An eye for an eye

Beat the blinkers by pasting a pair of eyes from one shot into another image

IThe first step is to open both your images in your image-editing program. I'm using Photoshop, but you can use any program that features layers and selection and eraser tools.

2Choose the image that has the eyes open in it, and zoom in to the eye area. Using a selection tool, in this case the freehand lasso, roughly circle the first eye. You don't need to be precise - just a rough selection like this will do, but include more of the surrounding area than less as it makes it easier to blend the two images together.

3 With the eye selected, choose Copy (Edit>Copy) and then click on the image to which you would like to add the open eye. Click Paste (Edit>Paste) to drop the open eye into the image. In most editing applications the eye will automatically appear as a new layer, but you may need to use a Paste Into command with some software (such as GIMP).

7 With the first eye done, it's time to drop in the second, which follows the same select, copy and paste procedure as outlined in steps two and three. However, as the subject turned his head between shots, his second eye is slightly smaller than it needs to be. To solve this, I'll use the scaling tool (Edit>Transform>Scale in Photoshop) to enlarge it slightly. In this instance, I also needed to rotate it a little.

5Now we need to blend the two layers together so the new eye doesn't look as though it's just been stuck on. Choose the eraser tool and select a soft-edged brush - I'm using a soft 100-pixel diameter brush here. With the brush opacity set to 75%, I can now start gently removing the edges of the open eye layer.

8 Now it's just a case of deleting the outer edges of the second eye to blend the areas together. Once that's done, flatten the layers down, sharpen the image (assuming it's a digital photo) and congratulate yourself on saving another picture from the wastebasket.

Software

There are loads of image-editing packages on the market, ranging from the ones you get pre-installed on your computer with your operating system to premium-priced products such as Adobe Photoshop. For this exercise, the key tools you'll need are a selection tool (it doesn't matter too much which one you use), an eraser tool (to tidy up the result) and layers so you can work on the eyes separately. Layers might not appear in pre-installed software, but you will find that all the commonly available, modestly priced image-editing applications will have the tools you need, most notably Adobe Photoshop Elements and Corel Paint Shop Pro. However, GIMP (see below) is also an option.

What is GIMP?

GIMP is an 'open-source' image-editing program. This means it has been created by a group of enthusiasts and is available for free for Windows, Mac and even Linux operating systems, along with the source code that makes the program work (hence, 'open source').

The current version of GIMP features all the basic image-editing features you're likely to want or need (including selections, layers, Curves, Levels and cloning tool), and while it doesn't quite have the refinement of Photoshop Elements (think of it as being two versions 'behind' Elements) it is still an excellent option for anyone looking to dip a toe in image-editing, or simply wanting to save themselves a few pounds. To try GIMP for yourself, visit www.gimp.org.

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