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Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 44 of 58

How to Whiten Teeth


Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 44 of 58

How to Whiten Teeth


Lesson Info

How to Whiten Teeth

Let me show you a technique to whiten teeth while we're here and we're talking about teeth. This is a request I get a lot or I have a lot of students who will ask. It's just the natural progression of things. Let's talk about how we would whiten the teeth. The first step would be to select the teeth. And we have teeth on three layers, so let's go back to the background layer and we'll just make a selection across this whole area. Using again that quick selection tool, I'm just gonna click and drag to go across this whole area. We have a little too much including that lip there, so I will press and hold Alt or Option to paint away that area. This area I also want to paint away, but it's smaller so I'm gonna zoom in so I can see better, and I'm also gonna make my brush smaller. I feel like you have a little more control when you use a smaller brush. So, here I'll hold down Alt or Option and again just paint away the area here that's not her tooth. Same thing over here. And I'm not gonna ...

worry about being super perfect because we're gonna blur this selection anyway. So, we have a basic selection for the teeth. That's looking pretty good. What we're going to do to pull this off, is we're gonna make use of an adjustment layer. As we saw yesterday we did the gradient map adjustment layer in our castle in the clouds image. Here we're gonna make a different kind of adjustment layer, but I only want the adjustment to take place on the teeth. So that's why we selected them first. But before I make the adjustment layer, I need to refine this selection because if we do it right now, it's gonna look like we painted the selection on with like a really hard-edged brush and it's not gonna look natural at all. So what I want to do is soften the edge of this selection. So just like we did yesterday with the kitten when we were softening it to see the fur and everything, we're gonna come up to the Select menu and choose refine edge. And here we can see a preview of what this looks like right now, and obviously it looks pretty bad. But the good news is we don't need a perfect selection to pull off what we're trying to do. So, I'm gonna leave the radius where it is. All I really want in this case is the feathering option. So, I'm gonna drag that to the right and you see that it blurs the edge of the selection. It's not blurring the teeth, it's blurring the selection. And it's only blurring the edge. So what I want is just something soft, not too soft. If I drag it way over here we get way too soft. So we still want it to be like around the teeth, but what we want is just that it doesn't look jaggedy. So I'll just do that. I think even just like three or four pixels is enough for this image. When I'm happy with it, I'll go ahead and click okay. Nothing happens but the selection has been feathered and we just have to trust that because we just did it. We won't see the amps can't really show us that it's feathered. But we know that it is, so now we're gonna come over in our layers panel and I'm gonna come up to this adjustment layer icon. I know that the adjustment is gonna create a layer right above my current layer and I wanna make sure that I'm including the left and the right tooth that are up above. So, I'm gonna just click the left tooth so that when I add the adjustment layer it will take place above the left tooth, and that way it'll affect all of the teeth layers. Alright, so we'll click right here and we're gonna select Hue/Saturation and we want to leave the hue where it is, but I'm just gonna click Colorize. That's all I've done is click the Colorize button. And there's like a million ways to do this, so this is my own personal preference for this image. And I think this actually works well in a lot of cases. So it's flexible and you can tweak it as needed, but I think it works great right here. And the reason I like this, is a lot of times when people are whitening teeth, they'll try to whiten teeth by actually brightening them and I think that's not the best way to go because white teeth are not necessarily bright. In other words, the luminosity value is not different, but rather they look white because they have the absence of stains. So that's what we're doing here. We're basically recoloring the teeth. Now we have to be careful because a lot of times even someone with the whitest of white teeth, they may look yellowy in an image because of the lighting. So we just have to keep that in mind. I think that looks really good. I'm gonna go ahead and close that and when we zoom out, I think it looks good but I think it's a little too much. I think her teeth are sort of awkwardly white, so what I'm gonna do is just fade that affect down by lowering the opacity in the layer panel. So if I drag it to zero, then we can see there's no adjustment. But if I drag it to like 50%, I think that looks pretty good. And we can toggle the layer on and off to see the before and after. And if we need to adjust, like if we look at this if I zoom in, and we really want to be picky about it, I can see where it's not really fitting on the teeth well. Maybe we feathered it too much or not enough or whatever. Remember that adjustment layers always come with a built in mask. And in this case, the mask perfectly it fits the teeth because we selected them first. But if I wanna adjust it, I'll just grab that paintbrush tool and if I want to block more of the adjustment from showing up, I could paint with black like this. It's not what I want in this case, so I could switch to white and then I can paint it away. So I see some edges where, you know, maybe the adjustment selection wasn't quite perfect. I can go around and just, I can alter this but honestly, you don't have to be this careful for something like this. So we'll just zoom out and keep that opacity down in about the middle, and I think that looks pretty great. So if we again group all of this retouching that we've done, so I'm selecting all those layers, Command or Control G can toggle it on and off. And not only are her teeth whiter, but then we also did some orthodontal work and we didn't have to pay for braces, so I think that's pretty cool.

Class Description

We all have hundreds of images on our smartphones and cameras that we never do anything with. Adobe Photoshop Elements is the perfect tool for beginners to use for organizing and editing those images. Khara Plicanic will show you the practical ways to use this software by using step-by-step projects you can follow along with at home. You’ll get hands-on practice at making selections and working with layers, doing simple retouching, and adding text to your images.

You’ll also learn: 

• Basic adjustments to color and adding contrast to photos 
• Understanding resolution and image resizing and how to use the crop tool 
• Simple retouching and image compositing

No Photoshop Elements class would be complete without shedding light on file saving and organizing your images for a complete workflow! By the time you’re finished with this class, you’ll be creating beautiful images to share with your family and friends.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Understand How Elements Works
  3. Importing Images
  4. Workspace Basics: Organizer
  5. Workspace Basics: Editor
  6. Tonal Adjustments in Quick Fix
  7. Color Adjustments in Quick Fix
  8. Apply Black & White Filters
  9. Sharpen an Image
  10. Fix Red Eye & Pet Eye
  11. Straighten an Image in Quick Fix
  12. Explanation of Photoshop Elements
  13. Basic Cropping in Quick Fix
  14. Guided Edit Overview
  15. Guided Edit: Tilt Shift
  16. Ways to Save Files
  17. Layers & Simple Selections
  18. Combine Images with Layers
  19. How to Use Layer Styles
  20. Make Selections with Layers
  21. Make Selection with Lasso
  22. Compositing with Multiple Images
  23. Refine Edge Selection on Image
  24. Use Refine Edge on Images
  25. Create Gradient in Image
  26. Gradient Map Differences
  27. Options for Saving
  28. Brushes Overview
  29. Creatively Use Brushes
  30. How to Change Brush Settings
  31. Use Shape Tool with Brushes
  32. Work with Multiple Shape Layers
  33. Finish Image with Custom Shape Tool
  34. How to Load Brushes into Elements
  35. Add Layer Style to Image
  36. Clip Image to Shape & Use as Template
  37. Retouching Overview
  38. How to Use Content-Aware Fill
  39. How to Use Content-Aware Move Tool
  40. Spot Healing Brush on Blemishes
  41. Remove Frown Lines with Retouching
  42. How to Remove Tattoos
  43. Remove a Gap in Teeth
  44. How to Whiten Teeth
  45. Adjust Facial Features
  46. Working with Type Overview
  47. Match Type for Image
  48. How to Manipulate Type Layers
  49. Create Postcard with Type
  50. Add Type on a Path
  51. Organizing Images in Elements
  52. Add Keywords to Images
  53. Smart Tags Overview
  54. Using Albums in Elements
  55. Places Workspace Overview
  56. Use Event Tags on Images
  57. Timeline for Image Organization
  58. Recommended Workflow


a Creativelive Student

Just watching this class live. It's my first class with Khara; she is a wonderful teacher, moving at a steady speed but always being careful to let us know what she's doing in the moment. I would classify myself as intermediate in terms of PSE but I've learned lots of little things that will make further use even easier and more fun. I really appreciated her descriptions of the difference between PS and PSE and her encouragement in using Photoshop Elements and all that it can do.


I have only been able to watch portions of this class but every single part that I have watched has been technically clear and inspiring to me. Based on this experience and the thorough, 58 item list of lessons, I will surely be buying this class soon! Thank you Khara and Creativelive for making a class on this topic and making it be super!!

Ven S

Great course. You can tell she knows the programme inside out.