I have Adobe Lightroom. I could get Adobe Photoshop but it will really cost. For this kind of photo adjustments is it worth?

But first, can it be done with today's software?

Here's the pic :

enter image description here

PS: Yes, of course I could crop the image, but I'm interested to find out what are the chances to actually remove cable(s) from a photo like this since it bugs me in many photos.

  • 2
    Not sure about Lightroom, but you could do it in GIMP, which is completely free. Oct 17 '11 at 19:36

As dpollitt says, it is possible in Lightroom with the Clone/Heal tool, although it's not as seamless as using Photoshop or similar.

Multiple applications of different sizes of the Clone tool with different levels of transparency helps in my limited experience.

I think it does depend on the background of the area you're trying to clone out. Here's an example which worked for me, where the background I was trying to modify/remove (the green leaf on the right) was already blurred. Before and After:

Before photo After photo

To confirm, this was done purely with Lightroom.

  • Great job with using only Lightroom for this. But to be honest, I think the leaf made the photo more interesting... Dec 6 '11 at 1:56

There are two programs that can take care of that pretty easily: Photoshop and GIMP. Both have content-generation tools that can fill in the area of the cable with content generated from its surroundings. In Photoshop, it is called Content-Aware Fill, and in GIMP it is called Resynthesizer. The latter is getting a bit dated, and it may not be entirely effective, however it should still do the job.

In Photoshop, Content-Aware Fill should be able to eliminate the cable in a few seconds flat...it is really as simple as selecting the cable with the selection tool, hitting the delete key, and choosing Content-Aware Fill as the fill mode. Photoshop should do all the hard work for you by generating blue sky and tree content.

In the absence of Photoshop CS5, some clever use of cloning and/or healing tools should also do the job, although it will require some more careful application and considerably more time. You can probably use the spot healing tool in Lightroom for the same purpose, however it is more limited than what you have with Photoshop or GIMP.


Its fairly easy - if i had more time it would be better...

I use the Photoshop "Smudge tool" smear the sky left to right over the cable (strength 70%, 10px soft edge). the tree I did vertically in small moves, strength 100% 3px, hard edge. enter image description here

  • I think some explanation would help.
    – rfusca
    Jul 3 '12 at 14:49
  • done - sorry I had to rush out half way through typing the answer..!! Jul 3 '12 at 15:49
  • If you've photoshop, then content aware fill is probably 5000x easier.
    – rfusca
    Jul 3 '12 at 18:37

Adobe Lightroom has two tools for this, although they are not as robust or well suited for this purpose as tools that can be found in Adobe Photoshop or Gimp.

  • Clone Tool
  • Heal Tool

The clone tool is probably the best place to start, and will allow you to duplicate some other areas of the blue sky over the wire. Once the heavy thick line is gone, you can try the heal tool to remove any specs or areas that are not completely smoothed over.

This is all assuming that you must stay in Lightroom. Lightroom is really not the best option for this, but it is possible.

  • I would first use the Spot Removal Tool in Lightroom to get rid of the trivial sky part. The tree wouldn't be quite as simple. Oct 18 '11 at 5:04
  • Agreed, you could go that route.
    – dpollitt
    Oct 18 '11 at 14:01

Depending on the required quality of result. you may be able to d what you want with the simplest of tools. Using Irfanview clone tool (very blunt weapon) gave this before and after shot. Pixel peeping may show where the cabl has been. Tree 'may' need work.

Healing brush in photoshop would work well, so lightroom equivalent should work fine.


You can buy Adobe Photoshop Elements for about $100 (as of 2012). It is well worth the price, much cheaper than Photoshop but effective enough for some of the simpler stuff.

You can use the clone tool in close proximity @ 100% opacity moving left to right to hold gradation of the sky. I suggest to use it by 8-10 px. (3-4 px in the tree).


The simplest you could do is to copy small squares from around the cable area and paste them over the cable. It might work because the sky color is more or less uniform. Of course, it's not the best.

The other thing you could do is to use Gimp. It has a plugin that supports content aware fill. Google the rest. It's a fairly standard procedure.

  • 1
    Lightroom has clone and heal tools. Could they be of any use in this case? Oct 17 '11 at 19:45

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