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  1. Project 1: A Younger You in Minutes
  2. Project 2: Fast Forward
  3. Project 3: Who's the Tallest of Them All?
This chapter is from the book

Project 3: Who's the Tallest of Them All?

We've created the illusion of youth and the semblance of aging; now we'll work our magic on the vertically challenged. Unless you're going out for Olympic gymnastics, being tall is a distinct advantage in American culture. Figure 3.18 shows my petite niece, Nesa, with three classmates at their high school prom.

Figure 3.18Figure 3.18 Nesa's the short one. (Photo courtesy of Nesa Levy.)

Level with Me

First, let's fix the angle of the image. Whoever took this shot was not holding the camera vertically. Drapes don't hang at a slant like that.

  1. Select, All (Command/Ctrl+A) and apply Image, Transform, Free Transform (Command/Ctrl+T). Move the cursor near a corner of the bounding box. When the cursor looks like a curved double-headed arrow rotate the bounding box so the drapes hang perfectly, as in Figure 3.19.

  2. Figure 3.19Figure 3.19 Angle fixed, Nesa still short.

  3. Press the Return key to commit the transform. Don't worry about cropping the image until later.

Decide which Subjects to Alter

We can either make Nesa taller relative to the other girls in the picture, or make them shorter. Let's make the two girls on the right shorter.

  1. Use the Lasso tool (L) to make a selection around the two girls as shown in Figure 3.20. The ideal selection will fit snugly along Armanda's dress (she's wearing the black necklace) and include all the curtains above their bodies. This will minimize the amount of repair work needed later.

  2. Figure 3.20Figure 3.20 Lasso them gals, yeehah!

  3. Edit, Copy (Command/Ctrl +C) and Edit, Paste (Command/Ctrl +V) the selection. Now the two girls are on their own layer. Figure 3.21 shows the Layers palette after the Paste command.

  4. Figure 3.21Figure 3.21 Layer them gals, wahooo!

  5. Use the Move tool (V) to drag the layer downward until Armanda is about the same height as Nesa. This reveals the tops of their heads on the original backgound, as shown in Figure 3.22. We'll fix that next.

  6. Figure 3.22Figure 3.22 Black blobs seen floating above heads at senior prom!


    It's important to keep the layer from shifting right or left as you move it down. A shift would spoil the smooth folds of the curtains. The way to constrain that movement is by holding down the Shift key. Ironic, using Shift to prevent shift.

  7. We'll use the Clone Stamp (S) to cover the tops of the original girls' heads with the curtains. Click on a crease in the curtain while holding down the Option/Alt key to establish the source pixel. I painted a red crosshairs in Figure 3.23 to suggest a good source pixel and a purple spot to show where to begin painting clone strokes. Enable the Align option for the Clone Stamp so each stroke will be offset the proper amount from the source pixel. Also check the Use All Layers box.

Figure 3.23Figure 3.23 Helpful hints for clone work.


If you can repair this section of the image in one stroke, it won't matter if you have Align on or off. And you should get extra points for being able to do it in one stroke. I approach Photoshopping (the folks at Adobe hate that word) like a sport, where style counts. You strive for the most elegant, effortless way to accomplish an effect. Finally, a sport that doesn't require you to be in good physical shape. Oh, yeah, I forgot bowling.

Retouch and Touchup

Okay, let's work on the ragged area between Nesa and Armanda.

  1. Click on the Background in the Layers palette to make it the target for this step. Clone another piece of curtain over the "old" shoulder showing between the girls' heads.

  2. Figure 3.24 has color-coded help for the next several steps.

    Figure 3.24Figure 3.24 More helpful hints, or colorful graffiti.

  3. Make the layer active and choose the Eraser tool (E). Carefully erase the excess pixels around Armanda's shoulder and dress. Bright green in Figure 3.23 shows where to erase.

  4. Merge the layer into the background with the Flatten Image command in the Layers menu.

  5. Clone curtain fabric over the original chunk of dress, indicated with yellow in Figure 3.24.

Final Repairs

We'll have to perform a skin graft on Nesa's shoulder to cover the dark blob, shown with a red triangle. Assume that the proper blood tests and compatibility matches have been performed, and Armanda is an appropriate shoulder donor.

  1. Use the Lasso tool to select the area of shoulder shown with the dotted red line. Copy and paste to make this a new layer and move it into position on Nesa.

  2. Erase excess parts of the skin graft as needed. Reduce the opacity of the layer temporarily so you can see where to erase.

  3. The figure shows our progress at this point. It's reasonably convincing if you don't notice that Nesa's arm would now have to be very, very long to reach Armanda's waist. That's why I circled her hand in Figure 3.24 and added an arrow indicating it needs to be moved up. Frankly, at this point I'm inclined to just clone some curtain and dress fabric over that hand and be done with it.

    What long arms you have!

  4. Zoom in to see a tiny bit of the dreaded "red-eye" effect in Nesa's right eye. Armanda has it, too. Use the Red Eye Removal tool to fix that problem. You'll find it right under the Cookie Cutter tool, another dandy item that Photoshop CS doesn't offer. Just drag it over the pupil of any offending eye and the red just disappears. See Figure 3.25. Sorry, it won't work on bloodshot eyes.

  5. Figure 3.25Figure 3.25 Got the red out.

    And here they are, in Figure 3.26, nicely cropped. Three average sized young women and one statuesque amazon. Hey, it's all relative.

    Figure 3.26Figure 3.26 Heighten your prospects for success in college.

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