Manually Open Closed Eyes with Photoshop Elements

You can manually open closed eyes with Photoshop Elements.

Photoshop Elements 2018 introduced a popular new feature to open closed eyes. But you can also use older versions of PS Elements to open closed eyes.

Before and After.

Click on the video below to see exactly how it works.

Under the video is an illustrated step-by-step guide showing how to Manually Open Closed Eyes with Photoshop Elements.

The Step-By-Step Guide

STEP ONE- Open The Photos.

I have this photo of Linda with her eyes closed. The photos were staged to illustrate how to use this technique.

It's typical of what you might encounter when taking a group shot and one person has their eyes closed when the shot is taken. For that reason it's always a good idea to snap a couple of different shots.

My example photos just happen to be a very small group of two.

My other photo is where Linda had her eyes open. This will be our source photo.

STEP TWO- Select The Open Eyes.

With your source photo opened in Elements go over to the Toolbox and make the Lasso tool active by clicking on it.

Now with the Lasso tool go over to the Active Image Area and click-and-drag around both eyes to select them.

Next copy the selected eyes by pressing Command-C on a Mac or Control-C on a PC.

Now deselect by pressing Command-D on a Mac or Control-D on a PC.

STEP THREE- Paste The Eyes Into The Other Photo.

Make the photo with the closed eyes active by clicking on its tab at the top of the window.

Now paste the the open eyes into this photo by pressing Command-V on a Mac or Control-V on a PC. And it pastes the open eyes in the center of our photo.

Over in the Layers panel we can see that it pasted the eyes onto a new Layer and it named it Layer 1 by default.

You can change the default name of Layer 1 to a more descriptive name if you want. Let's change the name to "eyes".

To do that double-click right on the name in the Layers panel and it will highlight the name.

Highlight the name of your Layer by double-clicking right on its name. Now you can type in your own name for the Layer.

Now just type in your new name for the Layer and then press enter or return to complete the change.

STEP FOUR- Move The Eyes Into Place.

Now let's move the eyes into place. To do that go back over to the Toolbox and click on the Move tool to make it active.

Move your cursor back to the Active Image Area and click-and-drag the opened eyes on top of the closed eyes.

Sometimes it helps to align the eyes to the new photo by lowering the opacity of the "eyes" Layer so that you can see the layer below.

Let's lower the opacity to about 50%. You can do that by placing your cursor right over the word Opacity at the top of the Layers panel and click-and-drag to the left until you get to about 50%. Then release the mouse button.

Now because we lowered the opacity we can see not only the open eyes that we brought in from the other photo but we can also see the closed eyes.

The easiest part to see from the closed eyes layer is the eyelashes because they're so dark.

Look at the open eyes and the lashes of the closed eyes on the left and notice that they're at about the same angle.

Compare that to the open eye and lashes on the right. The angle of the open eye is quite different from the angle of the lashes from the closed eye.

I want to adjust the open eyes so that both eyes are at a similar angle to the lashes on the layer below.

By default the Move tool has a bounding box around it. It's hard to see in the screen shot below but it's a light gray rectangle with eight tiny squares around it.

If you don't see the bounding box you can go down to the Tool Options and click on the box labeled "Show Bouncing Box".

Make sure that "Show Bounding Box" is checked in the Tool Options for the Move tool.

We can use the Move tool's bounding box to rotate the open eyes layer.

If you place your cursor close to the outside of any of the four corners of the bounding box the cursor changes to a double-headed curved arrow.

That indicates that you can now click-and-drag with your mouse to rotate the eyes layer.

I'm going to do that to try and get the angle of each open eye similar to the angle of the closed eyes.

After rotating the eyes layer slightly both the left and right eyes are at similar angles to the lashes from the layer below.

Once you're happy with the rotation release the mouse button and click the green check mark to complete the change.

Now that we have the eyes lined up we can change the opacity back to 100% for our "eyes" layer. Just click-and-drag to the right on the word "Opacity" until it's back to 100%.

If you find the Move tools bounding box distracting, you can hide it by unchecking the "Show Bounding Box" box in the Tool Options.

I think the eyes look pretty good but we have some mismatched areas in the hair just to the left of the eyes.

Over in the layers panel I'm going to click on the eye icon next to our "eyes" layer to show and hide the visibility of that layer.

The eye icon controls the visibility of the layer that it's next to.

When I click on it it gets a red line through it indicating that the visibility of that layer is hidden over in our Active Image Area.

In other words we can no longer see the opened eyes. We only see the original Background Layer.

And if you click on the icon again the red line goes away and we see the opened eyes over our image again in the Active Image Area.

So you can click that off and on to see the before and after. Sometimes by doing that it's easier to see mismatched parts of layers.

In my example I want to get rid of the hair that I brought over with the open eyes.

I'm going to use the Eraser tool to erase the hair from the "eyes" layer. Click on the Eraser tool in the Toolbox to make it the active tool.

If you need to resize the cursor of the Eraser tool you can use the left bracket key ([)on your keyboard to make it smaller and the right bracket key (]) to make it larger.

Now just click-and-drag over the areas that you want to erase.

Once it looks good to you you're done! Here's a look at my final result:

And once again this is what we started with:

That wraps up this tutorial on how to manually open closed eyes with Photoshop Elements.

I hope you find this helpful.

Until next time, this is Rick saying . . . Take care!

Go from Manually Open Closed Eyes with Photoshop Elements to Home.


I value your input! Please leave me a comment in the box below.

Search This Site:

Sign up for my newsletter
BECAUSE… You get

  • 4 Step-By-Step Videos showing Tips being used 
  • One-Page Printable Cheat Sheets of Tips

Get My Photoshop Elements Books for just $3.99 from Amazon

More Content… follow me:

"Just a note to say I LOVE your site! There seem to be a few PS Elements tutorials sites, but yours is by far the clearest and easiest to understand. Thanks!" - Ellie

"Watching your tutorials even about things that I think I know I ALWAYS learn something new. A big thank you!" - Douglas

"I am thrilled to find such useful and easy-to-understand information for using Photoshop Elements. I can't wait to use your tutorials (especially with my scrapbooking obsession)" - Judy in MS

Good day Rick, "I very appreciate ALL, ALL of your tutos. Very very clear and useful tips, tricks and techniques of how-to in PSE9. A great great work!" - Hoan

"Love your tutorials on YouTube. Very clear and helpful. Thanks a bunch." -

"I love your videos! They have been such a BIG help. I bought the Dummies book, and it's OK, but I do better by watching instead of reading. Kudos to you!" - Cheers, Kathy

"Thank you for this site! I found it through one of your videos on YouTube.
Again, thank you so much!" - Vanessa

"This is really a truly generous and very admirable website!" - Cheers, Jonas

"Hi Rick! First I've got to say thank you for all the information you share. I can't wait to see the "tips and tricks" you are working on because it sounds like those will help things all come together.
I've gone thru several of your tutorials and learn so much. I can't praise you enough for your time and patience." - Vicki.

"Your website is a great service and I thank you!"
 - Kind Regards, April

"A big thanks to you and your website, and the
 information and help I get from it, its much appreciated." - Rob

Rick - "Many thanks for your advice, that I will take. A big thank you as well for you outstandingly good tutorials. You do seem to have an amazing knack of making quite complicated tasks seem easy and straightforward. I am a fan!" - With Best Wishes, Tony

"Much more helpful than PS Elements 9 for Dummies book.... Thanks so much for your site..truly easy to follow." - Karin

Hi Rick. Just wanted to say a big thank you for all of the great information contained in your tutorials. I've stumbled around PS9 for quite a few weeks now and can't believe quite how easily you explain the different aspects. It's way, way more powerful than I imagined and now, for me, usable too. A big, big thank you from the UK. - Guy