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Adobe Photoshop CC - Advanced Training

How to realistically whiten teeth in Adobe Photoshop

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, this video is all about teeth whitening. Before, after, before, after. It's easier to do, and the cool thing about it is once you've done it once, you can reuse it over and over. Ready, that is the after, ready, before, after, before, after. It's a nice retouching trick. Let's learn how to do it now in Photoshop. 

To get started, from your '10 Retouching' folder, open up 'Teeth 1' and '2'. Let's start with number 1. To get started let's make a real, just basic selection. So I'm going to use the 'Quick Selection Tool'. I'm going to zoom in. Brush size, I'm just going to pick the teeth but not the gums, but we're not spending too much time here. It's easy just to get most of it done and then brush in the edges, using your Brush Tool a little bit later on. Don't get the gums. But again, we are going to fix this later on so don't worry too much about it. Most of the teeth. 

First up is, we need some consistent color, because there's bits of whites and bits of yellow. You might have darker bits of brown in there as well. So what we need to do is get some consistency. Easiest way is to go to your 'Adjustments Panel'. We're going to use the 'Hue & Saturation'. And what we want to do is colorize it. It's kind of weird, right? But at least it's a consistent color. We don't want it to be consistently pink. So crank out the saturation until you find-- you want a yellow color, I know we're just trying to get rid of yellow, but I'll show you what I mean in a second. So if you find just a kind of a warm yellow, something like that, and then crank the saturation way down, because if you go 0 saturation, nobody has that white teeth, or at least gray teeth. So you need some yellow in there. And that's the trick. If it's not perfectly white there needs to be some yellow in there. So let's turn it off. So lots of yellow, and inconsistent yellow, whereas just a little subtle hint of yellow. So that's one part. 

Next part is we need to make them more white, or at least see more white. So what we're going to do is grab the 'Rectangle Tool', pick a Fill color of white, and just make sure you draw our rectangle, across the whole lot of the teeth covering it up. So I want to mask this white into the teeth. So what I could do is hold 'Command' on a Mac, or 'Ctrl' key on a PC to get that selection, and have like two selections going. So I've applied a Layer Mask to this one as well, but the trouble is, we'll end up having to adjust a couple of different layers. So it's a stage like this where it's really handy to have this Layer Mask on a group, and just have everything inside it, we're going to have three layers. Levels, there's white rectangle, and there's Hue & Saturation. We'll just get them all to use the same mask. I'm going to undo that. I want the selection, which is cool, and I want to delete that layer mask because I've right clicked it, I'm going to select both of these, hit this little folder down here, put into a group, and now apply the Layer Mask to that group. 

Just means that these guys here don't need their own individual masks. Perhaps doesn't look amazing, we're going to fix the edges. The first thing you want to do is have your rectangle selected. And we're going to play with a Blending Mode. So remember, I'm going to click on one of them, then make sure I'm on my 'Move Tool', hold 'Shift', hit '+', and just kind of work your way through until you find one that you feel works. It's probably going to be Soft Light. It's not always though, so I guess I want you to have to work your way through and find one that works, Soft Light here makes it nice and white. Probably a little too strong, so we're going to lower down the Opacity. 

Again, we're not worrying too much about the edges, we're going to feather those out. To check how far we've come, who remembers what I can click here just to turn that layer on by itself, and turn all the others off. You remember? Yes, you do. If you're on a Mac, it's 'Option', and give the Eyeball a click, or 'Alt' on a PC. So definitely more white, not super believable just yet. We're going to do two more things. One is the levels, we just need an increase. There's just kind of-- it's too washed out in lots of places here, but let's create, 'Adjustment', 'Levels', and in here we're just looking to just maybe bring up the blacks a little bit. Just so that there's a bit more kind of contrast in the teeth. Don't want to go too low with the Midtones, let's keep those nice and high. Maybe a little bit high here, in the highlights. 

Now it's up to you, do these levels need to be turned down a bit? And maybe this Hue & Saturation. Does it need less of the yellow, maybe just a touch. Before we go and adjust all three of these, let's kind of blend the edges a little better. You could go and see how well you go with just selecting the mask. Just select the mask and see how you go with feather. I'm probably going to start with feather and then brush it in. Let's click 'OK'. It's looking better. Undo, redo. That might be enough for you, but you might have teeth in the background here that-- let's turn this one on and off, I'm okay with it actually. I might feather it a bit more, but I also want to show you-- let's just work on the mask with the Brush Tool. 

Make sure, in your Brush Tool here, is using a Special Effect brush. Go back to General Brushes and just pick the first one. I have my flow at 100%, and maybe turn down the opacity a little bit. What I'm trying to do in here is, there just needs to be a little bit more of a realistic blend between the gum. And if your selection was really bad, you probably have to go and spend a bit more time just kind of making sure, there's kind of transition between the teeth and the edges here. Just working the edges just a little bit to have a little bit of realism, between the transition of pearly whites, to this kind of more, hiding underneath the lip. Should be a little darker. Maybe not these guys. Definitely here in the gums, you can see the gums ended up going quite white. 

What I'm going to do is, to get into this little area here, I'm going to go to 100% Opacity, and I paint it out. Toggle the foreground and background color over here, using the X key, and just paint it back in. It's easier to get into the corners that way. Same with you, 'X', paint it out, 'X' again to toggle it back. So black is at my foreground. I'm happy enough. Now we've got our blend working better. We've got a kind of walk around your office or your lounge. Wherever you're at, because after looking at it a while it just, it becomes really hard to know whether you've gone too far or not far enough. So go make a cup of tea, come back, and then look at it and go, "Hmm, is this believable?" If you're finding it's not after a little walk around the room, come in and start working through the levels, click on the levels part and decide, do I need more of this, less of that? Does the whole layer need to be turned down in terms of the opacity? The white triangle here. We pick Soft Light, you might try a different blend mode. The Opacity might be needed to be turned down a little bit. And under Hue & Saturation, does it need more yellow, or less yellow? 

Let's go for the big reveal, let's hold down 'Option', click on the 'Eyeball', or 'Alt'. Whole lot better. I finally close one eye, I'm not sure why. Whenever I move it around, I'm kind of checking it out, I'm like, it's looking good. Close one eye, does it look good in one eye, the other eye. I doubt that helps, it's what I do. Now, once you spend a bit of time creating these three little layers you can totally reuse these. So what we're going to do is grab the group, and this is going to be my 'Teeth Whitening Layer'. Let's say 'Teeth 2', this is a bit more of a realistic example. I guess nobody gets that sort of closer, and what you end up with is, kind of generic, this photograph's not amazing. If you zoom in it's kind of a little bit out of focus. But the teeth need to be fixed, tidied up. Well, not terrible teeth, but they could use a lick of white paint. 

So 'Move Tool', select the group, 'Command C', 'Command V'. It's brought through that group of whitening. All we need to do is right click, delete the Layer Mask, make sure that this white box is over his teeth. You might just make that white box huge. So that the next image you use, you don't have to be as specific. And what we're going to do is, let's click on the 'Background Layer'. We're going to add a Layer Mask. And a cool little trick is, instead of adding a Layer Mask and then, trying to paint it all out or fill it with black, what you can do is, as you click 'Layer Mask', hold down the 'Option' key on a Mac, 'Alt' key on a PC, and it just applies a Layer Mask, but the inverted version. Instead of a white mask it's a black mask. 

What we can now do is grab our paintbrush, and either start with the Quick Selection Tool, or just start with a brush like I am. Picking our hardness that kind of matches the edges of the teeth here. I'm using white as my foreground color, my Opacity is up 100%. I might turn the Opacity down to something like 50 by tapping '5' on my keyboard, and just slowly but surely working the teeth. Again, we're going to have to probably do some adjustments, levels and, the Hue & Saturation to make this thing believable, but you got most of the work done in the group. There's just some tweaking you need to do. Looking loads better already. Remember the R key. You need to move it around. 'Esc' to rotate it around. 

I'm leaving just a little bit of yellow in the corners there. Don't make it too far removed from your life. A whole lot better. On, off. And now you can go through, drop this down and decide, do I need to mess with the levels a bit more, maybe lower them down a little bit? Raise them up a bit. Make your tiny adjustments, to match to that a little bit. Nice. Hue & Saturation, I'm happy with how the saturation is. Watch them, on, off, on, off. 

And that my friends is how to whiten teeth using a mixture of Hue & Saturation, a big old white layer and levels. Now with levels, that some time is optional. It doesn't always need it. It did need these two examples, but lots of times it doesn't. And if you keep them in a nice little group, you can reuse them on different documents. All right friends, I will see you in the next video.