How To Clean Up Your Panoramic Photos Part 1: Clone Stamp

Chances are, you’ll end up with a few unwanted objects in your panoramic photo. Perhaps it’s a power line that’s sagging in the frame. Or it’s an unwanted tourist walking through the shot. Fortunately, Photoshop offers a suite of tools for removing objects and hiding blemishes. In this second part we look at the Clone Stamp tool.

If you’ve used Photoshop for a long time, you’ve surely come to rely on the Clone Stamp tool. It can produce predictable and accurate results with just a little practice. It works by sampling pixels from one area of an image and painting them in another. What makes the tool so useful is that it relies on the flexibility of Photoshop’s Brush panel. This allows you to adjust the size and hardness of the brush as well as the opacity of the stroke. When cloning, be sure to use a softer brush. You can quickly adjust the hardness of brush by holding the shift key and press [ (for softer) or ] (for harder).

The Clone Stamp tool is a quick way to remove distracting blemishes from an image.

The most useful option when cloning to is specify the desired alignment of the brush. In the Options bar, you have two choices.

  • If Aligned is selected, the sample point and painting point move parallel as you brush. If you click again and start over, the sample point picks up relative to the current brush position.
  • If Aligned is deselected, the initial sample point is re-used. The second method ensures that you are always sampling from the same area but the first produces more visual variety if using a large textured area.

To set the source point for cloning, simply Option+click (Alt+click) within the current document. You can also use another open document as a source (just be sure that it is set to the same color mode). This defines the source point for sampled pixel data.

To get the best results, try these performance tips:

  • Try cloning at a lower opacity from several different places to fill in a problem area. This way you can avoid too much repetition in the pattern.
  • Try to “follow the line” by looking for edges to follow in the image. Look to follow the natural curves and linear paths that are present.
  • You can clone from all visible layers by specifying Use All Layers. This is useful if you want to clone to an empty layer at the top of your document while sampling from the layers below.

This post is adapted from the book Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques. If you want to learn how to mix panoramic photos with video (and much more) check out the book.

Posted on October 14, 2011, in Panoramic, Tutorial and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.

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