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Chapter 9.  Retouching 102: Fine-Tuning Your Images

Chapter 9.  Retouching 102: Fine-Tuning Your Images

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9.1.FixingBlemishes

It'sanimperfectworld,butinyourphotos,itdoesn'thaveto

be.Elementsgivesyousomeamazingtoolsforfixingtheflaws

inyoursubjects.Youcanerasecrows'feetandblemishes,

eliminatepowerlinesinanotherwiseperfectview,orevenhide

objectsyouwishweren'tinyourphoto.Notonlythat,butthese

sametoolsaregreatforfixingproblemsliketears,folds,and

stains.Withalittleeffort,youcanbringbackphotosthatseem

beyondhelp.Figure9-1showsanexampleofthekindof

restorationyoucanaccomplishwithalittlepersistenceand

Elements3.



Figure91.Youcan

dosome

amazing

repairwork

with

Elementsif

youhave

thepatience

even

replacing

thealmost

obliterated

faceofthe

grandmother

inthisold

family

portrait.It

tookaheap

ofcloning

andhealing

togeteven

thisclose,

butifyou

keepatit,

youcando

thekindof



workthat

wouldhave

required

professional

helpbefore

Elements.



Elementsgivesyouthreemaintoolsforthiskindofwork:

TheSpotHealingbrushistheeasiestwaytorepairyour

photo.Justdragovertheareayouwanttofix.Elements

searchesthesurroundingareaandblendsthatinformation

intothebadspot,makingitindistinguishablefromthe

background.Itusuallyworksbestonsmallareas,forthe

reasonsexplainedlater.

TheHealingbrushworkssimilarlytotheSpotHealing

brush,onlyyoutelltheHealingbrushthepartofyourphoto

touseasasourceforthematerialyouwanttoblendin.

ThismakesitmoreflexiblethantheSpotHealingbrush,

andbettersuitedtolargeareas,becauseyoudon'thaveto

worryaboutinadvertentlydraggingincontrastingdetails

thatareclosetotheareayou'refixing.

TheCloneStampoffersanotherwaytomakerepairs.It

worksliketheHealingbrushinthatyousampleagoodarea

andapplyittotheareayouwanttofix.Insteadofblending

therepairin,theCloneStampmerelycoversthebadarea

withthereplacement.TheCloneStampisbestfor

situationswhenyouwanttocompletelyhidetheunderlying

area,asopposedtolettinganyofwhat'salreadythere

blendintoyourrepair(whichishowthingsworkswiththe

Healingbrushes).TheCloneStampisalsoyourbestoption

whenyouwanttocreatearealisticcopyofdetailthat's



elsewhereinyourphoto.Youmightcloneoversomeleaves

tofillinabarebranch,orreplaceaknotholeinafence

boardwithgoodwood,forinstance.

Allthreetoolsworksimilarly:youjustdrageachtooloverthe

areayouwanttochange.It'sassimpleasusingabrush.In

fact,eachofthesetoolsrequiresyoutochooseabrush,just

liketheonesyou'lllearnaboutinChapter11.Butbrush

selectionisprettystraightforward;you'lllearninthischapter

everythingyouneedtomakebasicbrushchoices.



9.1.1.TheSpotHealingBrush:FixingSmall

Areas

TheSpotHealingbrushexcelsatblendinganyblemishinyour

photointothesurroundingarea.Yousimplypaintoverthearea

youwanttorepair,andtheSpotHealingbrushautomatically

searchestheinformationinthesurroundingareasandblends

thatintotheareayou'rebrushing.Youdon'thavetotellthe

brushwheretolookforasource.Figure9-2showswhatagreat

jobtheSpotHealingbrushcandotomakeanobjectlooklikeit

wasperfectwhenitwasphotographed.



Figure9-2.Thetricktousing

theSpotHealingBrushistowork



inverytinyareas.Ifyouchoose

toolargeabrushordragovertoo

largeanarea,you'remorelikelyto

pickupundesiredshadesand

detailsfromthesurroundingarea.

Top:Theradishinthebottomrow

hasalargegougeinit.

Bottom:Bydraggingwithabrush

barelythewidthofthescar,you

canmakeatrulyinvisiblefix.



TheSpotHealingbrush'sabilitytoborrowinformationfrom

surroundingareasisgreat,butitisalsoadrawback.Thelarger

theareayoudragthebrushover,thewiderElementssearches

forreplacementmaterial.Soifthere'scontrastingmaterialtoo

closetotheareayou'retryingtofix,itcanunintentionallyget

pulledintotherepair.Forinstance,ifyou'retryingtofixaspot

onaneyelid,youmaywindupwithsomeofthecolorfromthe

eyeitselfmixedinwithyourrepair.

Yougetbestresultsfromthisbrushwhenyouchooseabrush

sizethatjustbarelycoversthespotyou'retryingtofix.Ifyou

needtodragtofixanoblongarea,useabrushtheminimum

widththatcoverstheflaw.TheSpotHealingbrushalsoworks

muchbetterwhenthere'salargesurroundingareathatlooks

thewayyouwantyourrepairedspottolook.



TheSpotHealingBrushhasonlythreesettingsintheOptions

bar.Fromlefttoright,theyare:

Brush.Youcanusethepull-downmenutochoosea

differentbrushstyleifyouprefer(seeChapter11forlots

moreaboutbrushes),butgenerally,you'rebestoffsticking

tothestandardbrushthatElementsstartsoutwithandjust

changingthesize,ifnecessary.

Size.Usethisslidertosetthebrushsize.

Proximity.Inthismenu,youadjusthowthebrushworks.

ProximitytellstheSpotHealingbrushtosearchthe

surroundingareaforreplacementpixels.CreateTexture

tellsittoblendonlyfromtheareayoudragitover.

Generallyspeaking,ifProximitydoesn'tworkwell,you'llget

betterresultsbyswitchingtotheregularHealingbrushthan

bychoosingCreateTexture.

Youwon'tbelievehoweasyitistofixproblemareaswiththe

SpotHealingbrush.Allyoudois:

1. ActivatetheSpotHealingbrush.

PressJandchoosetheSpotHealingbrushintheOptions

bar,orclicktheHealingbrushicon(theband-aid)inthe

Toolbox,andchoosetheSpotHealingbrushfromthepopoutmenu.

2. Chooseabrushsizejustbarelybiggerthantheflaw.

YoucandothisfromtheOptionsbarSizesliderorby

pressing](theclosebracketkey)foralargerbrushor[

(openbracketkey)forasmallerbrush.

3. Clickthebadspot.



Ifthebrushdoesn'tquitecovertheflaw,dragoverthe

area.

4. Whenyoureleasethemousebutton,Elementsrepairs

theblemish.

Youwon'tseeanychangetoyourimagewhileyoudrag,

onlyafteryouletgo.

SometimesyougetgreatresultswiththeSpotHealingbrushon

alargerareaifit'ssurroundedbyalargefieldofgoodmaterial

that'ssimilarintonetothespotyou'retryingtofix.Mostofthe

time,though,you'rebetteroffwiththeregularHealingbrush

forlargeareas,aswellasforflawswhosereplacementmaterial

isn'trightnexttothebadspot.

WORKAROUNDWORKSHOP

DustandScratches

Scratched,dustyprintscancreategiantheadacheswhenyouscanthem.As

suggestedinChapter2,cleaningyourscanner'sglasshelps,butlotsofphotos

comewithplentyofdustmarksalreadyintheprint,orinthefileitselfifthelens

ofyourdigitalcamerawasdusty.

Asimilarproblemiscausedbyartifacts,blobbishareasofcolorcausedbyJPEG

compression.IfyoutakeacloselookattheskyinaJPEGphoto,forinstance,

youmayseethatinsteadofasmoothswatheofblue,youseelotsoflittle

distinctclumpsofeachshadeofblue.

TheHealingbrushesareusuallyyourbestfirstlineofdefenseforfixingthese

problems,butifthespecksareverywidespread,Elementsoffersacoupleother

optionsyoumightwanttotry.

ThefirstistheDespecklefilter(Filter

Noise

Despeckle),whichis

sometimeseffectiveforJPEGartifacts.Ifthatdoesn'tgeteverything,youcan

undoitandtrytheDustandScratchesfilter(Filter

Noise

Dustand

Scratches),ortheMedianFilter(Filter

Noise

Median).TheRadiussetting

fortheselasttwofilterstellsElementshowfartosearchfordissimilarpixelsfor

itscalculations.Keepthatnumberaslowaspossible.Thedownsidetothefilters

inthisgroupisthattheysmooththingsoutinawaythatcanmakeyourimage

lookblurred.Generally,Despeckleisthefilterthat'sleastdestructivetoyour

image'sfocus.



9.1.2.TheHealingBrush:FixingLargerAreas

TheHealingbrushletsyoufixmuchlargerareasthanyoucan

usuallymanagewiththeSpotHealingbrush.Themain

differencebetweenthetwotoolsisthatwiththeregularHealing

brush,youchoosetheareathat'sgoingtobeblendedintothe

repair.Theblendingmakesyourrepairlookverynatural.Figure

9-3showswhatgreatresultsyoucangetwiththistool.

Therepairmaterialdoesn'thavetobenearby;infact,youcan

samplefromatotallydifferentphotoifyoulike.Tosample

materialfromanotherphoto,justgetbothphotosarrangedon

thedesktopsothatyoucaneasilymovethecursorfromoneto

theother.

ThebasicprocedureforusingtheHealingbrushissimilarto

thatfortheSpotHealingbrush:youdragovertheflawyou

wanttofix.ThedifferenceisthatwiththeHealingbrush,you

firstAlt+click(Option-click)whereyouwantElementstolook

forreplacementpixels.



Figure

9-3.the

texturesof

theareas

whereyou

useit.

Left:This

photo

showsthe

crows'feet

atthe

cornerof

the

woman's



eye.

Right:The

Healing

Brush

eliminates

them

without

creatinga

phony,

airbrushed

effect.



TheHealingbrushoffersyouseveralchoicesintheOptionsbar:

Brush.ClickthebrushthumbnailtobringuptheBrush

Dynamicspalette,explainedonpage275.Thisletsyou

customizethesize,shape,andhardnessofyourbrush.But

generally,thestandardbrushworkswell,soyoudon'thave

tochangethingsotherthanthesizehereifyoudon'twant

to.

Mode.Youcanchoosesomeblendmodes(seepage137)

here,butmostofthetime,youwanttochoosebetweenthe

toptwooptions:NormalandReplace.Normalisusually

yourbestchoice.Sometimes,though,yourreplacement

pixelsmaymaketheareayouworkonshowavisibly

differenttexturethanthesurroundingarea.Inthatcase,



chooseReplace,whichpreservesthegrainofyourphoto.

Source.Youcanchoosetosampleanareatouseasa

replacementoryoucanblendinapattern.Usingthe

Healingbrushwithpatternsisexplainedintheupcoming

section"ApplyingPatterns."

Patternthumbnails.Ifyouchosetouseapattern,this

boxbecomesactive.Clickittoselectthepatternyouwant

touse.

Aligned.IfyouturnontheAlignedcheckbox,Elements

keepssamplingnewmaterialinyoursourceasyouusethe

tool.Thesamplingfollowsthedirectionofyourbrush.Even

ifyouletgoofthemousebutton,Elementscontinuesto

samplenewmaterialasyoucontinuebrushing.Ifyouleave

Alignedturnedoff,allthematerialcomesfromthearea

whereyoufirstdefinedyoursourcepoint.

Generally,forboththeHealingbrushandtheCloneStamp,

it'seasiertoleaveAlignedturnedoff.Youcanstillchange

yoursourcepointbyAlt+clicking(Option-clicking)another

spot,butyouoftengetbetterresultsifyoumakethe

decisionaboutwhentomoveontoanotherlocationrather

thanlettingElementsdecide.

UseAllLayers.Ifyouturnthison,Elementssamplesfrom

allthevisiblelayers(page135)intheareawhereyouset

yoursourcepoint.TurnitoffandElementssamplesonlythe

activelayer.

It'salmostassimpletousetheHealingbrushasitistousethe

SpotHealingbrush.

1. ActivatetheHealingbrush.



PressJandchooseitfromtheOptionsbar,orclickthe

Healingbrushicon(theband-aid)intheToolboxandchoose

itfromthepop-outmenu.

2. Findagoodspotyouwanttosampletouseinthe

repairandAlt+click(Option-click)it.

Whenyouclickthegoodspot,yourcursortemporarilyturns

intoacirclewithcross-hairsinittoindicatethatthisisthe

pointwhereElementswillretrieveyourrepairmaterial

from.(Ifyouwanttouseasourcepointinadifferent

photo,boththesourcephotoandtheoneyou'rerepairing

mustbeinthesamecolormode.(Seepage29formore

aboutcolormodes.)

3. Dragovertheareayouwanttorepair.

YoucanseewhereElementsissamplingtherepairmaterial

from:you'llseeacrossmarkingthesamplingpoint.

4. Whenyoureleasethemouse,Elementsblendsthe

sampledareaintotheproblemarea.

Oftenyoudon'tknowhoweffectiveyouwereuntilElements

isthroughworkingitsmagic,becauseittakesafew

secondsforElementstofinishitscalculationsandblendin

therepair.Ifyoudon'tlikewhatElementsdid,pressCtrl+Z

( -Z)toundoandtryagain.

Youcanchoosetohealonaseparatelayer.Theadvantageto

doingthisisthatifyoufindtheendresultisalittletoo

muchyourgrannysuddenlylookslikeaStepfordwifeyoucan

backthingsoffabitbyreducingtheopacityofthehealedlayer

tolettheoriginalshowthrough.Thisisagoodplanwhenusing

theClonetool,too.JustpressCtrl+Shift+N( -Shift-N)to

createanewlayerandthenturnon"UseallLayers"inthe

Optionsbar.



9.1.3.TheCloneStamp

TheCloneStampisliketheHealingbrushinsomeways.You

addmaterialfromasourcepointthatyouselect.Themain

differencewiththeCloneStampisthatitdoesn'tblendinwhen

thenewmaterialisapplied.Instead,theCloneStampworksby

coveringuptheunderlyingareacompletely.Thismakesthe

CloneStampyourtoolofchoicewhenyoudon'twanttoleave

anyvisibletraceofwhatyou'rerepairing.Figure9-4showsan

exampleofwhencloningisabetterchoicethanhealing.



Figure9-4.Here'san

exampleofwhenyou'dchoose

cloningoverhealing.

Top:Thisphotohasavery

distractingSpeedLimitsignjust

abovethehorse'scollar.

Middle:Inthisphoto,the

Healingbrushdidn'tdoenough

tocoverupthesign.

Bottom:TheCloneStamp

worksmuchbetter.



ThechoicesyoumakeintheOptionsbarfortheCloneStamp

areveryimportantingettingthebestresultspossible.



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