Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Retouch photos with TouchRetouch, part of Mobile Photography Weekly.
- Hi, I'm Sean, and this week, I want to talk to you a little bit about retouching on a mobile device and specifically on a phone. Now retouching is something that you might not think is very doable on the small screen of a phone, but a lot of it really depends on the app that you're using and the individual photo you're working on, how tricky it is and managing your expectations. But there's a really cool retouching app that I use a lot. It's available for both iOS and Android. It's called TouchRetouch and I found to be very, very useful.
So let's go in and take a look at that. So I'm going to come to my Albums here, and I've got a Retouching album set up here. And I got a couple examples to show you some of the functionality that this app offers. So down at the bottom here, we have the Object Removal, we have Quick Retouch, Line Removal and a Clone Stamp. Let's start with Object Removal. I've got two ways to specify how I'm going to remove the object or to tell the app what I want to remove.
I've got a brush and I have a lasso tool. There's also an eraser if I make a mistake. So my objective with this composition, I really want to get rid of this palm tree coming in from the side. I just think it would be a lot better photograph without that there and it just wasn't practical to go and chainsaw down the tree. So I'm going to get the lasso tool and one of the things I like about TouchRetouch is that as I'm drawing, it shows me a little loupe view over here. And that's really useful because, of course, I can't see what's going on under my finger there.
So that's really a downfall of the retouching features of a lot of apps, is that it's hard to see what's under your finger, so I really appreciate this loupe view. Now I didn't quite get all of the end there, so I'm going to use two fingers to scooch the picture over and I'll get that brush and just kind of brush along the side there, just to make sure I got all of it, and now all I have to do is tap this little Go button down here in the lower corner and presto, change-o, it is done. So that is pretty cool. Very, very useful there.
Now I see a little bit of a problem right there, so I'm just going to come back here and get the Quick Retouch and I'll just paint over that and there we go, that's taken care of. So for simple object removal, TouchRetouch does a really excellent job. Let's go get another picture and try another retouching scenario. Again, I'll come back to my Retouching album here. So this is a pretty common situation. You have a power line or some other sort of line running through the picture. Well, fortunately, TouchRetouch does have a Line Removal Tool.
Let's see how that works. So there's two tools here. There's Line Remover and Segment Remover. The cool thing about the Line Remover is that you don't even have to go over the entire line. Basically, you start to specify where the line is and the app senses where the line extends through the image and it takes it out. I'm going to come into my settings for the line and I can choose three different weights, in terms of how thick the line is. I'm going to choose a thick line there. And what I'm going to do is just going to come over this and I'm going to start to drag over that line, that's all.
I haven't done the whole thing and boom, it's done. That is just so, so cool and very, very useful. One of the most common types of retouching you're likely going to want to do to some of your images. But let's take that a step further. Let me come back out and get a different image with a tricker line. Same wire, same trees, but now we have the line going through the trees. So what are we going to do with that? Again, let's go into Line Removal. Get my settings and get the thicker line.
And what I'm going to do is just start to drag over the line here and see what it does. Wow, that's pretty impressive. Look at that, how it went through the trees there. Let's do the before and after up here. So that is a really great job and I didn't even have to drag through there. So let's see if we can finish this off here. And very, very impressive. It's done a really excellent job reconstructing what was behind the line, the tree trunk and some of the palm fronds there.
So I don't know about you, but I find that to be pretty impressive and that didn't take me more than just a minute or two. Probably could have taken less time if I wasn't talking my way through it. Well, let's up the ante now a bit and give it a little bit more of a complex retouching job. So in this shot, what I want to do is I want to remove the crane. Now that's a fairly easy thing to do, you might think, because the crane is against a blank, empty sky, and for most of it, you're right.
It would be easy to do. Where it gets tricky is where the crane intersects with the top of the building here, that's the tricky part. So let's see what we can do to address that. I'm going to start off with the Quick Repair Tool and I'm just going to use the brush there. There's also an option for removing blemishes, but I'm just going to use the brush. If you're familiar with Photoshop, it's a bit like the Spot Healing Brush. And so it's done a pretty good job on the top part of that crane, a little bit of a rough edge on the sky there.
And let's come down and see how much of the bottom part of the crane we can get. I'm not going to be able to do all of it with this, but that's pretty good. So now, let's go up a little bit closer and let's go in and get the Clone Stamp tool. So with the Clone Stamp tool, I've got a brush, I have an eraser and I have a mirroring option. I'm not going to use the mirroring option here, that's just where you need to flip something to retouch it. What I'm going to do is I'm going to go into my settings here and adjust the size of the brush and, initially, I'm going to have it set to 100% and the hardness is going to be somewhat soft.
And what I'm going to do is I'm just going to tap over here on this part of the sky and that tells the app, hey, this is where I want to copy from. Then I'm going to come here and start to clone that out. And I'm going to get fairly close to the edge of the building and that's about as close as I can get there. Now I'm going to come in, actually I've kind of come over the top of the building, so I'll get the eraser, let's make my brush size a bit smaller here and then with the eraser, I can come in here and restore that edge there.
There we go. This is where it gets a little bit more tedious and you have to spend a little bit more time. So I'm going to make my brush size small here. I'm going to bring the hardness up, 'cause I want to start wanting to have a harder edge brush as I get close to the edge of that building there. Go back to my brush there, tap over here to tell it I want to copy from that area and then come in here and this is where having the hard edge brush makes all the difference.
So you can see I can get really close to the edge of that building and take out the structure of that crane. And I'm not going to try to finish the whole thing here. I think you get the idea what's going on. So we started out with the really easy stuff that's almost like magic and now we're getting into what is common for a lot of retouching, which is just painstaking work and having a lot of patience.
And if I come out here, we can see the before and after how that has been removed. Now I do want to mention one thing about retouching on the phone versus doing it on the computer. There's certainly going to be some situations where the type of retouching you need to do is just so complex that you're just not able to do it on the phone with dragging your finger around on a touch screen. There are definitely going to be times you're going to want to bring the image over onto a computer and use a program such as Adobe Photoshop to do more precise retouching and that's just going to give you a lot more control.
But for a lot of situations, the stuff that you can do with TouchRetouch on your smartphone is pretty amazing and will probably get you 90% of the way there. So very cool app. Check it out.