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The Red Eye Removal Tool

Results in a fraction of the time...

Red Eye Removal Tool The red eye removal tool is one of the simplest tools imaginable. Point ... Click. That's about the extent of it!

The tool does a pretty good job too, but as with any tool there's a trade off between ease of use and effectiveness. Sometimes the red eye removal doesn't go quite to plan, but you can reduce the chance of this with a few simple tips.

Another temptation with this tool is to skip over the options, but learning to use these can be well worth it. If all else fails though, it's useful to know another method as well ... and guess what? You'll find one right here! :)

The Basics

The basic use of the red eye removal tool is a piece of cake. Load an image with red eye, and select the tool. Then click once in the pupil of each eye, and the red eye should be fixed. Shown below is an image before and after this simple point and click procedure.

Red Eye Removal Example

The red eye has completely disappeared, leaving behind nice black pupils. In some images it's not just the pupils, the entire eye appears red, but the tool usually does quite a good job on these images too. In my experience about 50-70% of images can be corrected just using this simple method.

Click vs. Drag

In some images, simply clicking on the pupils does not properly correct the image. A common example of this is when the eyes are not directly facing the camera, or are at an odd angle.

In all the examples I've seen subjects are conveniently depicted head-on, with nothing obscuring the eyes, (such as hair), and a very standard red eye problem. Of course this is not always the case.

Show below is one example of what can happen if the tool misinterprets the image and 'misses' the eye.

Red Eye Removal Error

As you can see the desired effect has certainly not been achieved, the subject now just has a black eye as well as red eye!

If this happens with your image, try clicking and dragging around the pupil of the eye with the tool. This tells Photoshop Elements exactly where you want it to do its job. The only caution I give is sometimes when dragged, the tool leaves a little red tinge still in the eye, which brings me to my next point ... Repeat!


Don't be scared to click or drag a second time on the same pupil. Sometimes a little red eye is left after the tools first usage. You can always undo the operation if you don't like the result, so experiment! I sometimes apply the tool, then undo and try again several times before I keep the result. I also sometimes use the tool two or three times 'over the top' of the original usage.


I seem to give this advice over and over again, but it really is the truth! Experiment until you find the effect you like. With this tool in particular, every image is different, so try things out with each individual image to find the best result for that situation.

Some images will be simple, others complex, but you may even find new ideas from experimentation. I never intended for this rather artistic interpretation of the original image to emerge, it was an accident! Some of the best things in life are accidents. ;)

Artistic Red Eye Removal

So have fun and explore with this tool. But if all else fails...

Play with the Options

Again this works best while experimenting, but I will explain briefly what the options do. The 'Pupil Size' I usually just leave at the default (50%). It seems to have little effect on the overall result, although if you are working with someone with particularly large pupils, you can raise the value a little.

The 'Darken Amount' is a little more useful. This especially applies if you are using the tool multiple times on the same eye, or are dragging it instead of clicking it. Setting a very low value will make only small changes in color to the eye, and conversely a large value will darken the eye starkly.

I usually leave both of these values at the 50% default, but there is no harm in experimenting with them for difficult images.


There's no escaping it, sometimes the red eye removal tool just won't be adequate. There are plenty of images with people in difficult positions or at odd angles that will require a more precise approach.

Another example is the animal version of red eye. The 'eye shine' that you get in some animals cannot be corrected by the tool, because it is usually not red. More common colors are white, green, or pale yellow.

If this is the case, then you can read an alternative technique used to fix red eye, that will demonstrate a much more versatile method.

If you've found this article useful, why not subscribe to my free monthly newsletter to read more like it.

If there is anything else which you feel should be included in this article, then feel free to let me know. Just use my contact form.

Kind Regards

Robert Redwood Robert Redwood - Bio
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