The Clone Stamp Tool in Adobe Photoshop is a very valuable tool and most of the time, it’s your best friend when it comes to removing unwanted parts of your photo. Using this tool, you basically copy (clone) a part of an image and than you reapply it somewhere else within the photo. The example bellow is a nasty image that requires some work with clone tool. I liked the potential of this photo but with all the dirt, trash and unwanted people, limbs, and bags, it was not an appealing one. I had to remove a good portion of it. Before you do anything, open your photo and duplicate it. Never, and I mean NEVER, work on the original file. Trust me, you do not want to lose/change the original file. Always work with the copy.
The clone stamp tool is easy to spot as the basic part of the toolbox (on the left).
When you are dealing with something like this, the best thing is to start removing the smallest parts first, that way you’ll have more room to clone bigger pieces of the image for the rest of the photo. To make it clear… it is easier to remove the cigarette you see above and than to go on to bigger items such as the flip-flop. To remove the cigarette, you need to clone smaller portion of photo (the sand) to make the cloning appear less fake. After you remove/clone the cigarette you have more sand space available for cloning and reapplying it somewhere else (e.g. over the white plastic bags above the cigarette).
It is important to select the right cloning brush, depending on the area you want to clone; you should try a few different shapes to get the best result and to cover the area you are cloning the best. If you have sharp edges, you will not want to work with brushed that drop the shadow. If you have angles you’d like to clone, the angled calligraphic stroke brush may be the best option. You just have to try different brushes to see what works the best in your case.
One you select the brush and clone the area (alt+click) and you reapply it somewhere else to cover unwanted parts (click or drag the mouse), you will want to duplicate the successfully cloned layer (Mac: Command + J; PC: Ctrl+J)
By duplicating the top layer you can be sure you will not ruin the job you’ve done in previous step even if you make a mistake in next cloning step. If you make the mistake, or you don’t like the result of the next step, simply delete the top layer. And start all over.
Be careful with tricky portions of the image like hair area. You can select the area you’d like to remove with one of the selection tools and clone the part of the photo while the selection is on. This way you can be sure you will not touch surrounding area.
Again, change brushes as often you need.
Don’t forget to remove the unwanted details.
And don’t forget to remove any hidden details (foot in this case).
When you’re done with cloning, removing, and cleaning, press Command+Shift+E to merge all the layers.
Once you have a clean and crisp image, it’s all up to you and your imagination what’s next. You can turn it into a black and white image, vintage…
There are many tutorials online that will help you learn cloning in PS if you haven’t done it before (like this one or this one). And if you need to learn PS tools, click here for a simple overview. Finally, I’d love to hear from all of you who are familiar with Photoshop. Please feel welcome to give your advice or share your tips. :)