Skip to main content

Sharpen the Eye Details

Lesson 14 from: Advanced Portrait Retouching

Lisa Carney

Sharpen the Eye Details

Lesson 14 from: Advanced Portrait Retouching

Lisa Carney

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

14. Sharpen the Eye Details

Lesson Info

Sharpen the Eye Details

Next is sharpening. We did not cover sharpening, so let's talk about sharpening for eyes. Again, it's the same conversation as before, only something different. So sharpening, when you want to add a little bit of detail into the eye area, into the iris, this is really common to do. How you do it is, well heckfire, do you remember that Linear Light thing we did for our Frequency Separation, and chances are you're gonna use Frequency Separation, all you have to do is do a command, I mean pardon me, make a square selection around the eye, command + C to copy, go back, higher up, you want to put this in a separate folder, command + v to paste. There is your gray layer, and do you remmeber when we were doing Frequency Separation and I'd made the copy of the gray layer, and it looked like she, like ahhh, she was all out of the sun, like crazy looking, because Linear Light, makes things crunchy and contrasty, which is terrible on the skin and absolutely beautiful on the iris. So for eye sharp...

ening, copy the Frequency Separation gray, and mask it in. I'm gonna show you a different way of doing that as well, in case you are not a Frequency Separation user, I won't hold it against you. Paint it in. Again, please watch out for the hammock, because what looks good on the screen is not gonna look good on print, most people overdo this. Chances are you're gonna want to have it at minimum, 50% opacity, if not 25%, if not 25%, okay. As a general rule in my work it seems to want to live around 25%, depends on what you're doing, what your file size is, okay. Let's say you're not pleased with the idea of Frequency Separation, and that's all right. As I said, I will not hold it against you. An alternate way of doing the exact same thing is to merge everything you see, merge everything you see. I want to call attention to the fact, there are no color corrections on this file, there are no color corrections on this file, I always leave my color corrections on the top, whenever possible, and I have them turned off when I'm doing retouching. That's because the client may change the color, the usage might change the color, so that's why you don't even see it in this file. I'm gonna merge everything up on to a layer, command + option + shift + E on a Macintosh, otherwise it's under here somewhere. Merge all visible on to a top layer. I'm going to go to that $500 filter I mentioned before, the High Pass filter. It's under Filter, Other, High Pass. I always, it's almost without fail, 1.5. You can write that number down ans take it to the bank, 1.5. Not 10, not 20, not something crazy, 1.5. I don't know why that is but that's, in my life, that's what works well. Linear light, bada bing, bada boonm. We don't want it on the whole file, so we're gonna option click on the mask, option click on Add a Layer Mask, and that's gonna give you a black mask, and then like I always said, you always have a black mask, and you always paint it in and the reason you do that, is your brush is where you are looking and you won't accidentally have this crazy ass sharpening all around the edge that you didn't see. Always have a black mask, cool? All right, so let's go to the next stage. We are sharpening, we are sharpening fools. Often you will have to sharpen an eyebrow, happens all the time. I don't know what it is about eyebrows, they need a little bit of sharpening, and rather than painting them, I often like to try to do the eyebrow sharpen. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's the exact same process. It is that Linear Light, you either do the High Pass we just did or you take it from your Frequency Separation, it doesn't matter, it's the exact same thing, and equally it's the same thing, you're gonna be hand fisted on it. So rather than 100%, maybe 50, maybe 25, cool? Awesome possum. The ubiquitous overlay detail on the eyes. So this one, what I've done on this one, 'cause I think she had enough shadow, I'm gonna put a gray there. All I did was a crescent in the iris outline, because she already had enough of the shadow. You can also do this separate because you're not sure if the client wants that shadow, and it's a little bit of a pain in the butt to erase it well, 'cause sometimes, most times, when I do this, my brush is got a big spray to it, and than if you're trying to mask it, you end up getting a cut line, and it doesn't look too pretty. Eyelashes painted, If you like 'em, if you don't, use that brush that we love. Those brushes, their worth the $3.00, I assure you, absolutely worth the $3.00, and put the back fill on it, and there you're done.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Brunette RAW Practice Image
Blonde RAW Practice Image
Portrait Retouching Workbook
Lisa Carney PSD Practice Image
Layered Hair Color Change Example PSD File

Bonus Materials

Outline Cards

Ratings and Reviews


If you were like me and had no idea on where to start and feared that the editing process would be too destructive and would have to start all over again if the client didn't like your completed work - then this is the class for you. I watch this class often for review and to make sure that I maintain these good habits Lisa suggests to do. If you follow all of her helpful commentary on her how's and why's you will end up in a far better place when that time comes that you have to re-edit your edit. I cannot say enough great things about her work flow and how it not only enhanced my images to the result I was looking for but also decreased my editing time(bonus!!!!). I also on a whim sent her a email through her personal site and she replied with a massive helpful technique for enhancing freckles on a job I was working on. She is amazing! She is a true teacher who is there to show you how to use photoshop for you to find and gain your own editing style. Far too often i find myself in retouching classes that only demonstrate how to make your images look like who is teaching the class... Workflow and Style are very different, you can have the same workflow but your style is determined by your taste. Her workflow is solid and delivers time and time again. This class should be in everyone's dashboard hands down.

Kristine Pye

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and take us through your "delivery" process, I found that extremely helpful. I have purchased two of Lisa's classes immediately after the live stream during Photoshop Week 2017 and was very excited to stream another set of lectures from Seattle. I will be purchasing the last two courses of Lisa's within the next 24 hours as I did just over a month ago. I find her classes to be absolutely brimming over with useful information--everything from the technique, her process, what other professionals in her work are doing, and **why** she chooses the methods she does in retouching. She is relatable and genuine, and her knowledge of the program and how to maximize efficiency while "skipping the actions" really reinforces the educational part of her courses. There are "easy way outs", but she emphasizes that you should understand the ways in which any adjustment effect the entire photo. These courses have helped me to move forward in my education, helping me to realize that with enough practice and good habit formation--such as naming every single layer every time-- that it is not irrational for me to make an effort in building a portfolio and a Master's degree with little-to-no- previous experience with the software. I am very appreciate. I hope to see more from Lisa in the future, but I have plenty to practice with for now! Thanks again, Kristine Pye

Jeff Robinson

Lisa Carney is amazing! She has a depth of knowledge of Photoshop, retouching techniques, and compositing that she shares in a fast, but straightforward, easy to follow, step by step manner. No matter what your level of expertise, you'll find gems, shortcuts, and methods in her teaching that you can practice and put to use to make your work stronger, faster, and cleaner. And with the bonus materials she graciously provides, including workbooks with her detailed steps, practice files of the images she uses in class, and before and after comparisons, you'll be on your way to improving your skills immediately. She's an accomplished retoucher and gifted teacher. If you have the opportunity to take one of her classes, take advantage of it!

Student Work