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I had a wonderful reader email me, wanting some help in getting her subject's eyes to POP while using Elements. I previously did a tutorial on one way to do this using full version, but I think it's worth it to do a quick tutorial on one way to do this using Elements. I know there are a lot of Elements users out there! Hi Y'all!!
Okay, let's get to work popping some eyes! (Um...that sounds bad)
1. Open your image in Elements. It works best if your image is a close-up portrait with your subject facing the camera.
2. Create a duplicate layer of your image by clicking on "Layer>Duplicate Layer" then click "OK" so that you now have a copy of your original image on top of your background layer in the layer's palette. Now, do that again, so you have 2 duplicate layers on top of the background layer. You can rename the middle layer "Eye Pop" if you'd like (double click on the name to rename it)
3. Then, click on the little eye ball to the left of the top duplicate layer because you want to hide it. Now, click once on the middle duplicate background layer (Eye Pop) in the layers palette to activate it. You want to make the changes to this layer. We'll leave the original background layer alone. Plus, we'll make that top layer visible again, later ;)
4. We are going play around with the Levels of the background layer to brighten the entire image. So, open Levels by clicking on "Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Levels".
5. A little screen will pop up. Here you will want to drag the black arrow slightly to the RIGHT (say, to about a value of '10' or so), then drag the grey and white arrows to the LEFT slightly. Your entire photo will lighten up, but what you want to pay attention to is the eyes. Click OK.
6. Now we want to sharpen the background layer. Click on "Enhance>Unsharp Mask" and set the amounts to "100%, Radius: 2, and Threshold: 1" Click OK
7. Finally, we want to boost the saturation just a bit, so click on "Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Hue/Saturation" and set the amounts to: "Saturation: +20" Click OK
8. Now is the time to click back on the little eyeball to the left of the top duplicate layer to reveal it again. It will look like all of those changes you made disappeared...no worries! That is what we want.
9. Select the "eraser" tool from your tools palette to the left of the screen. At the top, choose a soft round brush, and set your opacity to about 40% or so.
10. Now, carefully erase over the eyeballs of your subject and you should see them begin to "pop"! MAKE SURE your TOP layer is selected in the layers palette! You don't want to be erasing the Eye Pop layer! If the effect is too much, click once on the middle duplicate layer (Eye Pop) and decrease the opacity a bit. Fiddle with it until you are happy with the effect. When you like how it looks - flatten and save!
There you go! Eye pop in 10 steps. This is just one method of many you could use to do this. Be brave and play around with your settings - you might find a method that you LOVE and works for you!