How to Fix Pet Eye in Your Photos

Remove glare from your pet's photos

Most photo editing software offers tools for removing red-eye from pictures. However, these tools don't always work on pets since they can have yellow, white, red, or green eyes in photos taken in low-light conditions with a flash. Learn how to fix glowing pet eyes in Gimp, Photoshop, and similar programs.

Instructions in this article apply broadly to all desktop photo editing software.

Border Collie lying on sofa, portrait
Beate Zoellner/Getty Images

How to Fix Pet Eyes in Photos

The following screenshots come from Gimp, an open-source image editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux, but the general process is the same for other programs. Open the image in your editing software and follow these steps:

  1. Create a new transparent layer in your document, making sure the Mode is set to Normal.

    The New Layer window in GIMP with the Mode field highlighted
  2. Select the paintbrush tool and choose a medium-soft edge brush. Set the foreground color to black, and set the size slightly larger than the eye pupil.

    You might need to use an elliptical brush shape when dealing with cat eyes.

    GIMP with the paintbrush tool highlighted
  3. Zoom in and click on each eye to paint over the pet eye reflections. You might need to click a few times with the paintbrush to cover the entire problem area. At this point, the eye will look strange because there is no glint of light reflection in the eye.

    Zoom in and click on each eye to paint over the pet eye reflections.
  4. Temporarily hide the layer where you painted black over the eye in the last step. In Gimp, select the eye icon next to the layer in the Layers palette.

    GIMP with the Layer Visibility button highlighted
  5. To make the eyes look natural, replace the reflected points of light you painted over in the previous steps. Select a hard-edge brush, set the size to very small (about 3 to 5 pixels), and set the foreground color to white.

    Select a hard-edge brush, set the size very small (about 5-10 pixels), and set the foreground color to white.
  6. Create another transparent layer in the document above all other layers in the document. With the painted layer hidden, you should be able to see the original photo. Make a note of where the glints appear in the original photo and click once with the paintbrush directly over each eye glint in the original.

    Create another transparent layer in your document above all other layers in your document.
  7. Unhide the black paint layer to see the final result. If it doesn't look natural, clear the layer, and keep trying. If the image is acceptable, save and export it to your preferred image format.

    Unhide the black paint layer to see the final result.

    You can add a slight amount of Gaussian blur on the black paint layer to blend the pupil into the iris. Use the eraser tool to clean up the black paint that went outside of the eye area onto your pet's fur.

In some cases, the pet eye is so bad that you can't find the original eye glints. You'll have to guess where they should be based on the direction of the light and how other reflections appear in the photo. Keep both eye glints in relation to each other for both eyes. If you can't make a solid guess on the location of the glints, start with the centers of the pupils.