Adding Fake Catch-Lights in Eyes using Photoshop

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: November 11, 2018

Category: Retouching

Thought I’d kick the week off with a really simple but effective technique in Photoshop for creating catch-lights and adding them into your portraits pictures; should you even feel the need to give the eyes a bit of a lift

  • With a portrait open in Photoshop, zoom in on the face and add a new blank layer to the top of the layer stack. Name this layer eye-left.

The Photoshop Toolbox

  • Grab the Elliptical Marquee Tool from the Toolbar and while holding down the Shift Key, click and drag out an ellipse around the eye on the left side of the image (A)
  • Once you have drawn an ellipse, hold down the Alt (PC) or Option (Mac) key and draw out another ellipse on the top of the previous ellipse, but leave out an area in the lower portion. This removes the top area of the selection (B)

The Photoshop Workbook

  • Go to Edit > Fill, choose choose White from the Contents menu, and click OK. This fills the selection with white. Remove the selection by going to Select > Deselect
  • Now we need to blur this white catch light by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Dial in a Radius of around 2 Pixels and click OK

The Photoshop Toolbox

  • To blend the catch light into the eye, change the blend mode of the eye-left layer to Overlay, just like we did with the Never-Ending Lighting Rig in chapter 4. Use Opacity to dial in the strength of the effect according to your preference. In this case, I used an Opacity of 70%
  • Create a duplicate of the eye-left layer by pressing Ctrl + J (PC) or Command + J (Mac) and rename this layer eye-right (Figure 5.36). Use the Move Tool (V) to drag the catch light across the image and position it over the right eye.
  • With the eye-right layer highlighted in the layers panel, hold down the Shift key and click on the layer beneath (eye-left) so that both layers highlighted. Then go to Layer > New > Group from Layers, name the group eyes, and click OK. Add a layer mask to this group by clicking on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

The Photoshop Toolbox

  • With a normal round, soft-edged brush and a black foreground color, paint over any areas of the catch light that you don’t want to appear in the final image. That’s it!

The Photoshop Toolbox

At this stage you’re pretty much done; all you need to do now is to dial in the strength of the effect using the Opacity Slider for the Group.


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