Serene Life

by garik

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For years I have played with the various Adobe Photoshop tools to remove pesky tourists from my landscape photos. Some of the tools and methods I've tried include:

  • Clone Stamp Tool(.87 or earlier)
  • Duplicate layer techniques(3.0)
  • Healing Brush(7.0)
  • Patch Tool(7.0)
  • Spot Healing Brush(CS2)
  • Content Aware Fill(CS5)
  • Content Aware Patch(CS6)¹

I still haven't found myself sticking with one tool or set of tools in most situations. I flip back and forth and can't decide what is best. I also don't really know what others are using since just searching for a tutorial will yield results, but everyone seems to use them all as well.

My question is, assuming the shot is already complete(not as in this prior question), what post production techniques can I use to best remove human beings from the following photo? I've also included my scaled down result, using the patch tool, duplicate layers with opacity adjustments, clone stamp tool, spot healing brush, and probably other things³. It isn't perfect at 100% but probably can pass as so to the untrained eye².

Before manipulation of people After Photoshop attempt

¹I've never actually used this one | ²Facebook | ³It took me about 1.5 hours of messing around in PS CS5

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Personally, Content Aware Patch(CS6.5) and stamp tools are my best friends. I rarely have the need to use much else. But i -generally- shoot industrial shots which have hard-straight lines which makes Content-Aware a breeze as it can keep up with the 'pattern' it detects. –  NULLZ May 6 '13 at 1:37
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Any chance you can upload a higher res shot of the original so i can have a play with and see what 'works' for me? (also, time wise, how long did your below result take?) –  NULLZ May 6 '13 at 1:51
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Go get the darkest ND filter you can find and take them out before you get to photoshop... –  John Cavan May 6 '13 at 3:44
    
@JohnCavan - That is not a post production technique. In my example shots I already had a 10 stop ND filter plus a grad. If my exposure got any longer I would have started to miss some of the sunset as well. –  dpollitt May 6 '13 at 13:12
    
@dpollitt - I know, which is why it's not an answer directly. Fair point, though, if you already had a heavy ND. Looks like they too stayed to watch the sunset. –  John Cavan May 6 '13 at 13:42

2 Answers 2

The same as any removal. A clone brush, a digitizer tablet, patience and artistic talent/practice. Take surrounding material that fits and feather it in to make a distinct texture that doesn't look like it was simply copied. It can be done with a mouse and lots of brush adjustment, but it's far easier with a pen or better yet air brush style digitizer.

The big trick is making sure you sample from the right area in order to start with a close match.

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I usually try content-aware patch first. I think that works better than most of the tools in most situations. Content-aware fill is also good.

Clone stamp is good for small areas, but on larger areas I always end up being able to see patterns from the stamping, or if I use low opacity and multiple passes, that has the effect of averaging out pixels and destroying any texture.

So on large areas where content-aware doesn't work, I usually use duplicate layers as follows:

Make a selection that is similar to the area you want to fix.

enter image description here

Duplicate and move over the area to fix.

enter image description here

If necessary apply curves/levels or color adjustments to match the area.

enter image description here

Use a mask to blend

enter image description here

Once this is done, I will merge the layers and then use a clone stamp at a medium opacity to clean up small areas. Here I've fixed the lower portion, then done some cleaning up with clone stamp.

enter image description here

This is pretty quick - took about 2 minutes. Even if it doesn't come out perfectly, you'll have a cleaner image to use as a base, and may then have more success with the other techniques.

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