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This chapter is from the book

Removing

It happens in the best of families—someone creeps into the family portrait who really shouldn't be there. Maybe it's your former spouse, or your kid's current attraction with the green punk hairdo, leather vest, and nose ring. Well, whoever it is, you can usually get him or her out of the picture more easily with Photoshop than in the flesh. Figure 22.15 is a typical group photo, with the groom's brother behaving in typical wise-guy manner. If I can lift him out, this will be a nice shot of the bride and groom with best man and matron of honor.

Figure 22.15 Jealous younger brother in action.

I'm going to remove the guy second from right, and move the other one over to fill in the space. I will also clean up the rest of the picture, straightening the pillars on the gazebo, and brightening up the color. The first step, of course, is to get the wise-guy usher out of the way. In Figure 22.16, I've used the Clone Stamp and some cutting and pasting to get his hand out of the picture.

Figure 22.16 Thanks to the Clone Stamp, one hand's gone.

This next piece is even easier. I'll simply cut the side of the picture with the young man we're keeping, and slide it over the other one. Notice that I've kept the entire gazebo pole. Architecturally, it might not make sense, but it should look okay anyway. Figure 22.17 shows the picture before and after sliding him over.

Figure 22.17 All gone; now we just have to fill in the gaps and remove the stray finger from the groom's ear.

The fixes required took only a couple of minutes, and the result (Figure 22.18) is a photo the guys' mom is a lot happier with. I know. They're my sons.

Figure 22.18 Mom likes this version much more.

Putting Back What Was Never There

When I shot this photo, I was so excited about the rainbow and the little waterfall, I didn't even see the problem. Right in the middle of the picture there's an ugly dead leaf, and another one that's starting to die. But even if I'd seen them, I don't think I'd have jumped the fence and cleaned it up. It's not my garden. Figure 22.19 shows the original picture. Can it be saved?

Figure 22.19 Can I paint it green again?

I tried various tricks to cover over the leaves. I tried painting them green. I tried the airbrush. I tried rubber-stamping them. I tried replacing them with a bird from another photo. That almost worked. The bird's colors echoed the rainbow. But I couldn't rubber stamp the water around him. That didn't work at all. Finally, I tried adjusting the color of the leaves. That worked. See Figure 22.20.

Figure 22.20 Okay. Now the leaves are reasonably green.

I solved the original problem. The leaves are a believable green. But that darned bird really looked kind of good there. So, I put him back. Because he was on a separate layer, it was easy to match his saturation and lighting to the rest of the shot. And now I have a picture with two rainbows.

Figure 22.21 Rainbow macaw with rainbow.

The point of these exercises is that there's no picture too damaged, or too full of interlopers, to rescue. The only limit to what you can do with your pictures is your own imagination.

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