eye example


Eyes are the Windows to the Soul and the Focal Point of your Portrait

    ●   Do a good Job on both of them!

Learn About:

Brush Tool Magnetic Lasso Tool Layer Visibility Elliptical Marquee Tool Filters Copy Merged

  •   This tutorial is last in a series designed to help complete the Photoshop Portrait Project:

1 - Line Art   2 - Face Color   3 - Face Shading   4 - Hair   5 - Highlights   6 - Eyes  

Other People's Work:

Here are some examples of work inspired by this tutorial.


Step #1: Open Your Project in PhotoShop ~

Get the Magnetic Lasso Tool

… and trace around your eye.

Step #2: Copy Merged ~

Go to: Edit > Copy Merged or hit the keyboard shortcut: Shift (⇧)+Cmd (⌘)+C

Step #3: Make a new Layer ~

Create a New Layer, call it eye-left or whatever, and paste what you copied: Cmd (⌘)+V

Step #4: Turn the Visibility Off ~

Turn OFF eye the visibility on ALL the layers except the eye layer you're working on.

Now your eye has it's own layer, but the background layers are still in tact.

Step #5: Erase ~

Get the Eraser Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (E) …

… and erase the inner parts of the eye.

Leave the outline.

Step #6: Iris Layer ~

Make another New Layer, call it Iris


… and drag the iris layer BELOW the eye-left layer.

Step #7: Iris ~

Get the Elliptical Marquee Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (m) …

… hold shift to keep the circle perfectly round and drag a circle a little larger than the outline.

Remember: Make the circle larger than the outline.




Look closely at someones eyes, you'll notice that the iris is partly cover up behind the eyelid. That's why your iris circle should be larger than the outline.


Step #7: Pick Your Eye Colors ~

Click on the color picker and select 2 colors for your eyes.

Select the Gradient Tool which is behind the Paint Bucket

… select your gradient colors in the Gradient Picker

… select Radial Gradient …

… and drag the cursor across the circle.

Step #8: Filters ~

Go to: Filter > Filter Gallery

… go to: Brush Strokes > Sprayed Strokes.



Also try: Brush Strokes > Spatter or Angled Strokes filter.



Try other Brush Stroke filters to achieve a unique look.





Step #9: Bevel and Emboss ~

With the iris layer selected, click on the below the Layers Pallete …

… select Bevel and Emboss

… raise the Size of the Bevel, and also change the Direction to make your eyes shine!

Step #10: Eraser Tool ~

Get the Eraser Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (E) …

… and erase the excess iris.

Make sure your iris is partially covered by your eyelids so it looks more natural.

Step #11: White ~

Make another New Layer and call it white


… drag the white layer below the others …

… and color the white part of your eye with the brush.

Step #12: Bevel and Emboss ~

With the white layer selected, click the and adjust the Bevel and Emboss

… your Layers look like this:

Step #13: Pupil ~

Make another New Layer and call it pupil and put if on top …


… and make a smaller circle inside the eye and fill it with black.

Step #14: The Right Eye ~

Now do the other eye too !

Last Step: Save and Attach ~

Go to: File > Save as … and save your work as - FIRST_NAME_LAST_NAME_PROJECT_NAME.psd

Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects like this:


  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.


  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.