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Cleaning Images with the Freehand Selection Tool
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Cleaning Images with the Freehand Selection Tool
Created by: Barbara Townsend


Many times I have cleaned an image to find it is left with a lot of jaggies that also have to be cleaned up and I am not satisfied with the work that was done.

This method takes time to develop the skill needed, but it is worth all the effort, I promise. You may have to work some on your image, save it, put the work aside and come back to it from time to time but in the end you will be very pleased with what you have accomplished.

Download File. Download File
The picture of the lilies in the zip file on the left belongs to Pete. He sent me this from his garden in the early part of summer and I thought not only is it a beautiful picture but it is a good example to use for this tutorial. Thank you Pete.
Open Image Open the lilies picture from your download into your PSP workspace and duplicate it (Window || Duplicate or Shift+D). Close the original to preserve it and work on the copy only.

New Raster Layer

Promote the 'Background' layer by either going to Layers || Promote Background Layer in the menu bar or right-clicking on the 'Background' layer in the Layer palette and choosing "Promote Background Layer" from the pop-up menu.

Add a new raster layer (Layers || New Raster Layer in the menu bar, or click on the 'New Raster Layer' icon in the Layer palette).


Materials Palette - Materials Box  Materials Solid Color Option     Flood Fill Tool

Select a light to pastel color in the Materials palette and flood-fill the new layer for contrast.

Then make the new layer ('Raster 2') the bottom layer by either going to Layers || Arrange || Send to Bottom in the menu bar or by dragging it to the bottom in the Layer palette. Activate 'Raster 1' layer which should be on the top in the Layer palette at this time. Always work on this layer.


Freehand Selection Tool

Choose the Freehand Selection tool:
– Selection type = Point to point
– Mode = Replace
– Feather = 0
– Smoothing = between 1-5 (your choice)
– Anti-alias = checked

Now select small areas around the flower and hit the Delete key, then deselect by either right-clicking into the image or going to Selections || Select None (Ctrl+D).

Using the Selection Tool

Soften Tool   Zoom Tool   Deform Tool   Move Tool

As you are cleaning you can use the Soften brush and lightly smooth the edges as you work or wait until you have finished and do all edges at one time.

Do not try to clean too much at once. A little is much better as in this example. Apart from the Freehand Selection tool, you will need to use these tools to work and clean your images as you go:
– the Zoom tool
– the Deform tool – use the handles to turn your work
– the Move tool – to keep it in place.

This does not have to be exact as you will crop the image later.

Scratch Remover Tool

Use Scratch Remover for Small Clean-Up Areas

Magic Wand Tool

When your image is as clean as you want it, use the Scratch Remover tool to take out small spots in the image. You will find it under the Clone brush. Be careful not to overdo this tool. Dragging it further than needed will make unwanted blurs.

To give your image an extra touch use the Magic Wand and click outside of the flower in the pastel areas, hold down the Shift key while clicking in order to cover all areas. Then invert the selection (Selections || Invert).

Now go to Selections || Modify || Smooth:
– Smoothing amount = 7
– Corner scale = 45
– Anti-alias = checked
– Preserve corners = checked

Finished Photo

Set the image where you want it with the Move tool. Crop the excess. Delete 'Raster 2' layer and resize if you would like to do that.

That is how I clean most of my images and I hope it will be a help to you.

Barbara T.