Photoshop Elements 3 Solutions, Pt. 2 | 2
Photoshop Elements 3 Solutions, Pt. 2.
Sometimes flaws are not global but specific. The flaws you see in Figure 2.20, for example, were caused by dust accumulating on the electronic sensor of my Nikon D100. Similar artifacts can be caused by a smudge or speck of dust on the lens. A dirty scanner glass will also produce similar results.
Figure 2.20: The flaws on this image were caused by dust on the electronic sensor.
The Spot Healing Brush is especially effective in removing these kinds of image flaws. To use this new Photoshop Elements brush, you'll need to be in Standard Edit.
The Spot Healing Brush tool is found in the same spot on the toolbar as the Healing Brush tool (use the keyboard command J and repeatedly press J to cycle between tools). Why use it rather than the Healing Brush tool? The Spot Healing Brush tool is easy to use. You don't need to establish a sample area by holding the Alt/Option key and clicking, as you need to do with the Healing Brush and Clone Stamp tools. You only need to select a brush, position your cursor, and click over an area you wish to heal. You can also click and hold the mouse and drag to "paint" over a complex shape. After you stop painting and release the mouse, the Spot Healing Brush tool goes to work. Like the Healing Brush tool, it automatically samples the areas outside the selection and blends the results with the area within the selection. In the example shown in Figure 2.20, the Spot Healing Brush worked great.
This what I did:
1. I selected the Spot Healing Brush tool from the toolbar.
2. I chose a Hard Round 30 pixels from the options bar. I chose this size because it was about 20 percent larger than the area I wished to remove. Using a brush 10Â30 percent larger than the area you wish to remove is a good rule of thumb to follow. (You can play around with a soft or hard-edged brush. In most cases, hard is the way to go, but sometimes a soft brush produces a smoother edge transition).
3. I set the Type to Proximity Match. (Pattern generates an obvious pattern, which isn't appropriate if you are trying to seamlessly remove a flaw).
4. I placed my cursor over the large flaw in the middle and clicked. I then selected a smaller, Hard Round 20 pixels brush and clicked the smaller flaws sprinkled throughout the image. Done.
The result is shown in Figure 2.21.
Figure 2.21: Flaw fixed with the Spot Healing Brush.
If you try the Spot Healing Brush on large flaws, say over 300 pixels, you'll quickly see why it is called a "spot" healing brush. The tool seems to get confused, and produces unpredictable and often unsatisfactory results. You'll also find it works best when the area around the objects you are trying to remove is surrounded by uniform color or texture.
Combining Tools and Techniques
Sometimes you'll want to use a combination of tools to fix a particularly challenging job. For this example, I used a combination of the Dust & Scratches filter, a selection tool, and the Clone Stamp tool to fix the 50-year-old photo shown in Figure 2.22.
Figure 2.22: This 50-year-old photo is full of scratches and other artifacts of age.
In Standard Edit, here's what I did:
1. I cropped the edges of the scan by using the Crop command ("Cropping to the Essential Parts" later in this chapter).
2. I applied Auto Levels to optimize the colors and tone ("Making Dull Images Shine" earlier in this chapter).
3. At a magnification level of 300 percent, I noticed the sky was filled with dust and scratches and other artifacts of age (see Figure 2.23). As I scrolled around, I saw there were also moiré patterns caused by the scanning process. Glass against glass often causes a swirling pattern, called a moiré, to form. The old transparency was sandwiched between two pieces of glass. I was tempted to use the Dust & Scratches filter to clean up the entire image but I knew this wasn't a good idea because it would blur the image. Instead I selected the sky by using the Lasso selection tool and applied the filter only to this selected area. I set the Radius at 4 and the Threshold at 0 (see Figure 2.23). In general, higher Radius values effectively remove more dust and scratches but blur other pixels in the image as well. Depending on the image, you can still remove dust and scratches but diminish the blur caused by higher Radius values by selecting higher Threshold values.
Figure 2.23: A magnification of 300 percent reveals the details of the problem (left). Applying the Dust & Scratches filter (right) to the selected background removed many of the artifacts and left the foreground area sharp.
4. Although the filter got rid of most of the smaller artifacts, the larger
ones remained. To get rid of these, I selected the Clone Stamp tool from the
toolbox. In the options bar, I selected the following options for the Clone
Opacity: 100 percent
Use All Layers: selected
I positioned the cursor slightly to the side of a scratch or smudge, in an area of the sky devoid of spots. While holding the Alt/Option key, I clicked and sampled. Then I clicked and "stamped" over a flawed area, careful not to drag and smear the pixels and cause an unnatural-looking blur.
5. After deselecting the sky, I turned to the foreground and to the woman on the road (see the left side of Figure 2.24). This area wasn't as bad as the sky but it still needed some cleaning up. Again, I used the Clone Stamp tool to selectively rid the woman's arm and face of spots, this time using a smaller brush setting for the smaller areas.
This was a particularly difficult image, and, frankly, I had to draw the line at how much time I was going to put into it. I could have continued to use the Clone Stamp tool to make each and every detail perfect. However, I was satisfied with cleaning up the sky and most of the woman. After all, it is a historical photo and I wanted to keep some of its authenticity. The final image is shown on the right in Figure 2.24.
Figure 2.24: I used the Clone Stamp tool to selectively clean up the woman on the road (left). The final image (right), after applying the Dust & Scratches filter and using the Clone Stamp tool for extensive cloning.
Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: December 6, 2004