Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How to clean up your background

Sometimes you've got a great picture but the background is busy and takes away the focus from your subject. 

In that case you can use this tool in Photoshop to remove the unwanted 'objects' in the background.

I started with this picture:

It's a nice picture of a running lady, but there is so much happening so much in the background that the focus in this image is not on the subject. In sports it's so much better (in most cases) to have a clean background.

So to remove the unwanted 'objects' in the background I used two tools:
  1. Spot Healing Brush Tool (J): Paint over an area and Photoshop will try to repair this section.
  2. Clone Stamp tool: Clone a piece and paint over the area you want to replace.
But you can also use:
  1. Healing brush tool: Same as the Spot Healing Brush Tool, but you have to select a reference point.
  2. Patch tool: Select an area and drag the selection over an area you want to generate a fill from.
  3. Content aware fill: Select an area with your Lasso Tool and use Content Aware fill.
Here you can find all the details of the retouch and repair functionality in Photoshop.

I began with the person all the way on the right. I added a new (empty layer) and painted over it with the Spot Healing brush tool. It did a pretty good job, but to complete it, I used the Clone stamp to make the edges smoother.

Then I removed the people in the background the same way. I did it one more time with the people just behind the running lady. And there you have it, the intermediate result.

Next step is to remove the shadows behind the lady. Whilst I was at it, I also removed the building on the left side. And all with the Spot Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp Tool.

And this is my final result. A much cleaner image with full focus on the smiley running lady: 

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