As indicated in the Guide #12, the 'Retouch Tools' provide a way to retouch just sections or areas of a photograph. One of those retouch tools is a special form of the 'Clone' tool which is often used to remove just unwanted areas. The Object Remover allows one to remove selected areas easily. This photograph used for illustration is an older photograph of my dad and myself.
Looking carefully at the photograph there are a number of things I wanted to do to create a better quality photograph. In the background, the window and blue chair are distractions and I wanted to remove them. Also, notice there is a fair amount of noise in the photograph and the photograph is a bit dull and a bit blurred. Thus, my challenge is to clean up this photograph as well as I can.
For the first step I used the 'Straighten' tool and set it to the woodwork behind myself (window -- vertical) and then cropped the picture. I did this straighten that area because of the way I wanted to use the 'Object Remover' tool.
When you set the Object Remover tool the Tool Options Palette will display the freehand tool (icon highlighted), Source Mode (squared box icon greyed out initially), Opacity, Feather, Use all Layers and Smart Blend Options. Thus, step one is to draw a selection around the object you want removed.
An interesting feature is that you can use the freehand tool to draw that selection. You can also use the selection tool and select the shape you want to use to draw the selection. I wanted a fairly precise selection area so I used the rectangle selection tool and first drew a selection around the window area.
Step two then once the selection is visible is to use the Mode tool (which is like the pick tool with handles) and move it and size it to an area from which you want the clone to occur. In this instance I selected a very small squared area of very dark brown. I also kept Smart blending uncheck because if checked it tends to blend the area in a way I did not wish.
The Third Step then is to click on the 'Apply' button. And, the object to be removed is removed with the area (colors) selected with the Mode Option. The actual removal of the area behind (window, and blue chair) took a number of different areas first selected and then removed.
I finished up the removal of that area by also using the Clone Tool to refine parts of the area I want to remove. I did this to better blend the final result in a more seamless result.
First, I used the Smart Photo Fix to brighten, make just a tad more colorful, and sharpened the photograph. I changed the settings for Darken (almost zero) and highlight (lesser) and made sharpen a higher value.
Next, I used Digital Noise Removal and adjusted some of the options slightly to remove some of the noise from the photograph. I finished up the retouch using the 'Clarify' feature (which tends to brightened and create some better shadow effects).
The Object Removal feature is a good feature to learn by taking some time to understand how it works. One can remove larger areas more quickly using this tool rather than the Clone Tool. However, not all areas to be removed will display the fill area well so experimentation is required.
Sometimes the area to fill the selection needs to be relatively small rather than about the same size as the selection. Also, unchecking the Smart Blend box will often make the fill process work more smoothly.
Cloning areas to remove unwanted areas is a very worthwhile skill to acquire. Many photographs with just some simple retouching can be made to be outstanding photographs.
In the next series of photographic illustrations, I will be presenting some different techniques to display photographs.
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