Red Eye Removal

Nikon Capture NX has an easy-to-use red eye removal tool: RedEye Control Point. Most times it works well.  All you need to do is to place a red eye control point on each of the red eyes and set the proper radius. However, sometimes it leaves a green tint and other times it doesn’t work at all. In this tutorial, I will show you a red eye removal technique that is more flexible and always works (even on monkeys).

The problem

This photo of spider monkey was taken with a flash mounted directly on the camera using a telephoto zoom lens.  From the zoomed in portion of the photo, you can immediately see the red eye caused by the flash. Like this example, I found most “red” eyes are actually “orange” eyes. If you watch carefully, there are also some bright sparkles with purple fringes around them in the eye that is distracting. The technique I am going to show you here can also fix that problem.

Red eye and purple fringes

Ineffective Red Eye Control Point

First I tried the RedEye Control Point by clicking on the RedEye Control Point toolbar icon (as shown below) then clicking on the red eye in the photo.

RedEye Control Point

It obviously did not work as shown in the screen capture below. There is not much I can do with the RedEye Control Point in Capture NX besides radius adjustment.

RedEye control point

The method that works!

Step 1. Select Filter->Black and White Conversion… from menu. Simply accept the default settings by clicking on the OK button. The B/W conversion filter effectively removes all color from the entire photo, including the red (orange) in the eye.

Black and White Conversion

Step 2.  Click on the “+” icon next to the Selection Brush to select the plus mode selection brush. The Black and White effect totally disappears from the image.

Plus selection brush

Step 3. Right-click on the image to set the brush settings to Opacity 100%, hardness 0, and select a size that is roughly the size of the pupil. Zoom all the way in and paint over the red eye using the selection brush. As you paint, the B/W conversion effect will be re-applied to where you paint. If you accidentally paint outside of the eye, you can hold down the Alt key to temporally switch to the minus selection brush to paint it back. At the end,  if the result is satisfactory to you, you can stop right here. In my example, you will notice that the gray eye looks really strange. If this is the case, go on to the next step to fix it.

Gray eye

Step 4. Hold down the shift key and select Adjust->Light->Levels & Curves… from menu. This creates a linked adjustment that will be applied to the same selection created earlier for the B/W conversion using the selection brush. Darken the eye using either the curve adjustment (as shown) or by simply dragging the black point slider to the right until it is dark enough and looks right.

Levels and curves adjustment

This is the Edit List showing the linked adjustments:

Linked adjustment step

The final result

Spider Monkey
Posted in: Photo Editing on February 14th, 2008. Trackback URI
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