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Nine times out of ten, when recreating and repairing backgrounds, all the information you need is in the image itself. For example, when we're building the trees in this image, why go looking for an outside source of the tree to add to the image when there's plenty of trees right here to choose from? The only thing you need to do is to make sure it doesn't look like an exact clone of the trees. Begin by going to the Create a new layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and click to add a new blank layer on top of the background.
Next, we'll go over to our Tool panel and select our Clone Stamp tool. We need to recreate this line of trees right here, so a good place to begin would be this line over here, which is basically on the same level. So hold down your Alt or your Option key and select a point to start cloning from. I keep my little preview up, which started with Photoshop CS4, because I like to keep an eye on where I'm going to start, and that's a good way to do that.
If the tones are radically different, let's not worry about that right now. We're just trying to get our trees filled in. One of the keys of cloning this much area is to change your source point often. You see I'm getting into a real danger zone here; I'm getting into the roof of this house. So I need to change my source point and continue doing that. Also, because you don't want an area to look like an exact clone and if you keep going just in one source point, it's going to look like an exact clone, because it will be an exact clone.
Just change that up very often. We'll get some other tones in here--not the sky. Just go back over it. We'll get this area here. I don't want an exact clone of all these things, so I need to go back over this area. Be careful of all the little landmines you can run into. These stones look like they're in a pattern, so we can just reuse that and go along with it. Bring the road out a little bit.
I'm going to sample far down this grass right here, because I don't want to get too close to the area. Just try to keep it looking natural, as it would occur in nature. There obviously wouldn't be a piece of a road or the edge of a photo in nature sticking right there. If you see a pattern that reoccurs like these rocks, just continue that pattern. Straighten this line up right here. Now this isn't going to be perfect of course, because of the sake of time, but this really doesn't take that long to do this sort of thing.
You just have to be careful that you're not obviously going over areas. Readjust your brush size. You can hold down your open and closed bracket keys, make your brush a little bigger. Try to keep it smaller on areas like the trees, because they have those patterns that you don't want to get stuck in. But areas like the sky, you can make your brush probably a bit bigger. Now you see this area right here and this area right here is an exact clone.
So that's going to look pretty bad. Don't want my brush that big. Get another source point, just go over that. And we can also fix it in another way, which I'll show you in just a second. Lighten the sky up here tight here. Let's say we want maybe another bit of large tree. So what we'll do is go to our Background layer and select one of your selection tools. I'll use the Lasso tool. And let's put a selection around this taller tree and put it on its own layer using Ctrl+J or Command+J. Now I'm going to move it up at the top of the layer stack so it's over the cloned area we just did.
Go up to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal and then use your Move tool. Let's slide it over here so it's peeking out of the edge. Now one thing we're going to want to get rid of, see this little area in the tree, this round area? That identifies that as being a clone to me. So go back to your Clone Stamp, hold down Alt or Option. Let's lower our brush with our open bracket key, Alt or Option, select another area, just go over that. That's a little better.
Now we want to blend it, so you can go over to your Eraser tool. Lower the Opacity to around 20%, and just go lightly over the areas where you can see how you cut it from another area. The 20% opacity is just whittling away at it very, very lightly. If you don't like an area, just lightly go over it. And maybe use your Move tool and your arrow keys, take it over just a little bit. Just have it peeking through.
Now we want to blend our areas in just a little bit, so we're going to have to combine our layers. We're going to use our Patch tool, which we can't use on a blank layer; it has to be used on an image layer itself. So hold down Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E on a PC, Shift+Command+Option+E on a Mac to make a new combined layer. Go over and select your Patch tool, and let's start to patch some of the areas that look a little obvious. Bring them in together, bring it all together here.
Be careful for not to smudged areas. Blended, yes; smudgy, no. I want to blend the bottom of this tree in with the area on the bottom. It can look like some trees are going over it. That's okay with me. But again, be careful with the Patch tool not to make it look too cloned. These areas right here are repeat, repeat, repeat, and look very cloned.
That brings things together just a little bit. If you have areas in the sky you need to patch and get blended, that's good. Areas here at the edge of your road, just look real close, blend everything together. That's not perfect, but it's pretty good. Let's look at the before and then after we cloned in our new trees. All in all, not too bad. It could be cleaned up a little, but you don't have to crop your photo.
You have a nice new area, and hopefully no one will ever know that was cloned in. You have to admit, that was a pretty quick fix. If you take your time and just watch what you're doing and be sure not to repeat, hopefully no one is ever going to be able to know it wasn't like that right out of the camera. The key is to not panic, be careful of the details, and make sure everything looks like it goes together. Keep this in mind, and you'll be fixing instead of cropping in no time.
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