Photoshop Friday: Teeth Whitening in 10 seconds (#photoshopfriday)

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: June 11, 2010

Category: General

Regular readers will know that for the past few weeks, every Friday I’ve been posting a variety of recommendations under the heading of ‘Follow Friday’ or #FF for the Twitter users amongst you. The weekly posts have included such things as recommended people to follow on Twitter, Podcasts to follow on iTunes, YouTube Channels and so on…

Twitter generally uses the hashtag symbol (#) to ‘tag’ topics/subjects so I thought I’d start my own this week and I’m calling it ‘Photoshop Friday’ or rather #photoshopfriday.

The idea is that (time permitting) every Friday I will post a #photoshopfriday containing a quick and simple Photoshop tip or technique. So as it’s Friday let’s kick things off with a technique…

Teeth Whitening in 10 Seconds:
In all the time I’ve been using Photoshop I’ve seen and used more techniques for whitening teeth than I care to remember. Techniques using the Quick Mask to first select the teeth, feathering selections, using the pen tool and a number of different adjustment layers such a Curves, Levels, Hue & Saturation and so it goes on…

Now granted they all ‘did the job’ but to be honest, although a necessary part of the editing workflow, whitening teeth has never really excited me so I’ve always been looking for a ‘down and dirty’ way to do it and do it quickly; so, here’s a technique that I now use to do just that:

Step 1:
Using the ‘Lasso’ tool make a rough selection of the area containing the teeth. (Don’t concern yourself with being accurate or going over lips, gums etc…)

Step 2:
Using a Hue & Saturation Adjustment, select the ‘Yellows’ and then move the ‘Lightness’ slider to the right until you’re happy with how white and how bright the teeth become.

…and that’s all there is to it.

Of course for a little more control and flexibility, before you make any adjustments duplicate the layer you’re working on by going to the LAYER Menu at the top of the screen and then choosing NEW…LAYER VIA COPY or if you like keyboard shortcuts CMD or CTRL + J will do the same. Once you have done this you’ll be able to use the Opacity slider on the layer you’ve made the adjustements (teeth whitening) to fine tune how white and bright you want the teeth to be.

* Kudos again goes to Calvin Hollywood from whom I learned this gem of a technique saving me literally hours of editing time; Calvin you’re the man! 🙂

Have a great weekend whatever you’re up to and I’ll catch you next week.
Enjoy 🙂

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  1. Paul Pratt

    Hi Glyn

    I think I saw a video of this recently by Calvin Hollywood? But of course couldn’t find it when I needed to reference it! Now I have this saved in my bookmarks so I won’t be in that situation again! Thanks for constantly giving so much info to the community.


    • Glyn

      @Paul…Hey mate, glad you like it and yeah Kudos to Mr Hollywood 🙂

      I was using a similar technique that I saw Eddie Tapp teach at Photoshop World a while back that made use of a single curves adjustment layer but using Hue & Saturation as Calvin suggests is the clincher 🙂

      Have a great weekend.

  2. DaveT

    Hi Glyn,

    Great idea, should be great for attracting more followers to your excellnt blog.

    Given the subject matter wouldn’t ‘quick and clean’ be better than ‘Down and dirty 😉

    I look forward to more of these

    • Glyn

      @Dave…Cheers Buddy, glad you like it.

      Have a great weekend mate.

  3. Keith Hammond

    Must be so many ways to do the same things in PS, this is so damn quick and easy

    • Glyn

      @Keith…That’s what I love about Photoshop; not really a case of doing anything wrong, it’s just that things can be done differently 🙂
      Cheers, Glyn

  4. David Kelly

    Nice quick tip Glyn. Thanks for sharing.

    • Glyn

      @David…Thanks David; hope it comes in useful 🙂

  5. Noel

    This is a good one Glyn, quick and easy. I like that,

    thanks for sharing


    • Glyn

      @Noel…Quick and easy…just how I like them 🙂

  6. kelley

    Glyn, Perfect! (as always) Can’t wait to try this one out.

    • Glyn

      @Kelley…Thanks for that; glad you like the look of it 🙂

  7. Andrew Hart

    So quick and it works! Here’s what I used to do:

    1. Select eye-dropper tool and click part of the tooth to set the foreground colour to the tooth colour
    2. Create a new blank layer
    3. Choose; Edit>Fill>Foreground colour (at 100% opacity)
    4. Choose Image>Adjust>Invert to invert the colour filled layer
    5. Immediately go to Edit>Fade Invert and change blend mode to colour (leave 100% opacity)
    6. Add a black layer mask to the colour filled layer
    7. Change blend mode to softlight
    8. Paint with white on the mask to reveal the colour on the teeth and finally…
    9. Reduce the layer’s opacity to taste.

    Your way is much faster! Many Thanks Glynn.

    • Glyn

      @Andrew…Glad you like the technique which hopefully will save you a bit of time. Thanks for posting your technique too; it’s always interesting to see how others go about doing things in Photoshop; no wrong ways…just different ways 🙂

  8. Allentown Dentist

    I found your blog very nice and informative. Thanks for sharing with us.

  9. Alex Racanelli

    Sweet tip Glyn and Calvin…thanks for sharing…would it work for the eyes as well?…think i’ll try it…:)



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