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- The ethics of cleanup
- Reviewing the image
- Nondestructive cleanup
- Cleanup tools and techniques
- Removing strong color casts
- Gradient adjustments
- Extending the frame
- Using multiple exposures to remove subjects from an image
Skill Level Beginner
It goes without saying that taking a closer look at your images will help you discover blemishes that you might otherwise have missed. For example here, we're looking at a relatively small version of the image. We're not zoomed in much at all. If we zoomed in further to take a closer look, then it might be a little bit easier to identify the dust spots that actually are all over the sky in this image. Now keep in mind that dust spots are thought to be only in the sky. The real issue there is that they are more visible in the sky, because the sky tends to be bright and tends to be relatively monochromatic.
Whereas in the grasses here if there were some dust spots, they would certainly blend in and be more difficult to see. In fact, so much more difficult to see that you might not even need to worry about cleaning them up at all. You might not even ever find them. But sometimes even taking a closer look at the image, you might miss some dust spots. And one little trick that I use in order to find those dust spots or other blemishes, is to apply some relatively strong adjustments to the image. In many cases this will be a Hue aturation adjustment, in other words I'll apply a Curves Adjustment. Let me show you both of those, I'll go ahead and add a Hue Saturation Adjustment layer by clicking on the Add Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel.
And then choosing Hue Saturation from the pop up menu, and then I'll take that saturation slider and drag it up as high as it goes all the way to plus 100. And you might notice that some of those dust spots in the sky are now a little bit easier to see, they stand out just a little bit better. I'll go ahead and turn off the Hue Saturation Adjustment just by clicking the Eye icon. And then I'll add a Curves Adjustment, and this is actually an adjustment that I'll use even more often than Hue Saturation to identify dust spots. And usually just applying a very strong darkening to the image. So dragging the curve downward significantly, will make it much, much easier to see the various dust spots within the image. So now I think it's quite obvious that we have a lot of dust spots in the sky. I'm going to go ahead and reset the Curves Adjustment.
Another technique that I'll sometimes use is to exaggerate contrast. So bring the black point and the white point in rather dramatically, so that we're creating extreme contrast in the image. And there again we see that all of those dust spots are really being highlighted. They really stand out quite nicely there. Well, maybe not exactly nicely, but at least we can see them a little bit better, so we'll know they're there, and we can of course approach a cleanup task. In this case frankly, I might move on to another image. It's obviously not exactly an award winning image in the first place, and there's a fair amount of image cleanup work to be done here. So I might just want to move on to a different image. But the point is that we can use adjustments to exaggerate the image, to exaggerate saturation, to exaggerate contrast.
Or just to exaggerate the overall tonality, so that the various blemishes that we want to focus our attention on, are a little bit easier to see.