Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How-To Tuesday: How to whiten teeth in photoshop

Let's say you have a photo of your son that you love. Your son and his awesome mohawk from last year. Only, since he is a kid, and not always as diligent as you'd like him to be, his teeth brushing has left something to be desired. Rather than live with the yellow not-quite-white teeth in the photo, I am going to show you how to fix it.


There about 9,459 ways in Photoshop to whiten teeth. I make no claim that this is THE one and only way. It's just the way I do it. And it takes less than a minute.

Step one: Open your image in Photoshop. I use CS3, but I believe it would work in Elements, as well as the newer versions.

Select the yin/yang looking icon on the bottom right hand side to create a new adjustment layer. In the pop-up menu, select "Hue/Saturation."

When the Hue/Saturation dialogue box pops up, select "Yellow" from the pop-down menu, and turn the slider for saturation to the left until your teeth have no yellow in them. At this point, you will likely have ruined the rest of the photo, but take heart, we will fix it later. Just focus on the teeth. Click OK.


Zoom in until your screen is filled mostly with the teeth. Now you want to hit CTRL-I, which will invert the layer mask. We will then use our brush tool (just push letter B and it will shortcut to the brush). Choose a soft-edged brush and begin "painting" over the teeth. This paints our saturation adjustment layer back in - restoring the fix we did, but only in the areas we want (i.e., the teeth). If all looks okay to you, merge down your layers.


Still with me?

Good. You can do this. While the teeth look considerably less yellow, they lack any whiteness or brightness to them. We want to fix that.

Create another adjustment layer, this time click on "Brightness/Contrast" from the pop-up menu. In the dialogue box, you want to take your brightness slider and move it to the right. Don't panic when your whole image starts to look wrong. It's all about the teeth right now. We'll fix the rest later.

Once your teeth look nice and bright, select okay.


Then hit CTRL-I again to invert the layer. Select your brush tool (B) and paint over the teeth again.


They will likely look horribly white - too white. Zoom out until you are looking at the whole picture. Then take your opacity slider on the brightness/contrast adjustment layer and reduce it until it looks right to you. For me, that number is usually around 25-35 percent. Do what looks best on your photo. Neon white teeth? Not so good. But we want to pop the brightness just a bit. Then merge the layers down.


And that's it! It sounds way more complicated than it actually is. And here is our SOOC (straight out of the camera) shot and the edited version. The difference is subtle, but that means we didn't overdo it in editing. A nice, white smile that doesn't look like we photoshopped the crap out of it.

Always a good thing.


Your turn. What can you teach me today?

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Cares and Mimi said...

Love this- I wish my teeth were that white! Now they can be!

Julie said...

Photoshop is something I definitely need a tutorial on. Thanks so much for this one. It seems doable now.

Nurse Graham said...

Thanks for the tips. Not sure if I'll get a how-to post done today or not as I'm off to the dermatologist today. I'll try for next week.

Daniel said...

Hey Dummy, stop deleting my How-To-Tuesday Post!

Donna said...

Thanks for a step-by-step! I printed it out so that I can have it there when I'm ready to use it!

brooke said...

I need to learn to use photoshop. Thanks for the tips. I am loving the How-to series!

Suzanne said...

Me too--need to learn photoshop, that is. I want to take a class or something. This is awesome, I'm definitely going to put this to use...eventually. Yay for a new goal on my huge list of goals. Thanks! =)

Lauren in GA said...

I wish I could convert this to everyday life. Like when we are walking into church and I hand my 10 year old a baby wipe and tell him that he needs to scrub down his front teeth because I can tell he has not brushed. (I know wiping down his teeth with a wipe must taste gross...but, hey...perhaps you should brush, my man.) I love him so much...but his teeth can look so vile.

Dan really out did himself this week with the, "post-defecation clean up" instructions.

4ever said...

Sorry Christie, I think you looked at my post before I finished it! (I'm not good at this blogging thing)

Julianna said...

This is what happens when I link up at 6am. :(

Yes, please, delete the first one.

lovebanter9 said...

Hi that is a really cool trick for using photoshop to whiten teeth. Has anybody ever tried using strawbarries to whiten your teeth it works great! GREAT POST