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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.
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