Did You Miss Focus Slightly? Try This Easy Eye-Replacement Technique

Sometimes, you miss focus slightly, but the expression and everything else are there, and the client ends up picking that portrait. What do you do in that case? Try replacing the eyes.

Coming to you from Kristina Sherk with Kelby One, this quick video shows an easy technique to use when a client selects a portrait in which you missed focus ever so slightly. Because the eyes are the most important part and what viewers focus on, you can often get away with just replacing them and leaving the rest. There are a few things to be aware of, though. First, this works best when you only missed focus slightly. If you try to replace the eyes when you badly missed focus, it's going to look strange. Second, make sure you use the eyes from when the subject is at a similar angle and with a similar expression so they match. Last, I recommend using a soft-edged brush around the edge of the masked-in area (try to transition it over skin) when masking in the new eyes. This will allow you to easily and convincingly mask in the new eyes and blend them in a seamless fashion. Check out the video above for the full rundown of the technique. 

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5 Comments

Daniel Haußmann's picture

Great tip, wondering why I never thought about it. Also very refreshing to see a tutorial video without 5min of intro and bla bla, but going straight to the point.

Is this possible to do in Affinity Photo?

Sam David's picture

Done it! Works well. You can also very carefully sharpen just the center of the colored area.

Aleksey Leonov's picture

Done it before it became a mainstream...

Rod Kestel's picture

Nice to have a vid from a woman presenter for a change, but what's that thing on her head?

I did a portrait once of a bloke who'd built a martian rover. I was happy with the best shot but he was looking just off-camera giving him a slightly spaced-out look. Appropriate perhaps given the subject but for the newspaper we wanted something better, so I spent ages editing his eyes.

Mind you, that was done a long while ago with ancient software called PhotoImpact.