Photoshop Tutorials
The Design Center, DT&G / Photoshop Department / Selective Coloring  

Ladies and Gentlemen, we welcome back Mr. Barry Huggins to once again share his Photoshop Retouching Portraits expertise in this issue of DTG!

Whitening Teeth & Eyes with Photoshop

Photoshop whitening teeth [Editor's Note: Here's another of those frequent questions we get in the Photoshop 911 emergency room. The Photoshop Retouching Cookbook for Digital Photographers, has tons of great techniques that can expand on that concept many times over! Thanks to O'Reilly Publishing we're able to bring the technique to you in its entirety! ]

Barry Huggins writes...

Whenever the need arises to make a natural element white or whiter, it's tempting to set the foreground color to white and reach for the airbrush. This works if applied with care, but it's easier to achieve a more realistic effect using other Photoshop tools. Here, a small amount of whitening applied to the model's teeth and eyes will lift the whole image.

Method 1: Dodge

The first technique successfully whitens your teeth without placing demands on your brushwork. As with most retouching tasks, it's best to work on a duplicate layer in case you make a mistake.


1 Create the new layer, select the Dodge tool, then go to the Tool Options bar and set the Range to Midtones. The default Exposure setting is 50%, which is a good starting point.

Whitening the teeth

Now run the Dodge tool over the teeth until they look whiter. The Dodge tool is very powerful, so more than three brush strokes could leave the teeth looking overdone. If that's the case, use Undo (Ctrl/Cmd +Z) to step back, then reduce the Exposure setting in the Tool Options before returning to work.

Whiten the eyes

2 Work over the eyes in the same way, zooming out often to get a look at the image as a whole. Beware, the close-up view can often be misleading.

NOTICEClick here for the results. Rollover the image to see before and after.

Method 2: Screen mode

If you're not comfortable with applying brush strokes for whitening, there are other options. In this technique, all you need to do by hand is to make a selection around the areas to be retouched. This technique works equally well with teeth or the whites of eyes.

1 Press Ctrl/Cmd + J to copy and paste the selection to a new layer, called "teeth." Change the new teeth layer's blend mode to Screen.

Lasso to select the teeth   Nice and white

2 This effect is too strong in itself, but by reducing the layer's opacity you have complete control over the degree of whitening.

NOTICEClick here for the results.

NOTICE The next example shows the layer opacity set to 60%.


Photoshop Retouching Cookbook for Digital Photographers with 113 Easy-to-Follow Recipes to Improve Your Photos and Create Special Effects By Barry Huggins ... tells you everything you need to know to adjust, correct, retouch, and manipulate your photographs-without making you first learn everything there is to know about Photoshop CS2. Sample Excerpt: Motion Blurring and Removing Skin Blemishes & Wrinkles (PDF Format)


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