Photoshop Tutorial – Removing Gordon Brown’s Bags

Gordon Brown’s been going through the mill a bit recently and his undereye bags are getting bigger. Here’s a quick method of retouching any photograph in Photoshop to reduce or remove undereye bagginess. Now if I could just do this permanently to myself …

  1. Open the portrait that you want to retouch. I’m using this portrait of the British Prime Minister. Before doing any retouching, it’s always a good idea to make a duplicate image on a separate layer. To do this press Ctrl+J /Cmd+J. You’ll now have the same pic of Gordon Brown on two separate layers. Select the top layer to work on and keep the bottom layer in case of accidents.


  2. Select the Patch Tool (J), which is hidden under the Spot Healing Brush tool.


    The Patch tool works like a combination of the Lasso tool and the Healing Brush tool.

  3. Zoom in around the eyes so you can clearly see what you’re doing. Drag an area around the one of the eye bags and release the mouse button. You’ll see the dancing ants around the selection you’ve just made.


  4. Now, with the Patch tool still selected, click and drag that selection to another part of the face that is nice and smooth, a cheek for example.


    You’ll see that once you start dragging, you’re taking a copy of your selection and pulling it to another part of the image. Your original selection is going to look quite strange and the skin colours will look completely wrong. That’s ok. Keep dragging to the smooth part of the face with no wrinkles, then release the mouse. Your original selection will now be replace with smooth(ish) skin! Photoshop will replace the old bags with the smooth skin of the cheeks, but importantly, it attempts to keep the same skin tone of the original area. Pretty amazing really.


  5. Ok, that’s one eye done. Now repeat steps 3 and 4 on the other eye.


    You should end up with a fairly, youthful, well rested model.


6. Now if you think that your model is looking too youthful, this is where our layers come in. Simply reduce the opacity of the top layer that you’ve been working on, so that you can see some of the wrinkles showing through from underneath. This will give a more authentic look to your retouching.


And our completed retouched Gordon Brown, looks like this:


Before (Left) and After



  1. Jennifer Farley says:

    Hi Heather

    Is the patch tool not in CS2? I can’t remember which version it came in with but I thought it might have been CS. It’s a major time saver for wrinkles!

  2. Jennifer Farley says:

    My pleasure, Polly.

    Dave, I’m hoping his spin doctors will hire me as offical government retoucher. 🙂

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