Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Cleaning up the background, part of Photoshop CS5: Fashion Retouching Projects.
In this mini cleanup project, we're going to take a two-step approach, where we're first going to work on cleaning up the background, then we'll make our way to working on the model. One of the things we notice about our background here is that we can see a lot of the backdrop. We also see some small blemishes. We want to clean all those up or remove those. One of the best ways to do this is to take advantage of a new tool or new feature, which is called Content-Aware Fill. Typically I like to do this on a new layer, just to have the safety of that new layer.
So let's press Command+J or Ctrl+J to duplicate our layer and then let's go ahead and name this layer c1 for cleanup 1. Next, I'm going to zoom in here and a lot of times what we'll do is in order to use this tool, we'll make a selection say with the Marquee tool and we'll click and drag over a problem area. If I click and drag over this area, which is some of the background on the top and the side, and apply Content-Aware Fill, it won't work. Let me show you what I mean. I'll press Shift+Delete here.
That will open up my Content-Aware Fill dialog, where I can make the selection to use Content-Aware. Click OK. Well, in this case, it's going to try to remove the background but it doesn't really know what it's supposed to do. So we need to help Photoshop out a little bit more. Here's how we're going to do that. I'll undo this by pressing Command+Z or Ctrl+Z, then I'm going to de-select by pressing Command+D or Ctrl+D. What we typically want to do is make a selection that's really tight. So in other words, it's really close to the problem area.
Then zoom out a little bit and then hold on the Shift key, and I'm going to make another selection over this problem area here, and I'm going to actually make it even tighter around the edge. I'll hold down the Shift key to add a little bit to that and then hold on the Shift key and may be add a little bit more down there. So you can see that I'm really trying to get close to the problem area. Now if ever my selection is too big, hold down Option and then click-and-drag and then you can subtract from a selection. All right, well let's zoom way in.
What we're going to do now is make our way around this image. Look for problem areas. There's a little problem area. Hold on the Shift key. Click and drag around it. And a nice thing about this is you can simply make your way through your document by pressing the Spacebar key, clicking and dragging, hold down the Shift key and then just add in these little problematic areas, little wrinkles, little blemishes to this selected content. And we're going to build out this selection here. We'll add to all these little selections. I'll hold on the Shift key, clicking and dragging.
All right, I think that's pretty good. The nice thing about this is we can do this all in one step. I'm zooming up by pressing Command+ Minus or Ctrl+Minus and at this stage all I need to do is press Shift+Delete. That will open up the Fill dialog. Here I want to choose Content-Aware. Now this won't always work perfectly on the first pass, but that's not that big of a deal. Let's click OK in order to apply this and see how Photoshop does removing or re-touching these areas.
In this case it did a really good job. If we zoom in, we can see that all of our edges look nice. The different wrinkles have been removed. Let's go to Select and choose Deselect, so we can really analyze this. Here's our before and then now our after. The only area I had a problem with was over here. It didn't do quite a good enough job for me because my selection was so tight. No big deal. Make a selection again, press Shift+Delete and then click OK. You know a lot of your Content-Aware Fill work is going to need a couple of different steps.
Yet with these simple two steps here, I've cleaned up the entire image. So what used to take probably ten minutes previously in Photoshop now takes maybe one or two minutes. So as you can see this feature is incredibly powerful. All right, well let's press Command+D or Ctrl+D to deselect. Let's look at our before and after. Here we have it, before and then after. Really nice cleanup work. We're ready to move to stage two.
- Changing clothing drape or shape
- Modifying the background
- Working with shadows and highlights
- Improving color
- Adding blur
- Cleaning up flyaway hairs
- High pass sharpening
- Adjusting eyes and eyebrows
- Reducing shadows around the eyes
- Making creative adjustments with color
- Removing wrinkles and smoothing skin texture