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 Photoshop Tutorials -- Mastering Photoshop's Clone Stamp Tool

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PostSubject: Photoshop Tutorials -- Mastering Photoshop's Clone Stamp Tool   Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:40 pm

Mastering Photoshop's Clone Stamp Tool

Photoshop's Clone Stamp Tool is one of Photoshop's most powerful tools.
At its most basic, it simply copies (or "clones") one area of an image
over another. Using this relatively simple concept, though, you can
actually cover a lot of ground when it comes to editing or repairing
your digital photographs.


NOTE: Although this Adobe
Photoshop tutorial was written using Photoshop CS2, the Clone Stamp
tool has been around since before version 3. No matter what version of
Photoshop you're using, you'll find that the Clone Stamp tool behaves
in pretty much the same manner as outlined in this Photoshop lesson.




Clone Stamp - The Basics


Even as of Photoshop CS2 (and even Photoshop CS3), I still believe that
the Clone Stamp tool is one of the most powerful Photoshop tools
available. Although it uses a fairly simple concept of copying one area
in an image over another you'll quickly find that the Clone Stamp tool
can be very useful in many photo editing and photo repair situations.



Some of the things that you'll find the Clone Stamp tool useful for are:




  • Removing small blemishes in photographs (small scars or pimples in portraits, for example)
  • Removing objects, such as telephone wires (or even people), from photos
  • Repairing tears in scanned images of old photographs
  • Removing braces from a smile in portraits
  • Fixing stains in scans of older photographs
  • ...and tons more
I'm sure that once you've got some hands-on experience with the
Clone Stamp tool, you'll find tons of things that it can be used for.



Getting Started with the Clone Stamp

The Clone Stamp tool (see
figure 28.1) may seem a bit mysterious in the beginning as far as
novice Photoshop users are concerned.




figure 28.1



I imagine the trouble, at least partly, is that
the tool can be a little intimidating. In fact, if you simply select
the Clone Stamp tool and click anywhere within your image, you'll be
presented with an error message dialog box such as the one seen in
figure 28.2.




figure 28.2



NOTE: When using Photoshop
CS2 or Photoshop CS3, you may sometimes get an even less informative
error dialog box that simply states that there is a program error.



Let's take a look at the error message... the message says, "Could not
use the clone stamp because the area to clone has not been defined
(Alt-click to define a source point)."


What this message is trying to tell you is that you have not
yet selected an area that the tool should use to copy from, and to do
so, you should Alt-click the area that you wish to use. That sounds
simply enough. Let's take a look at how that's done, and then get in a
little practice using the Clone Stamp. I'll be using the image that you
see in figure 28.3.




figure 28.3



Figure 28.3 is a photograph of my Boxer puppy
when she was quite young... you can easily see the potential for puppy
mischief in her eyes Smile The problem with this particular photograph is
that the pup appears to have a leash growing out of the top of her
head. This particular photo would certainly be more attractive without
the leash, and the best Photoshop tool to help get rid of the leash is
the Clone Stamp tool.


Using the Clone Stamp tool it will be possible to cover the
leash using some of the surrounding grassy lawn. Figure 28.4 gives you
an idea of what the finished image looks like once the leash has been
"removed" with the Clone Stamp tool.





figure 28.4
Although working with a high-res image is best, you can work along with
the image of the Boxer pup if you'd like. If you already have Photoshop
open, you can simply drag-n-drop the image from the web page into
Photoshop. Alternatively, you can right-click the image and save it
somewhere so that you can then open it in Photoshop.



With the image open that you want to work on, zoom-in to the area that needs attention...


NOTE: To zoom-in, select
the Zoom tool near the bottom-right of the toolbar (you can press the
'Z' key to do so) and then click-and-drag around the area that you what
to work on. You can see if figure 28.5 that I've zoomed-in on the area
with the leash.





figure 28.5


Select the Clone Stamp tool (in Photoshop CS2 it's the fifth icon down on the left in the toolbar).


NOTE: The Clone Stamp tool
shares its toolbar place with the Pattern Stamp tool. The Pattern Stamp
tool uses a pattern as its source. To see both tools, click and hold
down the stamp tool icon and choose the Clone Stamp tool from the
flyout menu.



With the Clone Stamp tool selected, take a look at the available
options. The options (see figure 28.6) can be found just below the main
menu.




figure 28.6



The first icon from the left enables access to
any previously stored presets. Next you'll find an icon that enables
you to select a brush size and hardness. You can also set the Mode, the
Opacity, and the Flow. Finally, you can set the "Aligned" and "Sample
All Layers" options. Between the Flow and Aligned options, you can also
set the brush so that it behaves like an airbrush.


For now, we'll only be concerned with setting the brush. To
follow along, though, make sure that the Aligned option has a checkmark
next to it, that the Mode is set to Normal, and that the Opacity and
Flow are both set to 100%.


Click the Brush icon and set the size (Master Diameter) of the
brush so that it approximates the size of the object (in this case the
leash) that you want to clone over. You can see, in figure 28.7, that
I've set the brush to about 80 pixels and the hardness to about 50%.
You can also see the size of the cursor (it's visible near the buckle
of the leash) in the image, and how I've made it a little bigger than
the width of the leash.




figure 28.7



With the brush set, it's time to begin.
Position the mouse near the leash, but not touching it, and hold down
the ALT key. Doing so will change the appearance of the cursor as seen
in figure 28.8.




figure 28.8



Click the mouse to set the "source" area. The
source area is where the image data will be copied from, i.e. where you
click will be the starting point for the source.



Move the cursor over the leash and click-and-drag to copy some of the grass over the leash (see figure 28.9).




figure 28.9



In figure 28.9 you can see that the Clone Stamp
tool displays two cursors. The first starts out where you ALT-clicked
and the second shows up where you start to click-and-drag. You can see
that I've dragged down a little with the tool. As I did so the tool
(indicated by the circular cursor) covered the leash with a copy, or
"clone" of the grass to the right (from under the crosshair cursor).



Wrapping Up (for now)

There're a couple of things to note
here... Firstly, I set the brush to a medium softness. The reason I did
so is because the grass in the photograph is a little soft due to the
focus being on the pup and not the lawn. If you set the brush too hard
in a situation like this, you'll get weird edges where you use the
tool. Not good as the best use of the tool leaves no trace of it having
been used. Secondly, I set the brush to a size that would cover the
leash with one stroke... This works well in this particular situation,
and would do so as well if you were covering something like telephone
lines. You may have to set a smaller brush and use multiple strokes to
cover the object in other situations, though. And lastly, It may be
difficult to remove the leash as you get nearer the top of the puppy's
head. In this case it would be wise to make a selection around the area
so that the brush only covers the leash and not the surrounding head.


I'll cover how you can do that and a whole lot more in the
next lesson where we'll explore the settings not covered in this basic
lesson. As well, I'll show you some of my favorite tips and techniques
for using Photoshop's Clone Stamp tool.
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