Removing Red Eye in Photoshop

 Image of red eye

There are myriad ways to remove red eye from a photograph.

First, see how to use the Red Eye tool in Photoshop:

While this technique works, I tend to use methods other than the Red Eye tool because a) it can result in overkill, and b) the tool actually changes existing pixels– and I almost always use nondestructive editing in Photoshop. On the rare occasions that I use the Red Eye tool, I first select the pupils and copy them to a new layer before using the tool.

If this tool is unsatisfactory–as in the case of animals–here are some other ways to remove red eye:

  • You can use the regular Brush tool with a Color blend mode. Make sure that the foreground/background colors are set to the default black/white. (To set default with a keyboard shortcut, press the D key.)
  • To keep it nondestructive, I would advise a modified approach to the same Blend Mode process above: add a new layer and set its blend mode to Color, then use the brush in normal mode on the new layer. Again, foreground/background colors must be set to default.
  • You can use the Color Replacement tool with a black foreground.  This tool is in the Brush tool family; press and hold Brush to activate it. Note that the higher Tolerance settings in the Options panel will result in stronger effects.

What about animals? The Photoshop Red Eye tool responds to only the color of reflections in human eyes–so that particular tool won’t work on animals. Following is a terrific article that includes animals plus a couple of other methods–including the Sponge tool, which is one of my favorites.


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