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A portrait can be a cherished possession for a lifetime, and now making perfect portraits is just one Photoshop course away. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his vast knowledge of Photoshop to focus on the specific tools every photographer needs to adjust images and keep them looking genuine. Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training explores this program's deep resources and inspires photographers to do their creative best with everything from blemishes to backdrops. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this chapter we are going to start to talk about how we can clean up our photographs using Photoshop. In this particular movie, I want to talk about using the Patch tool. Now this tool is phenomenal because it allows you to work on larger areas of your photograph. Now here I have this portrait of Beau Roulette. Beau is an amazing photographer, very creative guy. I like this portrait except I want to reduce and simplify even a little bit further. What I want to do is I want to remove some of the background distractions; in particular, I want to remove this tile. So go ahead and zoom in on that tile by pressing Command +Plus on a Mac, Ctrl+Plus on a PC.
Next, I want to select the Patch tool. Now there are a couple of different ways to select this tool. One way is to click on the icon for the Spot Healing Brush and then select the Patch tool. Another way that you could do this is by way of shortcut. For example, let's say you have the Move tool selected. You could then press the J key and then press Shift+J to toggle through the different tools in this set here until you see the icon that looks like a little patch that you would sew on a pair of jeans. All right. Well, now that I have that patch, I'm going to select Source. Now what that means is I'm able to select the area that I want to remove and then drag that to the Source area in order to remove it. All right. Well, I'm going to go ahead and make a selection and I'm actually going to make a little mistake with my selection. I'm going to make this mistake in order to illustrate how this happens so that it doesn't happen to you later.
All right. Well, I have a pretty good selection. I'll then click and drag, I'm going to click and drag to the left, make sure my lines are all lined up and then let go. Now when I let go, for the most part this looks good except if I go to Select and then Deselect, one of the things that happens is you can see that up top it brought in a little bit of this white here. So it brought in a little bit of darkness, also a little bit of white. Now why did that happen? Well, that happened because I made a selection along an edge of high contrast, so that's not going to work for me. In an addition, this is going to be pretty tricky to continue to work on because I'm working on the original background layer. So here is what we want to do. Let's undo all that we have done so far.
Press Command+Option+Z on a Mac, Ctrl+ Alt+Z, tap Z multiple times to go all the way back to the original state. The first thing that we want to do is on a Mac press Command+J, on a PC press Ctrl+J, in order to duplicate that background layer and we will go ahead and name this clean up. Next, we are going to grab the Patch tool, make a selection, and this time go past that area of contrast. In this case, I'm going a little bit higher here and then I'll go ahead and click and drag down, and again, going past areas of high contrast. Now, when I go ahead and click and drag this to the left, go ahead and make sure those lines are all lined up, let go off that, this is going to look really nice.
Now press Command+D on a Mac, Ctrl+D on a PC. That's a shortcut to deselect. Again, on a Mac, Command+D, on a PC, Ctrl+D. Now let's look at our before and after. Here is before and then after. Well, I notice a couple of things that are a little bit problematic here. One of the things that I notice is I have a repeating pattern, right? I have a dot and a little semi-arch there, dot and a semi-arch. I also have the same divot there and there, there and there, there and there, okay. I need to somehow disguise or hide this repeating pattern.
So what you can do is use the Patch tool. So go ahead and select the Patch tool, make sure I have that there. Select one of the areas where you see a repeating pattern and then go ahead and click and drag that into a new area. So a lot of times what you will need to do is use multiple patch selections in order to disguise how you are actually healing or removing this particular area. Now the nice thing about this is we have this on its own layer. Here is our before and after. Now we could continually turn that on and off to look for areas that are problematic. In this case, I'm noticing two things. One, I'm noticing I have a little problem area down here and also I'm not quite liking this top line because it repeats to this line over here. So for starters I'm going to go ahead and remove this little divot down below. Great, that's gone.
Command+D on a Mac, Ctrl+D on a PC to deselect. Next, I'll click on the Add Layer Mask icon. Now when I do that, I can then select my Brush tool, paint with black and I'm going to conceal or hide this particular part of that layer. So now the original line is there. Here is my before and after, right? So now I'm not bringing in any of that area. So as you can see, it's quite advantageous to work with layers when you are working with the Patch tool. All right. Well, let's go ahead and zoom out and see how we are doing with this photograph. So far so good, let's say we want to take this even further. We will select the Patch tool by pressing the J key and now we have that tool selected because it was a tool we have used most recently.
Now if I want to start using this tool, I can't click and drag right now. Now why is that? Well, if you notice I'm targeting the mask. I don't want to heal or patch the mask, what I want to do is work on the image, so I need to click in that icon there. Now also just for the record, my icons are kind of small. To make those bigger, right click or Ctrl-click and we can choose a larger thumbnail size so we can actually see the brackets around the image there as well. All right. Well, next thing that I want to do is remove some of these other little items here. I'm going to go ahead and remove this item on the wall, click and drag. I want to remove this big item up here and just looking to try to create much more simple photograph. Then I'm going to go ahead and continually kind of just click some little areas and just looking to try to hide any repeating pattern so I don't have any problems with that. I make sure all my lines are lined up and I'm going to go ahead and work through this image and I'm looking to try to create a little bit more of a simple backdrop.
Now, one of the things that I'll do after I have gotten some of the major blemishes out of the way is I'll make a larger selection. In this case, let's say we want to get rid of all of these blemishes over here. Well, let's go ahead and continue to remove just some of these smaller ones, those look pretty good. Now that we have done that we will go ahead and click and drag all the way around this area. Now that we have that, we can click and reposition this. Now when we click and reposition, this is going to be a little bit tricky because we want to get things lined up. They are not going to line up perfectly because of the angle of this photograph. So let's see how we have done. We press Command+D to deselect and then look at our before and after. Here is before and then after.
Well, so far so good, the lines aren't perfect in a few little areas here, yet I think they work in regards to this concrete wall because it isn't a perfect background concrete wall. Then of course, after we have done something that big, we need to go through, make some selections and just make sure to try to interrupt any repeating pattern that we may have. Go ahead and do that in a couple of different ways, clicking and dragging both directions just to try to spice this up a little bit and to try to make this background seem as seamless as possible.
Now at this particular image, we are doing a really good job, just a few more things to remove. So I'll navigate over here and again just use this Patch tool and remove these small little areas over here and make sure I don't have any repeating pattern so that it doesn't detract away from the intent of the photograph. Now I have two very different images. We will take a look at the before. There is the original and then the after. Again, two very different images, two very different intents and emotions with those images. One of the things that I'm trying to illustrate here is how much fun you can have with that Patch tool.
There really is so much that you can do. I am also trying to get you to begin to think about how you can create a workflow that includes and involves this Patch tool. Now it's not the best tool, it's not the only tool, rather it's a tool that you are going to use in combination with other tools as you seek to reduce and simplify as you seek to clean up your photographs in order to make them more powerful.
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