes should be placed on top of the image with closed eyes.
  5. Toggle the eye button for the new layer to look for errors in the alignment of the pictures and to ensure that the eye area matches.

Align The Two Layers

To get perfect eye coordination, the two layers need to be aligned. As much as you try to do it manually, it may take work. To do so, use Photoshop’s tool:

  1. Select the two layers. 
  2. In the control menu, go to Edit and select the Auto-Align Layers option.
  3. In the window that opens, choose Auto, and click OK.
  4. The two layers will be perfectly placed on each other.

Create A Mask

To create a mask on the first layer: 

  1. Turn on both layers. 
  2. Hold the Alt or Option keys and look for the icon that creates a mask in the Layers panel.
  3. A mask will be created next to Layer 1. 

Use The Brush Tool To Open The Eye

Now we will erase the mask to reveal the effect that we want. For this, we will use the brush tool to paint over the eyes. To do so:

  1. Select the mask and then select the brush tool.
  2. In the colors tool, make sure the color is white. 
  3. Set the brush flow to 20.
  4. Zoom into the image as much as you can on the eyes.
  5. Slowly begin painting over the eyes.

Make The Final Adjustments

If the eyes seem slightly different and the picture needs to come together better, try the following tips.

  1. Paint over the eyebrows as well when you are painting the eyes. 
  2. While still in the previous step, hit Ctrl + T or Command + T, then press the down arrow key to move the eyes lower or the up arrow key to move the eyes upwards. Hit Enter when you are done. 


Voila! All images you thought should be deleted are now saved through an easy technique. It takes some trial and error to get used to the adjustments and the many steps, but it becomes easier once you get the hang of it. Do not give up!