Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Simplifying the background with the Clone tool

From: Photoshop for Photographers: Portrait Retouching

Video: Simplifying the background with the Clone tool

In the previous movie we looked at how we could reduce distracting elements of a photograph that had a pretty simple background. Well, what about a situation like this where the background is really complicated? Well, what I want to do here with this photograph is I want to reduce and simplify the background in order to make a stronger portrait. You'll notice there is this line in the background, and this line is going straight into his head. I know this happens so often to us in portraits. We're focusing on the subject; we don't see this element in the background. So I need to fix this after the fact.

Simplifying the background with the Clone tool

In the previous movie we looked at how we could reduce distracting elements of a photograph that had a pretty simple background. Well, what about a situation like this where the background is really complicated? Well, what I want to do here with this photograph is I want to reduce and simplify the background in order to make a stronger portrait. You'll notice there is this line in the background, and this line is going straight into his head. I know this happens so often to us in portraits. We're focusing on the subject; we don't see this element in the background. So I need to fix this after the fact.

Now I've already worked on this image a little bit in Lightroom. Yet there's only so much that you can do there. To finish off this project, I really need to bring it into Photoshop, and to work on the background. So let's create a new layer. Let's do that by way of the shortcut we learned in the last movie that Shift+Command+N on a Mac or Shift+ Ctrl+N on Windows, and let's name this new layer, clean up. Next press Enter or Return to create that layer. Well, the tool that we're going to use here is the Clone Stamp tool. In order to select it, press the S key or click on it in the Tools panel.

Next, you want to make sure you're using Aligned and also that you're sampling All Layers, so that you can clone or clean up, up to this top layer. The way that we're going to use this tool is we're going to lower our opacity. There are few different ways you can do this. You can either, click and drag this slider, or you can do this more quickly by pressing a number on your keyboard. Press 4 and it will go to 40%. Press 7 and it will go to 70%, or if you press a number twice, it will then go to say 33% if you press 3 twice.

Well, here let's go to 45%. We'll press 4 and 5, so that we can diminish or lessen this effect. Next, we want a really soft edge brush. So over here in the options bar, let's remove all of the hardness from our brush. Next, we can click out of that dialog in order to close it, and then position your cursor over the area that you want to retouch, in this case the line, and decrease your brush size until it's just a little bit bigger than the blemish that you want to remove. And we want a small brush; so that we're not cloning or duplicating content in a way that we're creating a new pattern that's identifiable and kind of looks fake.

So by having a small brush at a low opacity, this will help us out. Here we can Option+Click or Alt+Click on the image, and then go ahead click and paint, and that's Option+Click on a Mac, Alt+Click on Windows, and what we'll do is we'll paint multiple times over this area. Then after making the initial improvement, I want you to reposition where you're Option+Click or Alt+Clicking. Here I'll move over to this area, Option+Click or Alt+Click. I'm going to make my brush a little bit bigger, and then paint over that as well, and by selecting different areas or by Option+Clicking or Alt+Clicking in different parts of your picture, what you can do is kind of build up or create your own texture there in the background.

In doing this, in a sense you're hiding all of the work that you've done, so that this looks more realistic, and so what I'm doing here is I'm pressing Option or Alt and then I paint a little bit. I press Option or Alt and then I paint a little bit more, and then in this way we can remove this item in a way that isn't drawing attention to that area. Well, let's also work on this edge over here, this bright edge. That's too distracting. It's going to draw the eye over there. I also perhaps want to darken up some other elements that I notice here in the image as well.

All right. Well here, rather than sampling near where we're going to correct, I want to sample all the way over on the opposite side of the image. In doing that and pressing Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and sampling there and then bringing that over, what we can in essence do is kind of hide our tracks even more. Because this isn't close to the area that we're working on we're able to bring in different content, and because we're doing this at a lower opacity, we can start to kind of bring this in a unique way. Next, Option+Click or Alt+Click over in this area near this, so that we can then blend those two together, and here we're just going to look to try to bring out these little elements.

I'll go ahead and make my way across this part of the photograph, pressing Option or Alt, sampling these different areas, trying to make the background a bit more simple. If there are other elements that you notice that are detracting from the photograph, go ahead and sample and then paint those away too. Sometimes what you'll do is diminish something; other times you may want to remove it altogether. All right. Well here I also want to work on this corner, so I'll make my brush a bit bigger, press Option or Alt again, and then go ahead and paint over that area.

And I think I'm laughing there because it seems like I keep saying press Option or Alt, and then keep selecting different areas. Well, that's exactly what we want to do, and by doing that and by moving quickly around to these different areas of our photograph, this can then allow us to work with these backgrounds, like this photograph, that are kind of busy. We can then clone away those problems by sampling different areas, by using the lower opacity to hide our tracks, so that we can then reduce and simplify, so that our portraits can be even stronger.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Photographers: Portrait Retouching
Photoshop for Photographers: Portrait Retouching

85 video lessons · 24124 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 58s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      54s
  2. 6m 49s
    1. Initial retouching considerations
      3m 51s
    2. Using a Wacom tablet
      1m 8s
    3. Exploring resources and finding inspiration
      1m 50s
  3. 37m 21s
    1. Where to begin?
      1m 19s
    2. Reviewing the basic cleanup tools
      3m 59s
    3. Removing small distractions
      2m 41s
    4. Using selections and cloning to remove distractions
      4m 26s
    5. Simplifying the background with the Clone tool
      5m 12s
    6. Removing a garment strap
      5m 17s
    7. Removing a distracting logo
      3m 43s
    8. Removing lint from a T-shirt
      3m 40s
    9. Cleaning up a backdrop with Content-Aware Fill
      2m 58s
    10. Cleaning up a backdrop with the Patch tool
      4m 6s
  4. 22m 31s
    1. Extending a real-world scene, part 1
      4m 6s
    2. Extending a real-world scene, part 2
      4m 20s
    3. Removing distractions for a creative effect
      4m 31s
    4. Using selections and Free Transform to rebuild image elements
      3m 44s
    5. Moving a person with Content-Aware Move
      5m 50s
  5. 28m 48s
    1. Removing small details from the face
      4m 50s
    2. Retouching skin
      4m 35s
    3. Reducing hotspots, part 1
      4m 32s
    4. Reducing hotspots, part 2
      4m 36s
    5. Reducing brightness with selections and curves
      3m 26s
    6. Using Hue/Saturation to minimize variations in skin color
      3m 45s
    7. Removing tan lines
      1m 53s
    8. Leaving imperfections in portraits
      1m 11s
  6. 37m 15s
    1. Correcting tone with curves and masking
      5m 39s
    2. Fixing exposure and color with curves
      4m 14s
    3. Correcting tone with blending modes and masking
      5m 22s
    4. Using Shadows/Highlights to improve exposure
      5m 28s
    5. Using Soft Light layer blending to burn and dodge
      4m 37s
    6. Exploring the burning-and-dodging workflow
      6m 35s
    7. Using multiple techniques to improve shadows and highlights
      5m 20s
  7. 22m 42s
    1. Reducing wrinkles with the Healing Brush
      7m 21s
    2. Working on wrinkles and details
      6m 51s
    3. Fine-tuning and making final adjustments on wrinkles
      3m 44s
    4. Quick wrinkle reduction with the Patch tool
      4m 46s
  8. 43m 27s
    1. Enhancing eyes with adjustment layers and blending
      4m 7s
    2. Adding sparkle to the eyes
      4m 38s
    3. Increasing color with Colorize and blending modes
      5m 37s
    4. Rebuilding the edge of the eye
      6m 34s
    5. Whitening eyes, part 1
      3m 54s
    6. Whitening eyes, part 2
      5m 42s
    7. Removing eye veins and sharpening eyes behind glasses
      7m 8s
    8. Correcting color and tone behind glasses
      5m 47s
  9. 11m 26s
    1. Trimming eyebrows
      5m 25s
    2. Darkening eyebrows
      2m 48s
    3. Adding mascara to darken eyelashes
      3m 13s
  10. 16m 47s
    1. Enhancing lip color and tone with curves and masking
      4m 23s
    2. Using Color Balance and blending modes to improve the look of lips
      7m 41s
    3. Improving the look of lips with the Burn and Dodge tools
      4m 43s
  11. 13m 49s
    1. Teeth whitening made easy
      2m 33s
    2. Exploring advanced teeth whitening
      5m 0s
    3. Automating teeth whitening with actions
      5m 9s
    4. A note on retouching facial features
      1m 7s
  12. 35m 22s
    1. Covering and correcting hair discoloration
      5m 48s
    2. Fixing the color of hair roots
      3m 3s
    3. Making creative color adjustments to hair
      2m 44s
    4. Patching a gap in hair
      4m 27s
    5. Removing flyaway hairs
      6m 18s
    6. Fixing flyaway hairs with a complicated background
      5m 57s
    7. Adding accents and creative color to a fashion photograph
      7m 5s
  13. 27m 22s
    1. Brightening shadow areas on the face
      4m 22s
    2. Adding color to the cheeks and eyelids
      4m 30s
    3. Modifying eye makeup color
      3m 52s
    4. Increasing color saturation and variety
      4m 17s
    5. Enhancing color with the Lab Color space
      5m 44s
    6. Using Selective Color to create vibrant color
      3m 29s
    7. Additional makeup resources
      1m 8s
  14. 23m 15s
    1. High-pass skin softening
      6m 48s
    2. Creating a mask for the skin
      4m 23s
    3. Softening and adding even texture to the skin
      5m 36s
    4. Adding a soft glow to the skin and details
      6m 28s
  15. 34m 36s
    1. Adding dimension using curves and masking
      3m 50s
    2. Reshaping a jawline with Liquify
      4m 30s
    3. Reshaping a shirt with Liquify
      3m 13s
    4. Reshaping a shoulder with Liquify
      3m 22s
    5. Reshaping the body with Liquify
      2m 35s
    6. Using the Warp tool to reshape a jawline
      3m 33s
    7. Modifying the body with the Warp tool
      3m 35s
    8. Changing shape with selections and masking
      8m 32s
    9. Tips for thoughtful portrait retouching
      1m 26s
  16. 36s
    1. Goodbye
      36s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop for Photographers: Portrait Retouching.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.