Photos From Hell #4: Animal Flash Photo Eyes

We're crazy about our hyper Welsh Terrier, Pepper, and wanted to get a picture of her sitting still (for once). So my husband attracted her attention for a pose. This strategy worked, but I didn't notice until after taking the picture that Pepper was sitting on her favorite plastic alligator toy, suggesting what looks like a trans-species birthing process. The glassy blank eyes from the flash didn't help the photo much either.

unfortunate gator shot

(Photo shown at 25% actual size)

The first thing I did was to choose Effect, Camera Lens, Remove Red Eye. Since animal eyes don't turn red like ours do in flash photos, it's nice to be able to pick a color (in this case, off white) to be corrected and a correction color. Although the Ideal Eye Color in the screen shot looks like black, it is actually a very dark brown. I avoid using black because it often results in a flat, dull look like a button eye.

Remove Red Eye dialog box 

I had to experiment quite a bit with the Eye size, Red tolerance and Effect level. If the Eye size was even as large as 5, it created a "black eye" effect. I had to make the Red (or light gray) tolerance very high, and lower the Effect level (which darkens) to get the best result. Even with this improvement there is a kind of  "bull's eye" effect (arrow) that I don't like.

bull's eye effect

To soften that hard circle around the pupil, I zoomed in and used the Blur Retouch tool, Slight Blur preset, with a very small (5) round brush, to soften the lines a bit. This left just enough light color at the bottom of the eye to suggest a highlight.

blur hard lines 

Then I used the Clone Paintbrush tool, varying the brush size between 10 and 20, to clone parts of the couch to cover up the alligator under Pepper's behind. It's hard to do this without getting a "repeat" effect with a print like this one. To get rid of some of the repeaters, I cloned some of her fur and extended it a bit outward to cover the places where patterning from the couch was too obvious. 

And here's the finished photo. It's not as funny as the original, but I think it looks better.

finished photo

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