How to Remove Objects from a Photo – Difficult Removals in Photoshop
Editing of these written steps coming soon with screen captures
So, as you can see, this photo is no joke. We’ve got this power pylon behind them. We’ve got the lines going through the sky. We kind of get a couple of little spots there and where it’s going to get really tough is through the bridal veil right there. We’ve got this showing through and we got trees, all kinds of stuff, so no one can say this is an easy one.
Now sometimes you’ll get something from Adobe Stock, such as this image here and you want to change things up a little bit, make it different, you know, remove some things. You can use these techniques and maybe your photographer, who’s looking to put this on stock, say for example you want to sell some stock and make a little extra money, but things like recognizable items and logos and things like that have to be removed before you can contribute, so it’s going to be a multi-step process. And there’s going to be a lot of things you’re going to learn in this. We’re going to learn about extracting selections, how to do semi-transparent selections, how to fill this up and different things like that, so without further ado, why don’t we just jump right in.
By the way, if you like these kinds of techniques, I’ve got other tutorials that dive deep into other things such as the Clone Stamp Tool and different things like that. If you don’t want to miss an episode, hit that Subscribe button right now. So let’s get started.
The first thing we’re going to do is let’s approach the easy thing and that’s getting rid of these power lines and just in this area here. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to grab my Quick Select Tool and we’re just going to grab this over the top and we’re just going to go around here and make a rough selection around this area that’s going to be relatively easy to work with.
All right, so that went a little bit far there. If you go too far, just hold down the Alt or the Option key and just paint back the area that you went over. Now we’re going to copy that to a new layer. The way to do that is to hold down Ctrl or Command if you’re on Mac, J for Jump, and that’s going to copy that.
If we go to the new layer, we can see, all right, so we’ve isolated this area and the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to clean up this isolated area. So what I don’t want to do is go over here because if I go over the edges while I’m cleaning this up, it’s going to go over the trees and it’s going to mess it up. So just go down here and see where it says itís Lock, click on the first one which is Lock Transparency.
Ahh, I hear some people say that’s what that button does because it’s not something that a lot of people use. Well it’s very, very useful for this kind of thing. All right, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to clean up the power lines and the reason for that is if I’m going to do any kind of cleanup work, I’m going to be cloning from different areas. I want to make sure those areas are clear.
So the first thing I’m going to do is I’m just going to grab the Spot Healing Brush, so let’s go over here. And in Photoshop, for the last few versions, they’ve added this Spot Healing and Healing Brush and Patch Tools, Content-Aware Fill. These are incredibly useful tools. I absolutely love them and we’re going to be using these a lot.
So we’re going to use the Spot Healing Brush and just see where these little spots are. If you’ve got those kinds of things on there, just click on those ones and that will clean them up; there we go. And the reason for that is because now I’m going to take that Spot Healing and I’m going to go across here and I’m just going to heal those power lines. Here we go. And that way, it’s not going to pick up the spots.
Now I did show a tip once where you click and then you hold down Shift, move to the end and still holding down Shift, click again, it will create a straight line. That’s a quick way to get rid of the power lines. So I’m going to do that again. So I’m just going to hold down Shift. Make sure I’m going to click first, then hold Shift; holding down Shift, click, a quick way to get rid of those power lines. So if you got little spots in there like in here, you can just kind of type in those and that would just clean those up. So let’s just go in there. Excellent. So we got one more. I’m just going to hold Shift, holding down Shift, click, boom. Okay, so the power lines are gone.
And now what we want to do is we want to get in here and fix up this little pylon area. So what I’m going to do is I’m just going to grab a Marquee Tool and I’m just going to make a selection around there. In fact, let me do it right now. I’m just going to paint around the edge. Give it, you know, a few pixels around the edge. You don’t want to be too tight, but don’t be too lazy either. All right, there we go, and now because we got a transparency selected, it’s not going to fill in those areas, so I’m going to hit Shift Delete, that’s Shift Backspace on Windows, choose Content Aware and then click OK. And boom, that’s going to clean it up. Now just click away and we’ve got a few little smudges here. No big deal.
We can grab our little Spot Healing Tool again and with the Spot Healing Tool, you can just go over these little areas here and clean those up; see that? And you could use a Clone Stamp if it gets difficult and you can also use the Healing. Let me show you the difference between Spot Healing and Healing. We got this color. If we hold the Alt or the Option key to click and then that defines the color that we’re going to use for that healing, see that, so I’m going to click again. And that just enables us to just fine tune certain areas if we want certain tones in here, like maybe I want a lighter tone in there, I can do it that way. And see you could just kind of match that manually and clean it up a little bit.
And if you see some weird things in here that you don’t like for the power lines, you can just always clean those up as well. So don’t forget, you know, you can just keep doing that so there’s no worries about that. Okay, so we’ve done this. Why don’t we turn on our bottom layer and you can see that right now, we’ve removed a lot of that area. So a lot of those big problems are gone.
We’ve got the easiest stuff out of the way. Let’s have a look at the hardest stuff and that’s this region here. This is going to be tough. All right, so I’ve just zoomed in a little bit and then we’re just going to go around here and I’m just going to make a selection around this area. And I noticed I’ve got a little bit on the face there, but you know what, I’m going to come back and I’m going to deal with that separately. And I noticed we are okay there with the arm so we’re just kind of looking at this region here. So let me just Ctrl J to copy that onto a new layer and let’s right click here and I’ll hide all other layers so we can just see that.
So one of the things I do want to do is maybe exclude this from the selection there. So why don’t we just grab our Quick Select Tool and I’m just going to go around there and we’re just going to grab the edges of our lady because we don’t want to mess that up and we could even go try and get down there on the dress; beautiful, that worked. And let me just choose, select a mask. I just want to clean that up a little bit, put a little radius on there. Make sure that it goes to a selection. Click OK and what I’m going to do is I’m just going to hit Delete and turn off that selection, so, you know, because it’s still underneath, right? So what we’re looking for is just this area that we want to clean up here.
All right, so this is going to be tough. Now here is the way I would approach this. What I would do is actually select out this veil. So, let’s do that now. We’re going to choose Select and under the Select, we’re going to choose to use the Color Range. And if I click on here, what it’s going to do is it’s going to select that veil and we want to kind of select that, so semi-transparent subject. So I’m just going to go down a little bit there and that’s not bad and I’m just going to click OK, and then hit Ctrl J, copy that to a new layer. So if we look at that layer, what we’ve done is we’ve made that semi-transparent selection, so we’ve got this veil that we could put back on later on. All right, so now here’s our trouble area that we’re dealing with. So why don’t we do this and a couple of selections.
First thing we’re going to do once again is lock our transparency down. Let’s grab just this area here, so I’m going to grab that just around there and what we’re going to do is we’re just going to paint this. So let me just grab the Brush Tool here, the Option to select that color, and then I’m just going to kind of clean that up by just painting on to that area.
Make sure our Opacity is set to 100, turn Pressure off and we can just paint that color. All right, so we’re just painting that back in, Ctrl D and let me just paint right up to that edge there, all right. And if it doesn’t quite work, we can blend this in later; it’s not a problem. So what we’re going to do is we’re actually just going to paint some of this out. See what I’m doing? And then maybe go to a softer edge brush in this case. Now some of this you could use the Content Aware Tool, it’s right here too. But in this situation, I’m thinking just painting with color sometimes works.
So you’re probably looking to some magical thing, right? Sometimes it takes a little bit of work. So we’re just going to paint this out in this area, all right? And once again, you could be using the Spot Tool; I’m just using the Paint Brush and the reason I believe I can get away with this is because I’ve created that other layer on top, so we’re just kind of going in here. Not too bad, right, but if I turn on this other layer here with that veil, notice it kind of brings it back in, but I do need to clean out some of that too because as I notice in here, we’ve got some weirdness going on there so let’s just get rid of that.
Now is the time we’re actually going to go in and use that Clone Stamp Tool. So let’s grab that Clone Stamp and I’m going to create, yet, a new layer above and I’m going to make sure that I’m sampling all layers and what I’m going to do is I’m just going to go under here and I’m going to grab this, and I’m going to hold down the Alt or the Option key to create a selection and move up there and see when it kind of fits in there. You see the Overlay? Just kind of click and that cleans it up.
So let’s grab it there. Now, remember, this does not have to be exactly, exactly perfect. What it needs to be is good enough to sell this to the viewer. So they’re not going to see, necessarily, those issues because our eyes are going to go directly there, but the person looking at the photograph doesn’t necessarily know there ever was a power pole pylon thing there behind there, so they’re not necessarily looking for it, whereas we are. But we can get pretty good here, so notice this, I’m just cloning. Nice going there and that Overlay really helps, Alt Option and then just see how it can line it up nicely and click. And one of the big keys that’s helping us right now is making sure that we’ve got the Protect the Transparency turned on down here.
All right, so let’s have a look. If we turn that on, we can see that’s looking not too bad. Let’s turn that on up there. Turn that on and go all the way up and you can see we’re getting very, very close. Excellent. So we got a little bit more work to do here. Notice that that’s got a little more work; we’ll come to that.
But first of all, let’s get rid of this in here. So what we want to do is just make a selection. This one will be easy. We’ll just make the selection around the faces and let’s just grab around our couple there and I’m going to hold the Alt or the Option key to go in here and just kind of make a selection. We’re going to go smaller.
And you’ll see like really the key to a lot of this is just not trying to do everything in one hit; it’s to approach it one little bit at a time. And then by doing that, we can get something like this, which is a very, very difficult clean up job. This is not one of those little tutorials where I just took the same color background, click once and “Look at that,” like magic.
Now this is real world stuff that we’re doing here. All right, so let’s grab there. Looking good, we got our selection, so let’s Command Shift I, so we’re inverting our selection. Grab and select the mask. I just want to kind of clean it up a little bit. Just grab a little radius, click OK.
All right, so we’re going to select this top layer again and why don’t we use our Clone Stamp Tool for this, so we’re just going to grab our Clone Stamp, Option Click at the top here to grab that cloning region, and notice that we can clone in here, but their faces are now going to be protected because of that selection, see that?
Let’s grab a little bit of that tree and the thing is when you rebuild this, you don’t have to rebuild the trees exactly as they were because no one knows what they used to look like. So, you know, doing our own thing with the trees is fine so Ctrl D and notice that that’s looking a lot better.
All right, so there we go. It’s looking a lot better. It still got a little bit of weirdness going on in here, and at this point here, we can fix this just using our Clone Stamp Tool. So let me hit the Option key to create a section there. Let’s make it a little bigger and we’re just going to clean this up. So we’re just trying to get rid of those little lines in there.
All right, I sped some of that up to save you guys some of the boredom. But now if we go back, you get the general idea of what we’ve been out to do there. So, if we look at this photograph here, before, and then we look at our after, we’ve been able to get rid of those distractions. So those are tools that you can use over and over again on different types of photographs. You can see how you can quickly remove different distractions and things like that from your photographs.
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