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Fix Pet Eye Quickly with Picnik

By August 12, 2010

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Some time ago I wrote an article on how to correct the problem of pet eye in your photos. Those glowing white eyes can make your adorable pooch or kitty look like a demonic monster, and we certainly don't want that. With a new puppy in my family, it's a problem I've been dealing with a lot lately.

Unfortunately, the automatic red eye fix tools in most photo editing software do not work on the majority of pet eye photos, and no desktop photo editing software that I know of has a tool specifically for fixing pet eye quickly. (If you do know of one, please let me know in the comments.) Although I know the technique for fixing pet eye, as demonstrated in my tutorial, sometimes I'm in a hurry to show of my beloved pooches and don't want to mess around with a multi-step process. Plus, I'm lazy!

So I was pleased to learn that the online photo editor Picnik does have a pet eye correction tool. Picnik is owned by Google now, and you can access it directly from your Picasa Web Albums if you use them. This is still not as convenient as having a one-click fix tool in my favorite photo software, but I do use Picasa Web Albums, so it's a welcome addition. Let's hope Google moves this valuable feature into the desktop photo software Picasa, and that other desktop photo software developers follow suit.

Here is a quick run down on how to fix pet eye using the online photo editor Picnik:

If the photo you want to fix is on Picasa Web albums, you can navigate to it there, then click the edit button above the photo.

If the photo you want to fix is on another photo site or your computer, browse to Picnik.com and click "Get Started Now." Then click the "Upload a photo" button, or use one of the buttons at the bottom of the screen to access your photos on popular social networks and photo sharing sites including Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, Webshots, and PhotoBucket.

Once your photo is open in Picnik, click the Red-Eye button along the top of the page.

When the red eye dialog opens, it asks you to click on the center of each eye. It attempts to determine whether you have clicked on a pet or human eye, but in my experience it is best to click the "Furball" button straight off if you are fixing pet eyes.

I tested a photo using Picnik to access a Facebook photo, and when the photo was saved back to Facebook, it created a duplicate of the fixed photo in my Facebook album instead of replacing the photo I started with. This is just something you should be aware of, and I imagine it works the same way when accessing photos on other sites. If you want to replace the photo in your Facebook album, you will have to remove the old one directly from the Facebook site after saving the editing photo to Facebook. The new photo will not have comments from your Facebook friends attached to it, so be aware of that as well. In most cases, you'll probably be doing the pet eye fix soon after posting your photos, so they won't be likely to have comments anyway.

When using Picnik from Picasa Web Albums, you are asked when you save the photo if you want to replace the photo or save a new copy.

Basically, Picnik just paints a new pupil and reflection glint over the dogs eyes, the same thing I show you how to do in my tutorial, but it does it in one click. It's not perfect every time--sometimes it made the eyes look strange, and other times it wasn't able to completely cover the pupil--but it's usually better than the crazy glowing eyes. Picnik's pet eye fix is included with the free account, so go ahead and give it a try on your pet eye pictures.

Here I used Picnik's pet eye fix on a picture of my new puppy, Homer.

I'd love to know about any desktop photo software that has a tool like this built-in, and look forward to seeing the technology perfected and added to more family photo software.

Also see:
Write a Review: Online Photo Editors
How to Fix Pet Eye in Your Photos
Google Buys Picnik: 6 Unanswered Questions

August 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm
(1) Richard Chase says:

Animal Green Eye
I found a great way to do this on Eps. 41 of the PhotoShop User TV Podcast. Basically it is done as follows.

1- Select eyes w/ lasso (SHIFT-for 2nd eye)
2 CTRL + J for new layer (eyes only)
3- Add Hue/Sat Adj Layer
4 ALT Key to attach H/S Layer to Layer1 (eyes)by hold ing mouse between layers holding ALT
5 Add Levels Adj Layer Left slider to right to darken
6 ALT Key to attach to H/S Layer- holding mouse between 2 adj layers holding ALT key
7 Add Layer Mask to Layer 1 (eyes) fill with Black (CTRL + I)
8 Change foreground color to White
9 Paint on layer mask with soft bush on pupils.

Flatten layer , may have to repeat process with really bad eyes, and sometimes add a Multiply Blend mode.
But it works really well.

August 19, 2010 at 8:53 pm
(2) Richard Chase says:

Addendum to last post…When adding Hue/Sat Layer – take Saturation to -100 to make image B&W

August 31, 2010 at 11:56 pm
(3) Mike Koenig says:

Hp photo essentials has a free pet eye fix that is as basic as clicking on the eye and then telling it to fix the eye. The tool works awesome. Hp photo essentials is a basic photo program but is worth having for this tool alone. Hope you find this helpful.

September 15, 2010 at 8:29 pm
(4) Jeannie says:

Paint Shop Pro has an animal eye fix in the red eye section you can use. Works perfectly!!! I have an old version (5).

October 27, 2010 at 7:53 pm
(5) Wendy says:

I use Corel PaintShop Pro 10 to fix pet eye. It works REALLY well and is very simple to do.

August 24, 2012 at 12:24 am
(6) Mary says:

Google closed down Piknik in April 2012.

You can still edit photos through Picasa, but it does not include the option of fixing animal eyes.

I miss Picnik.

August 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm
(7) Bob says:

Agree with Mary above and don’t understand why Google with all the resources at its disposal didn’t think to include the “fur-ball” red eye fix in the latest Picasa. I imagine that thousands of pet owners were pissed when that neat little fix was eliminated.

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