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Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 3

Posted August 26, 2009 12:00 AM by Mello

I've hardly scratched the surface of my bag of Photoshop tips and techniques! This week's Photoshop tip will show you how to fix scratches in photos. (Incidentally, check out Blog 1 and Blog 2 in this series, as they use similar techniques)

When I got this photo back from the developers (circa 1998), I remember being so mad that a scratch killed what could have been a nice shot of Niagara Falls. So, when I went through my box of old photos to look for potential Photoshop fixes, this one immediately jumped to mind.

Not all photo scratches are in convenient or easy-to-fix locations, but in this case, it should be a pretty simple task.





Falling into the Right Method

Working on a duplicate file so I don't accidentally mess up the original, let's zoom-in on our problem area using the zoom tool (or Ctrl +). Now would be a good time to remind you to clean off your scanners before using them, as you can see the abundance of dust particles in my image here.







The trick is to take areas that look similar, copy them, and paste them over the scratch. I'll start with the sky. Using the lasso tool with a feather of about 5 (again, this will always vary depending on your photo size and resolution), I'll trace around an area a little larger than the size and shape of the part of the scratch that's in the sky.






Edit Copy (Ctrl C) and Edit Paste (Ctrl V) to paste the selection onto a new layer. Then, move the selection into place using the move tool. Voila-- No more scratch in the sky area!

That looks good, so I'll right-click the layer in the Layer Panel and click "merge down" so I'm not dealing with too many layers.







Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Onward to the water area. Choosing part of the image that is similar to the part we want to cover up, repeat the same steps we just completed on the sky (lasso the selection, copy, paste, and move into place).











Now, you can see that in copying this selection, we brought in a little bit of the tree line that we don't want, along with a part of a rock. Select any part you don't want with the lasso tool, and simply delete.













Now all that's left is the waterfall part of the image. Repeat the same set of steps again to cover up the last of that nasty scratch!









There you have it – 11 years later and I finally have the technology to fix-up the scratch on a lovely photo of a rather memorable road trip.



Other blogs in this series:

Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 1
Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 2

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Power-User

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 458
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#1

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 3

08/27/2009 1:30 PM

I have found I can do the same thing in Windows Paint.

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Commentator

Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 73
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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 3

08/27/2009 1:43 PM

While I may get a little nostalgic over programs like Microsoft Paint or the old PC Paint program I started playing with when I was about 3 years old (ah, those were the days!), I have to say digital image editing software has come a LONG way. I admit, I was skeptical about all those layers when I first got ahold of a program that was sophisticated enough to use them, but now I definitely can't go back. You just can't get near the seamless photo editing that a program like Photoshop can give you in a program like Paint. Besides that, if you try to save an image as a .jpg in paint, it will reduce the quality to a pixelated mess-- definitely something you can't print in photo quality and hang on your wall!

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Power-User

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 458
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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 3

08/27/2009 2:34 PM

Paint saves images in bitmap. I'vs noticed how low the resolution is in jpeg. Until Photoshop becomes affordable (I.E. very cheap or free) I will continue to use what I have. I have aquired a half a dozen photo manipulating programs and I use different ones depending what I am trying to do. As for something hang on the living room wall I printed out an image of a postcard and blew it up to 8 1/2 X 11. Close up you could see the pixelation but on the wall at a distance it looked like a picture.

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Guru

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New York
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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 3

08/27/2009 3:30 PM

Ouch, I couldn't picture any scenario where I would use a bitmap. The lack of compression in the BMP format is a deal breaker.

If you set the quality level on JPG to high you would be hard pressed to notice a difference... except in file size which would be about 10x smaller for the JPG.

Also if you don't have access to Photoshop, check out photoshop.com where you can access many of Photoshop's features directly from your web browser.

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Kaplin
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Anonymous Poster
#5

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 3

08/27/2009 9:54 PM

If you like photoshop but can't afford the high cost, try GIMP. It is free and works very much like photoshop with most of the same tools. I use both and have great results from either one. GIMP is really great for most people, but for professionals, Photoshop has that extra quality that makes it worth the cost.

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Commentator

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 3

08/31/2009 10:46 AM

Thanks, Guest-- I was going to mention GIMP, too. While I haven't yet tried it myself, I have heard some good things about it!

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Associate

Join Date: Sep 2006
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#6

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 3

08/29/2009 2:07 PM

In photoshop and also the program I use ( Serif PhotoPlus, it's 80% of Photoshop at 20% of the cost www.serif.com ) there is a tool called the clone tool. this is what I use to repair blemishes. you can see my work at www.fotografyplus.com H.L.Goldman

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Confessions of a Photoshopaholic: Part 3

08/31/2009 10:44 AM

Yes, livagain1, you can use the clone tool for this type of task, but I find that using the lasso tool with a feather gives you a bit more control. I tend to notice areas that have been 'cloned' more -- you can see the repeated areas quite readily, depending on how well it's done.

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