Tag Archives: tutorial

3 Easy Steps to Whitening Teeth in Photoshop

Whitening Teeth (Original)

Whitening Teeth (Original)

I recently gave a presentation to the Peoria Camera Club about digital portrait retouching, a presentation cleverly titled “Reach Out and (re)Touch Someone.” I started the presentation with a quick rundown on the five things I do to every portrait I retouch, especially when I have a few minutes to edit before a deadline.

I never realized until I was planning the presentation that I did the same things over and over for a quick retouch, but when I saw what I saw, I was delighted to share this with my fellow camera club members.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to pass some of that knowledge on to all of you. Wait a minute, though, Mike… isn’t that giving away trade secrets? Well, kind of, I guess, but to be honest, there are so many techniques and tricks to portrait retouching out there, including ones that I will never divulge (unless there is bribery in the form of chocolate involved) that I’m not that worried about it. Plus, if I recall correctly, a wise man once said “what’s the point of knowledge if you don’t pass it on?” and I like that.

Whitening Teeth - Hue/Saturation Layer Settings

So, without further ado, here are my three simple steps to whitening teeth in Photoshop!

Step One
Once you have the image you want to edit open in Photoshop, add a Hue/Saturation layer. You may also choose to duplicate the layer (CTRL + J) and do a general hue/saturation adjustment, as outlined below, and then add in a mask, but you can kill all those birds with one stone by just hitting the Hue/Saturation layer button.

Step Two
Dial -50 saturation and +10 brightness for the yellow and red channels; this will kill off the majority of the yellow on the teeth and even add in a touch of brightness to them as well. Go ahead and dial in the same settings for the blue and master channels as well. Why don’t we go to -100 saturation you ask? Well, give it a whirl, but my experience is that removing all color gives the teeth an unnatural look or even another yellow cast on the reverse end.

Whitening Teeth (Retouched)

Whitening Teeth (Retouched)

Step Three
The image will look pretty weird at this point as the adjustment layer has been affecting the entire image. We’ll fix that by selecting the layer mask and inverting it (CTRL + I). This will hide the entire adjustment from the image. With your layer mask still selected, grab your paint brush, set your foreground color to white and make sure your brush is really soft. Zoom in on the teeth and paint the adjustment back in on the teeth only.

Voila! That’s all there is to it. As you can see from the before/after images, the model’s teeth are now pearly white without a stock investment in Crest Whitening Strips!

As an added bonus, this technique works wonderfully for the whites of the eyes as well!

Optimizing Adobe Bridge CS5

Adobe Bridge Logo

Ever since I upgraded to Adobe CS5, I’ve ran into a couple of weird little “bugs.” These glitches weren’t anything but nuisances and didn’t stop me from using the programs. They were the type of fixes that I would get around to eventually. Well, they have slowly worn down my nerves and I’m finally in the process of fixing them so that Adobe Bridge & Photoshop work as smoothly as possible.

The computer I use is only about a year or two old, but was a “decked out” model when I bought it so it isn’t quite obsolete yet. I run on a Dell Inspiron 530 with Windows XP Pro, a Quad Core processor with 2.4 GHz speed, and 3.25 GB of DDR RAM. Needless to say, it’s a fast little bugger. But that definitely didn’t stop my Adobe programs from choking a bit.

The problems that I will address in this post that I’ve scoured the web for answers to are listed below.

The Problem
Adobe Bridge CS5 would run for a few minutes just fine, but would get slower over time. I would often have to restart Bridge just to export JPEGs from my DNG files. I would receive the error “Bridge running low on memory” or, upon trying to “Save As JPEGs” from a DNG or RAW file, a box would appear stating “Not enough memory to process.”

*Please Note: These fixes may not be the same fixes for your machine, but then again, they just might be.

The Solution
My research turned up a lot of users experiencing the same thing and a lot of answers ranging from changing cache sizes to not using any other programs on the computer at the same time. While I had tried most of these myself, the one that worked is this. I’ve also included a few general optimization and performance tips to speed things up as well.

I’ve included screenshots for reference. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

Camera Raw Preferences Window

Camera Raw Preferences

  1. In the Camera Raw Preferences window, make sure “Update embedded JPEG previews” is set to Medium.
  2. It isn’t needed, but I always like to take the time to “Purge Cache” before I start the next step.
  3. Stay under the Camera Raw Cache settings, click on the “Select Location…” button. When the Explorer window is displayed, right click on the Cache folder and select “Properties.” Uncheck the box that says “Read-Only” and press Apply. When prompted, select “Apply settings to sub-folders and files.” If you have issues resetting the permissions of a folder, make sure you have administrative rights to change permissions. If you don’t, log into the account on the computer that does.
  4. One last thing to do before you exit this window is to set the size of the cache. The default is usually 1 GB, but I would bump this to 5 or 10 GB.
  5. With all of that set, exit the Camera Raw Preferences window.

We aren’t quite done yet so bear with me.

Bridge Preferences Window

Bridge Preferences Window

  1. Next, open up the Preferences menu. Under Thumbnails, change the “Do Not Process Files Larger Than…” field to anywhere between 50 and 100 MB. Please note that this is a personal preference depending upon the type of work you do and the size of your average files. For basic photography retouching and processing, this range should be ideal.
  2. Under Advanced, uncheck the box next to Software Rendering. Most rendering should be hardware-focused anyway and giving the software something more to do is just more RAM it eats up while working on an image.
  3. Now the big one… Under Cache, uncheck the “Keep 100% Previews in Cache” box at the top and make sure the “Export to Folders when Possible” is checked. Also, increase the number of items under the Cache Size slider. Before the next step, I would also “Purge Cache.”
  4. While still under the Cache settings, we are going to make sure that the Cache folder here also has “Read-Only” permissions disabled. Click on “Choose…” under Location. When the Explorer window appears, right click on the Cache folder and select “Properties.” Uncheck the “Read-Only” checkbox and click “Apply.” When prompted, select “Apply to all sub-folders and files.”
  5. When all is said and done, exit this menu.

Simply close and restart Adobe Bridge. Things should start to run a bit smoother for you in general. I noticed an immediate improvement myself, but once again, these fixes may not work for your issue. If they don’t, spend some time scouring the Internet or you could just call Adobe Support… I mean… that’s what they are paid to do!

Hope this was helpful. Let me know if anyone else is having these issues and if this fix worked for you… I’d love to know that I’m not the only one!