How to Create Realistic Eyebrows in Photoshop
By David Weedmark
Whether you want to add brand new eyebrows to someone's photo, or just want to enhance what's already there, the most realistic way to achieve this effect in Photoshop CC is to create a new brush. After you've created the brush and tweaked its settings as needed, adding eyebrows is simply a matter of drawing them on.
Drawing a Single Hair
Open a high-resolution photo of someone's face in Photoshop and zoom in using the Zoom menu beneath the image. If the resolution is too low to make out individual hairs, select another photo. Click the "New Layer" button at the bottom of the Layers panel.
Select the "Pen Tool" from the Photoshop toolbox. Click the tool at the root of an eyebrow hair, then hover the tool over the end of the hair. Click and hold the mouse button down, then drag the tool slightly. As you drag the mouse, the line formed by the Pen Tool bends. When the line matches the curve of the hair, release the mouse button.
Click the "Brush Tool" in the Toolbox and change the Brush thickness in the Options bar to make it the same width as the eyebrow. Drag the brush on the current layer to test its thickness, then press "Ctrl-Z" to remove the brush stroke.
Select the "Color Picker" from the Toolbox and select a sample color from the photo to use as your eyebrow color. You can use a hair in the eyebrow, an eyelash or, for dark brows, click the pupil of the eye.
Click the "Paths" tab in the Layers panel. Right-click the "Work Path" and select "Stroke Path." Select "Brush" from the Tool menu and make sure that the "Simulate Pressure" option is selected before clicking "OK." This procedure ensures the ends of the hair will be tapered.
Creating an Eyebrow Brush
Right-click "Layer 1" in the Layers panel and select "Duplicate Layer." Click the "Document" menu and select "New." The layer with the hair opens in a new document.
Press and hold the "Ctrl" key and click the thumbnail in the Layer 1 entry of the Layers panel in this new document. Select "Crop" from the Image menu. The canvas is cropped around the hair.
Select "Define Brush Preset" from the Edit menu. Type "eyebrow test" in the Name field and click "OK."
Go back to your original photo and select the "Brush Tool" from the toolbox. Right-click anywhere on the canvas. Your new "eyebrow test" brush appears as the last icon in the list of brushes. Click that icon.
Press "F5" to open the Brush window. Select the "Change Dynamics" option. Drag the "Size Jitter" slider to about "85" percent. Type "1" in the "Angle Jitter" text field. Click the "Control" menu and select "Direction."
Select "Brush Tip Shape" in the Brush window and drag the "Spacing" slider to about "100" percent.
Select "Scattering" and drag the "Scatter" slider to about "20" percent. This setting adds some space between each hair as you drag the brush. Test the brush by dragging it on the canvas and adjust the amount of scatter as needed.
Drag the Brush Tool on the canvas in a circular motion. As the tool changes direction, the hairs follow that new direction. Depending on your needs, you may want to tweak some of the settings in the Brush window.
Test the brush on the canvas by drawing an eyebrow. To change the angle of the hairs, select "Brush Tip Shape" in the Brush window and drag the compass to a new position. You can also click the "Flip X" or "Flip Y" options to reverse the hairs horizontally or vertically as needed.
Click the "Menu" icon in the upper right corner of the Brush window and select "New Brush Preset." Type a new name, like "eyebrow hair" in the "Name" field and click "OK."
Drawing New Eyebrows
Click the "New Layer" button in the Layers panel. Drag the Brush Tool in short strokes across the eyebrow area. Always begin from the bottom and move the brush up and towards the ear to mimic a natural eyebrow hair. Note that eyebrows begin and end at about a 45 degree angle from each corner of the eye, with an arch above the center of the eye.
Change the color as needed by clicking the "Foreground Color" in the Toolbox, making some hairs darker or lighter than the first series of hair.
Select the "Clone Stamp" tool from the Toolbox. Click anywhere on the forehead while holding down the "Alt" key to get a sample, then click around the eyebrow to replace stray hairs with the sampled bare skin.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.