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As much as I love the relatively automated cleanup tools available in Photoshop Elements, sometimes I find that they don't quite give me the best results. And in those cases, I'll take a more manual approach. With this photo, I was photographing horses on a farm and using a very wide angle lens. So I had a great field of view. The problem is with the sun behind me and because I wasn't being all that careful, I included the shadow of my head at the bottom of the frame. What I found with this image is that the normal image cleanup tools don't produce a great result. So this is a great example of a situation where a more manual approach actually works really well.
I'll start off by zooming in on this area so that I can get a better look at it. I'll hold the Ctrl and Spacebar keys on Windows or the Cmd and Spacebar keys on Macintosh. And then click and drag to define the area I'd like to take a closer look at. When I release the mouse, that area will be zoomed in to fill the available space, and I can then create a selection of the area that I want to clean up. I'll use the Lasso tool for this. Right now I have the Magnetic Lasso at the forefront, so I'll click and hold the mouse.
On the Magnetic Lasso tool button to bring up the Flyout menu, and then I'll choose the regular Lasso tool. Now I can create a selection of the area that I want to correct. But I'll make sure that that selection is a bit larger than the actual area I need to clean up. So I'll go all the way around, including more than just the shadow. And then loop back, once I get to the edge of the image, back to my original starting point. This gives me a selection of the area that I need to fix. And now, I need to find a good source of pixels for this area. I'll go ahead and zoom out just a little bit.
And pan across, and now, still with my Lasso tool active, I'll point inside the selection and click and drag over to a different area of the image. I think this area over here might work out pretty well as far as replacing the shadow pixels. So with that area of the image selected, I'll choose Layer>New, and then Layer via Copy from the menu. That will copy the selected pixels from my background image layer.
Since the background image layer is the active layer on the Layers panel, creating a brand new layer from those pixels. I'll then choose the Move tool, and if I simply click and drag on the image, you'll see that I'm able to move the pixels that I copied. I'll continue to drag them into position, covering up the shadow and trying to align things so that they match up as well as possible. Here for example you can see that the pixels I copied are lining up quite nicely with a couple of stalks of grass here.
So that looks to be a good position to place this layer. Of course you probably can tell rather easily that I have a bit of a problem here there's an obvious edge to the pixels that I copied. I need to blend that into the rest of the image. To do that I'll simply choose the Eraser tool, then I'll move my mouse over the image and adjust the brush size as needed. I'll use the left Square Bracket key to reduce the size of the brush. Or the right square bracket key to increase the size of the brush.
And I'll also make sure that I'm working with a soft edged brush. I want to have a brush with a soft edge so that the fix will blend in to the surrounding. I'll fine-tune the brush size here. And then simply click and drag along that crisp edge, the obvious boundary of the pixels that I had copied, so that I can erase that portion of the pixels. That will allow the pixels to then blend in much more smoothly with the surrounding area. I'll go ahead and turn off the visibility of my background image layer so that you can see the pixels that I copied. And you'll notice that they fade off along the edges because I erased with a soft edge brush.
And turning on the visibility of my background image layer once again, you can see that erasing those edge pixels helps produce a seamless result. I can also turn off the new layer that I created so that you can see the shadow and then turn on the layer so we can see the fix. That looks to be a good adjustment so I'll go ahead and choose Layer>Flatten Image so that I can flatten the image back to a single layer. And then save this as my final result. So you can see, by manually copying pixels from one area of an image to another and then blending them in with the surroundings. You can produce a good fix even when the automatic tools don't give you what you're looking for.
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