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Removing background distractions

From: Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training

Video: Removing background distractions

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.

Removing background distractions

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training
Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training

175 video lessons · 25510 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 22s
    1. Introduction
      2m 35s
    2. Using the exercise files
      47s
  2. 16m 24s
    1. Initial retouching considerations
      5m 21s
    2. Retouching workflow strategies
      3m 58s
    3. Retouching roadmap: Making notes
      2m 33s
    4. Using a Wacom Tablet
      2m 21s
    5. Resources and inspiration
      2m 11s
  3. 19m 44s
    1. White balancing in Adobe Camera Raw
      5m 51s
    2. White balancing with curves
      3m 10s
    3. Fine-tuning color with curves
      2m 17s
    4. Color-correcting white and black points in a photo
      3m 32s
    5. Color-correcting with a color card
      2m 59s
    6. Applying curves adjustments to another image
      1m 55s
  4. 35m 37s
    1. Reducing red skin tones
      3m 36s
    2. Correcting and enhancing skin colors
      2m 46s
    3. Introducing skin tone color correction
      3m 0s
    4. Color-correcting skin by the numbers
      2m 59s
    5. Color-correcting light skin tones: Male
      3m 25s
    6. Color-correcting light skin tones: Female
      2m 40s
    7. Color-correcting light skin tones: Children
      2m 46s
    8. Color-correcting medium light skin tones: Female
      2m 46s
    9. Color-correcting medium dark skin tones: Male
      3m 44s
    10. Color-correcting dark skin tones: Male
      5m 15s
    11. Color-correcting dark skin tones: Female
      2m 40s
  5. 34m 28s
    1. Using the Spot Removal tool
      5m 11s
    2. Deconstructing Clone and Heal spot removal
      2m 59s
    3. Cleaning up small skin variations
      5m 36s
    4. Reducing blemishes and skin shine
      3m 53s
    5. Cleaning up a portrait backdrop
      1m 39s
    6. Cleaning up a backdrop
      4m 33s
    7. Reducing wrinkles and Camera Raw workflow
      7m 46s
    8. Removing lens dust from images
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 1m
    1. Creative tip: Leaving crumbs
      1m 8s
    2. Removing background distractions
      7m 31s
    3. Removing elements with the Patch tool
      8m 27s
    4. Removing T-shirt graphics
      4m 6s
    5. Removing distractions near subjects
      6m 5s
    6. Simplifying a background
      7m 24s
    7. Cleaning up small facial details
      5m 50s
    8. Simple skin retouching project
      7m 29s
    9. Reducing hot spots
      4m 55s
    10. Cleaning up small hair details
      9m 2s
  7. 19m 39s
    1. Taking notes on an image
      2m 8s
    2. Cleaning up small details
      7m 12s
    3. Improving an eyebrow
      4m 13s
    4. Working on shadows
      6m 6s
  8. 15m 36s
    1. Cleaning up the background
      4m 27s
    2. Creative tip: Letting go of perfection
      1m 25s
    3. Improving the face
      5m 8s
    4. Cleaning up the details
      4m 36s
  9. 24m 41s
    1. Cleaning up the background
      5m 43s
    2. Improving background tone and texture
      6m 21s
    3. Fixing details and wrinkles
      4m 33s
    4. Final detail corrections
      4m 22s
    5. Bonus color enhancements
      3m 42s
  10. 38m 49s
    1. Creative tip: Movie critic
      58s
    2. Correcting tone with the Adjustment brush: Male
      5m 31s
    3. Correcting tone with the Adjustment brush: Female
      4m 58s
    4. Brightening with the Dodge tool
      3m 37s
    5. Correcting tone with curves
      5m 9s
    6. Enhancing with curves and the Burn tool
      3m 40s
    7. Quickly correcting tone with curves
      3m 35s
    8. Brightening with soft light blending
      4m 35s
    9. Darkening corners with soft light blending
      3m 54s
    10. Enhancing tone with shadows and highlights
      2m 52s
  11. 36m 11s
    1. Reducing shallow wrinkles with the Healing brush
      4m 32s
    2. Reducing wrinkles with Clone Stamp blending
      4m 2s
    3. Reducing deeper wrinkles with the Healing brush
      5m 57s
    4. Organizing layers and masking
      3m 15s
    5. Using the Dodge tool and blending modes on wrinkles
      4m 9s
    6. Using cloning, healing, and curves on wrinkles
      7m 33s
    7. Removing face and garment wrinkles for a magazine cover
      6m 43s
  12. 1h 1m
    1. Creative tip: Art and craft
      59s
    2. Adding sparkle to the eyes
      4m 25s
    3. Enhancing eye details
      3m 55s
    4. Brightening eyes
      6m 4s
    5. Improving eyes and darkening edges
      5m 38s
    6. Improving eyes with curves and color
      5m 3s
    7. Enhancing eyes with curves
      3m 42s
    8. Changing eye color
      6m 18s
    9. Adding a catch light
      2m 19s
    10. Sharpening eyes behind glasses
      4m 27s
    11. Whitening eyes
      2m 24s
    12. Whitening eyes in detail
      7m 44s
    13. Creating "Hollywood eyes"
      3m 24s
    14. Modifying pupils and eye edges
      5m 11s
  13. 15m 27s
    1. Reshaping an eyebrow
      3m 24s
    2. Improving texture around an eyebrow
      3m 8s
    3. Darkening an eyebrow
      3m 50s
    4. Adding mascara to increase eyelash density
      2m 11s
    5. Adding eyelashes
      2m 54s
  14. 18m 11s
    1. Enhancing lip color and tone
      3m 22s
    2. Using curves and Hue/Saturation to improve lips
      4m 28s
    3. Adding dimension, shine, tone, and color
      4m 11s
    4. Improving shape and tone
      6m 10s
  15. 11m 53s
    1. Creative tip: Ansel Adams
      1m 36s
    2. Whitening teeth with the Dodge tool
      2m 14s
    3. Whitening teeth with Hue/Saturation
      5m 17s
    4. Removing a gap between teeth
      2m 46s
  16. 35m 20s
    1. Patching a gap in hair
      2m 45s
    2. Covering hair discoloration
      3m 20s
    3. Brightening hair for emphasis
      3m 8s
    4. Brightening dark roots
      4m 27s
    5. Adding hair
      4m 39s
    6. Fixing roots and hair color
      4m 17s
    7. Removing flyaway hairs
      12m 44s
  17. 36m 12s
    1. Additional makeup resources
      1m 30s
    2. Brightening shadowed areas on the face
      2m 46s
    3. Adding color to the cheeks
      4m 59s
    4. Improving the lips
      3m 3s
    5. Modifying lip color
      4m 28s
    6. Adding makeup
      3m 31s
    7. Modifying eye makeup color
      4m 58s
    8. Increasing color saturation and variety
      3m 19s
    9. Changing eye makeup color
      3m 15s
    10. Creating dimensions with contours
      4m 23s
  18. 45m 5s
    1. Creative tip: Know when to hold 'em
      1m 18s
    2. Reducing skin highlights
      4m 15s
    3. Cleaning up small skin blemishes
      5m 19s
    4. Healing small skin blemishes
      3m 15s
    5. Minimizing color variance
      3m 31s
    6. Reducing small details
      4m 40s
    7. Advanced skin enhancement
      6m 17s
    8. Beauty skin workflow
      8m 50s
    9. Fashion project pt. 1: Background cleanup
      4m 21s
    10. Fashion project pt. 2: Skin cleanup
      3m 19s
  19. 1h 5m
    1. Basic skin cleanup
      2m 49s
    2. Advanced blemish removal
      6m 39s
    3. Skin softening
      7m 5s
    4. Basic skin cleanup
      3m 42s
    5. Enhancing texture and tone
      5m 12s
    6. Basic retouching final steps
      4m 27s
    7. Final skin softening
      6m 53s
    8. High-Pass skin softening
      7m 38s
    9. Creating a skin-softening action
      7m 18s
    10. Speeding up skin softening with masking
      7m 1s
    11. Skin cleanup and softening with Camera Raw
      6m 53s
  20. 57m 33s
    1. Creative tip: The ethics of retouching
      1m 31s
    2. Yoga project
      8m 52s
    3. Fashion project pt. 1: Improving the facial expression
      2m 44s
    4. Fashion project pt. 2: Changing the arms
      4m 43s
    5. Fashion project pt. 3: Modifying the legs
      2m 54s
    6. Fashion project pt. 4: Increasing the height
      2m 29s
    7. Fashion project pt. 5: Working with light
      6m 4s
    8. Flamenco project pt. 1: Modifying the waist
      3m 37s
    9. Flamenco project pt. 2: Improving the waist
      1m 54s
    10. Flamenco project pt. 3: Adding height
      2m 16s
    11. Flamenco project pt. 4: Color and tone
      2m 52s
    12. Muscles project pt. 1: Introducing the Liquefy filter
      2m 46s
    13. Muscles project pt. 2: Using the Liquefy filter
      5m 12s
    14. Muscles project pt. 3: Burning and dodging
      6m 19s
    15. Muscles project pt. 4: Using curves
      3m 20s
  21. 43m 31s
    1. Improving the jaw line with Forward Warp Liquefy
      3m 21s
    2. Improving the jaw line with Push Left Liquefy
      3m 25s
    3. Improving the jaw line with the Free Transform tool
      1m 55s
    4. Creating simple symmetry in the face
      7m 21s
    5. Improving the Shape of Eyes, Ears, Nose and Face
      3m 49s
    6. Tailor fitting a wedding dress
      2m 32s
    7. Improving the face
      3m 20s
    8. Reducing the stomach size
      4m 28s
    9. Correcting distortion
      8m 49s
    10. Combining multiple exposures
      4m 31s
  22. 46m 0s
    1. Creative tip: Seal on photography
      1m 28s
    2. Color-correcting skin tones
      4m 8s
    3. Reducing blemishes
      3m 33s
    4. Enhancing tone
      3m 22s
    5. Adding makeup
      5m 17s
    6. Creating dimension with contours
      2m 57s
    7. Sharpening eyes
      5m 22s
    8. Improving eyes
      4m 44s
    9. Lightening dark roots
      1m 26s
    10. Smoothing skin
      3m 38s
    11. Enhancing color
      3m 29s
    12. Modifying the background
      6m 36s
  23. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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