Softening Dark Circles Under the Eyes: Recipe 7 - The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers

by Derrick Story

This excerpt is from The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers . Many photographers, including the pros, feel overwhelmed by all the editing options Photoshop provides. The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers not only shows you which tools you'll need most often and how to use them, the book walks you though an enjoyable and efficient workflow that makes it easy to process your images using new user-friendly features that come with Photoshop CS4.

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Most subjects will have some darkening under the eyes. Generally speaking, I think it looks unnatural to remove this characteristic completely. But you can do your subject a great service by softening those "bags under the eyes."

  1. Create a duplicate of the background layer (Layer➝Duplicate Layer or use the keyboard shortcut ⌘-J/Ctrl-J).
  2. Click the Patch tool in the Tools panel. It's in the same cluster as the Spot Healing brush, Healing brush, and Red Eye tool. Check the Control panel to ensure the source radio button is selected.


Select the Patch tool.

  1. Carefully draw a selection circle around the darkened area. Then drag the selection to an area of skin that has the tonality you want.


Select the area you want to adjust.

  1. At this point, the correction will look unnatural. But you can bring some reality back to the situation by selecting the Fade command (Edit➝Fade Patch Selection). Move the slider so that it sits between 40 percent and 60 percent to restore some of the original tonality.


Click and drag to an area that will serve as the source
for the adjustment.

  1. Once you're pleased with the correction, press ⌘-D (Ctrl-D) to deselect the area.

This technique doesn't completely remove dark circles under the eyes, but it does soften them dramatically. You can also use this recipe to correct hot areas on the forehead, and a variety of other imperfections.

Tip: Turn off Marching Ants to View Your Correction

If you want to see how your correction looks without the marching ants but without getting rid of your selection, press ⌘-H (Ctrl-H) to hide the selection outline. Press the keystroke again to bring it back.

If you enjoyed this excerpt, buy a copy of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers