A free tutorial on taking people completely out of the frame, with Photoshop’s most versatile retouching tool
Start by opening up this image ‘People in landscape.jpg’ from your resource disc. We’ll begin by cloning out the woman on the right. Go to the Layer menu at the top and down to New>New Layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N). In the pop-up box, enter ‘Trees’ as its name and hit OK.
Press Z for the Zoom tool and click twice over the woman’s face to see the trees closer up. Select the Clone Stamp tool (S) from the Toolbar and head to the Options bar. Set Opacity to 100%, Brush Size to 45px, Hardness to 0%, and tick Aligned. Also set Sample to All Layers, so that the Background layer is taken into account.
With the Clone Stamp tool ready, hover over where the water meets the trees to the right of the woman. Hold Opt/Alt and the cursor should turn into crosshairs. Click once to sample the ‘good’ pixels, and then release Opt/Alt. The tool is now primed with these pixels.
Move the cursor over to where the water should meet the trees behind the woman. Click and drag upwards to apply the ‘good’ trees sampled in the previous step over the woman’s face. The tool applies the pixels from their original location over the woman as you paint.
As the trees are on a separate layer, press Cmd/Ctrl+T to activate Free Transform. Rotate the new trees by dragging one of the corner points, so that the water’s edge lines up with both sides of the woman.
For areas of water, select the Rectangular Marquee tool and set Feather to 5px in the Options bar. Draw a rectangle to cover an area of the water in the distance. Click on the Background layer, and then press Cmd/Ctrl+C followed by Cmd/Ctrl+V. Drag this new area over the top of the person using the Move tool (V).
Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to make a duplicate copy of the water’s layer, and drag this to cover up more of the woman. Repeat this process until the woman’s face is completely cloned out. Merge all duplicate layers into one by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+E repeatedly.
Add a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N) and select the Clone Stamp tool and begin to sample and apply water over the remaining whiter areas of water. In a painting motion, apply the brush in both horizontal and vertical directions, looking to retain much of the texture and similar lightness in cloned areas.
Add another new layer and to complete the remaining water that’s hidden, increase the size of the Clone Stamp tool to 100px (use ‘]’ to enlarge the brush). Sample a large area of water and apply over the body of the woman. To avoid repeating pixels, sample from different areas each time you Opt/Alt-click.
For the wooden walkway at the bottom of the image, zoom into 300% and lower the size of the Clone Stamp tool to 30px. Clone away the tripod and woman’s legs using the wooden planks next to them. Look to align the gaps in the planks and brush away from the edges of the image, as this will show as a hard edge.
For the man, look to remove the tripod first using the same techniques as we did with the woman. Remember to add new layers for each object being removed. For cloning water, it works best to brush in a vertical direction using a soft brush. Also use the Rectangular Marquee tool to copy and paste ‘good’ water over the tripod for larger areas.
Once the tripod has been removed, press Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E to create a stamp visible of the cloned water. Use the Rectangular Marquee tool to mark a large selection over the ‘good’ half of the mountain’s reflection in the water. Copy and paste this (making sure the stamped layer is selected), and go to Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal. Use this copied reflection to cover up the man.
Create a copy of the Background layer at the top of the layer stack. Switch it on and off to see if there are any original areas which were in the image to begin with that you can make use of. If so, hide the Background copy layer, select the relevant layer, and use the Eraser tool to remove those areas.