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Removing distractions

From: Digital Painting: Architecture

Video: Removing distractions

It's very useful to add visual elements to an image to tell a story. And we're going to be doing that in this title. But there's another thing that's equally important. And that is to remove anything in a photograph that doesn't serve the subject. This gets into the whole mindset of a photograph being true to reality. We're telling a story here, and this is going to end up being a painting. It's not a representation of reality. So, you need to keep in mind that you want to remove things that may somehow confuse the viewer or do something that leads them astray from looking at the image.

Removing distractions

It's very useful to add visual elements to an image to tell a story. And we're going to be doing that in this title. But there's another thing that's equally important. And that is to remove anything in a photograph that doesn't serve the subject. This gets into the whole mindset of a photograph being true to reality. We're telling a story here, and this is going to end up being a painting. It's not a representation of reality. So, you need to keep in mind that you want to remove things that may somehow confuse the viewer or do something that leads them astray from looking at the image.

When I'm working on an image, I apply what I call the What's That rule. And by that, I mean, if you're working on, or looking at an image, and you see something, and your first response to seeing it is, what's that? You want to get rid of it. Because, just as sure as you didn't know what it was, the viewer's not going to know what it is either. And you want to eliminate anything that distracts from telling a story, or cleanly telling exactly what this image is. Effectively, you're going to be creating an image that the viewer is going to read.

And if you throw oddball words and phrases and sentences into that image that make it hard to understand what it is, then you need to get rid of that. And I'm going to show you a couple areas in here that have that. If we go ahead and zoom up on here, right here towards the top, there's this guy. And when I first saw that you know what I said? What's that. And it took me a while to figure out that's actually a spotlight that is used to light the exterior of the building in front of it. It made me say, what's that, and therefore it's something that needs to be removed.

And this is pretty simple. This is really just a basic cloning technique here. So I'm going to go and ahead and get my Cloner tool, and I'm going to go ahead and hold down the Option key, and that sets our Source. So let's just grab an area right here. Let's just go in and start to eliminate this. Now, you don't have to be real precise here, because remember, we are going to ultimately paint over this. But I do sort of exercise, and I'll probably say this more than once throughout the title, I do try to clean up my photograph prior to painting it, to make it as clean and sharp and as good of a photo as it can possibly be. Even though I'm going to turn it into a completely non-photographic image, I feel the closer and more precise you get this image, the more it's going to translate into a painted result later on.

Here's another area. We need to fix this, and it's got a shadow over it. So, what I'll often do, especially in architecture, is look around, and sure enough, here's another piece of element that is exactly that same little architectural detail. So, once again, I'm going to hold down my Option or Alt key here, and grab that curved corner and then we'll just go right here and this lets me basically paint that in. I need to get the rest of the shadow out, so I'm just going to utilize this area over here. And remember, as I'm saying, this is not photo re-touching we're doing here.

It does not have to be absolutely perfect. So that's pretty much enough. I see, I guess, the standard that this light was on, it's still there. So we'll get rid of that. So basically, this is just using little local areas of the image to remove the offending area. So, that's pretty much gone. Now, I do see, there's still a little bit of noisy residue here. So let's just grab the top of this window right next to it. And use it just to clean that off. There we go.

So, we've gotten rid of this one element that was a What's That element. The other one is going to be a distraction and it's right here. Now, I'm going to tell you a little bit in advance that we are actually going to be removing this entire castle image from its environment and put it in another image. So, knowing that in advance, I'm not going to worry about all of this tree, but this area right here, that is actually in front of a little a bit of the architecture, I want to remove it. And I'm going to take advantage of the Content-Aware fill, but I first need to select these areas.

And how do I select such slender little elements? Well, I like to switch over to Quick-Mask mode, so I'm going to switch right here, and what that does is let me use black and white to be able to paint in these areas, and then eventually turn the painted mask into a selection. So, let's go ahead and grab a simple brush here, and I'm going to go ahead and use a hard-edged brush. And let's go ahead and reduce that size. I'm also going to zoom up. When you're working on something very small like this, it helps to get even over 100%, so let's get really close, and I'm going to reduce my brush size.

And normally, when you see me reducing brush size during this course, I'm using the left and right bracket keys. Left bracket to reduce size, and the right bracket to enlarge. So, I typically, as I'm working, will have my hand resting on those keys so I can very quickly adjust the brush size. So, I'm going to make this just a little larger than the size of the branches, and make sure that I'm painting wtih black. And so now I can just go in here. And paint these areas. So, I'm going to go through here and paint all these and then once we're done, I'll show you what the next step is.

Okay, so I've pretty much gone through here and covered all these areas where the offending branches are. One little trick I did. And this is from a knowledge of having used Content-Aware Fill in the past, is where there's this junction between the branch in front of the building, and then going into the sky. I tend to stop just short of the building and not crossing over it, because that's going to confuse the Content-Aware Fill Algorithm. And I want to be as kind to my friend Mr. Content-Aware Fill as I can.

So, we've covered that up. Let's back out here a little bit so you can see how much I did, and now there's a couple tricks we have to do here. First of all, we're going to switch back to Selection mode, so now we've selected, but if you look up here, actually what we've done is selected everything but the branches, so we need to do a reversal here, and I'm going to use Shift+Command+I to switch that around, so now I've truly selected those paint lines that I've drawn. It's a little confusing that the way Photoshop works.

Once you've used the Quick Mask, and you go out of it back into the selection, it's actually reverse from what you think you just did. And once you've done it a few times you get used to it, and you'll correct it on the way out. If, for some reason, things seem backwards to you, you haven't inverted the selection after you've painted it. So, let's go ahead and do the Content-Aware Fill and to quickly get to that, if I just hold down the Shift key and hit Delete, that brings up our Fill command, and we've got Content-Aware selected, so I'll go ahead and say OK.

And now it's just analyzing the image and let's go ahead and deselect, and there, it's gone. So, we've been able to pretty much, taking a little bit of time to be careful about drawing these lines, get rid of them. You could've used, say, a cloning tool, but trust me, trying to do that with a cloning tool would have been much more time intensive, whereas here it's just a matter of covering up the element that you want to remove and it pretty much removes it for you. And keep in mind too that while I play this game of, I want this to be as good of a photograph as I can before I paint it, I also have to balance that with the fact that I do know I'm going to paint this.

So, once we get into painting over all of this, all of this detail is going to go away. Your playing a little bit of a balancing act here. Yes, you want to correct it, make it as fine as you can, but on the other hand, don't sweat trying to make this absolutely perfect. Because this is going to be a painted image, you're going to lose a lot of the detail anyway. But it does pay to try to get this as close as you can to the photograph you want to work with going forward into a painting.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Digital Painting: Architecture
Digital Painting: Architecture

49 video lessons · 11839 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
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  1. 26m 4s
    1. Introduction
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
    3. Installing custom content
      2m 46s
    4. Setting up Wacom express keys
      13m 32s
    5. Setting Wacom touch ring preferences
      2m 14s
    6. Setting Wacom stylus preferences
      3m 24s
    7. Division of labor: Image prep and painting
      2m 33s
  2. 19m 9s
    1. Visual vocabularies
      3m 49s
    2. The vocabulary of photography
      7m 38s
    3. The vocabulary of painting
      4m 59s
    4. Looking at reality through a mental painting filter
      2m 43s
  3. 38m 57s
    1. Removing lens distortion with the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
      6m 47s
    2. Removing distractions
      8m 7s
    3. Don't be a slave to the original photograph
      10m 51s
    4. Correcting image adjustments
      2m 58s
    5. Telling a story with added image elements
      10m 14s
  4. 25m 2s
    1. The eye has a better sensor than a camera
      3m 2s
    2. Adding natural shadows with Field Blur
      8m 47s
    3. Using the Shadow/Highlight adjustment filter
      7m 48s
    4. Using the HDR Toning filter
      5m 25s
  5. 39m 56s
    1. Resolution is in the brushstrokes
      3m 26s
    2. Using the Surface Blur filter
      6m 17s
    3. Using the Displacement filter to add imperfections
      6m 22s
    4. Using the Oil Paint filter
      11m 51s
    5. Making tonal and color corrections
      12m 0s
  6. 22m 40s
    1. Nondestructive layer painting (NDLP): Your creative safety net
      5m 54s
    2. Setting up the Mixer Brush cloning action
      7m 29s
    3. Using cloning layers
      2m 58s
    4. Working with adjustment layers
      6m 19s
  7. 20m 7s
    1. Using tool presets and not brushes
      3m 41s
    2. Categorizing and organizing brushes
      6m 14s
    3. Adding canvas texture
      4m 51s
    4. Using Sample All Layers
      5m 21s
  8. 14m 48s
    1. You must destroy detail
      2m 9s
    2. Establishing compositional structure
      3m 46s
    3. Determining a style and sticking to it
      7m 30s
    4. Painting in progress: Finishing the underpainting layer
      1m 23s
  9. 26m 40s
    1. Understanding simplified indication
      9m 9s
    2. Understanding color: Warm advances, cool retreats
      4m 9s
    3. Painting in progress: Introducing texture to the intermediate layer
      13m 22s
  10. 40m 19s
    1. The play's the thing
      5m 18s
    2. Focusing on the subject through detail
      4m 40s
    3. Using a traditional paint color swatch set
      4m 37s
    4. Painting in progress: Completing the detail layer
      16m 25s
    5. Adding surface texture effects
      9m 19s
  11. 12m 47s
    1. It pays to wait a day
      1m 55s
    2. Adjusting your importance hierarchy
      4m 49s
    3. You'll never paint the same thing twice
      2m 7s
    4. Helpful resources and inspiration
      3m 56s

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