Previously, I have showed an example of portrait retouching using Nikon Capture NX without going into the details. In this post, I am going to explain how to change eye color using Capture NX. I hope this becomes the start of a new series on portrait retouching using Nikon Capture NX.

Below is the photo I am going to use. The model has a pair of brown eyes. For demonstration purpose, I will change it to blue.

Original photo

We start by going to menu “Adjust->Color->LCH…” as shown below.

LCH color adjustment

In the settings dialog box, choose “Hue” from the pull down menu as shown. Alternatively, use Ctrl-3 shortcut key.

Select Hue

Click on Set Anchor Point icon (the icon that shows a circle with a cross). The mouse cursor will turn into an eyedropper. Sample the area in the eye that has the representative color of the eye.

Sample eye color

Once clicked, an anchor point will be added to the hue map.

Anchor point added

Drag the hue output slider to change the eye color. If the color you want is not accessible, change the hue map rotation angle below the hue map so more colors are available. You will likely notice the color of the entire image has changed. We will limit the change to the eyes later. In case you are curious, the anchor point does not do much in this case except providing a guide on a hue map to show you where you are and what colors are coming up as you move the slider.

Hue change

When you are satisfied with the eye color, click OK on the LCH settings dialog box. In the following photo, you can see the color is in a nice blue but the skin colors are totally off.

After LCH

To get the skin colors back, use the selection brush. Choose the plus selection brush from the tool bar. The LCH adjustment should disappear from the photo as soon as you click on the plus icon next to the selection brush.


Choose appropriate brush setting and start painting over the eyes. Unless you have a pen tablet, the pressure control is not used.

Brush option

As you paint, the blue color will come back. If you accidentally paint into the surrounding areas, hold down the Alt key to temporally switch to minus selection brush to paint it back.


After you finished painting, the Edit List should look similar to the following. “Partially Selected” means only the areas you painted are affected by the LCH adjustment step.


At this point, if the color looks good, you can stop here. If you want a different color, just go back to the hue map and move the hue output slider around to get the color your want. This time, it should only affect the eyes not the skin. If you want a more saturated color, hold down the shift key and add the color boost adjustment (Adjust->Color->Color Booster…). Holding down the shift key will add a so-called “linked” adjustment. The benefit? It uses the same selection you made earlier with the selection brush so you don’t have to repaint the eyes to limit its effect.

Color Booster

Here is the final Edit List. Notice how the two adjustments we made are all under #2 and there is a link icon next to item #2’s apply check box?

Final Edit List

That’s about it. This portrait retouching series will continue in near future with more tutorials. For now, enjoy reading this and other Capture NX tips and tutorials on DPTnT. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome.

Posted in: Photo Editing, Tutorials on January 6th, 2008. Trackback URI
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