Clone it out!
So you get that great photo! Everyone is finally smiling the sun is just right, but uncle Fred just walked through the background! Grr. Well today I'm going to teach ya how to fix those backgrounds so they do your perfect picture justice!
I'm going to use this picture
I have so few pictures of me with Jaden cause I'm usually the one behind the camera so I gotta make this one good! It's a really good picture, but that dang AC unit in the background is distracting! Lets get rid of it!
You may be familiar with the clone tool, or the band-aid tool, I use these often, but for small coverups. This is a BIG coverup and the clone tool just won't cut it.
We've got some great bushy green background against the rest of the building so lets use that.
Take your rectangular Marquee tool and make a selection around some background that you would like to clone. Don't worry if you get some of the subject in there, you just want to make sure you have enough to cover the widest area you want to get rid of as well as enough to overlap a little for blending purposes.
Now copy that selection. Edit-Copy OR Ctrl c and paste it Edit-Paste or Ctrl v Then move it over the area you want to cover.
Ta Da! Okay, clearly we're not done, but you can see where we're going with this right?
Next thing we need to do is get our subject in front of our new background. There's a few ways to do this, you could lower the opacity of your new background layer and carefully erase along the edge of your subject, but since I have an unsteady hand, what I think I'll do is use my pen tool and extract the part of my subject that is being covered.
If you've seen my extraction tutorials in the past you should already know this, just in case you haven't all walk ya through it real quick.
Make sure your pen settings match mine (outlined in red), zoom inand carefully click along the outline of your subject.
Hint: my new background is hidden so I can see my outline to extract. to hide a layer click the little eye on that layer
You don't need to go around your whole subject, just the part that needs to be in front of your new background. When you reach your starting point you will get a solid line.
Then still on the pen tool, right click inside your line. Choose Make Selection
A radius of 0 is fine. Anti-alias should be checked and new selection marked. (I believe these are the default settings)
You will now have the running ants indication that you have a selection.
Make sure you are on yorur original layer NOT your new background. Copy and Paste just as you did for the new background and move this new layre to the top of your layer pallet. (outlined in red)
You'll also notice that my new selection doesn't quite cover all of my new background (part of Jaden is slicing through my arm AHHH!) no biggy. Make sure you are on the new background layer and erase that part.
Great! Now it's time to blend the background we pieced in. You may notice lines where we put the new background. We will take care of those now.
Make sure you are on the new background layer. Zoom in on your hard line and choose the erase or mask as I like to do. (If you don't know how to use a layer mask then just use the eraser.) Choose a soft, fairly large brush.
Now lightly erase the hard line. Because you overlapped your background you should have (in my case) more leaves show through.
Ta Da! No more hard line! Repeat this step anywhere else there is a hard line. For me I need to go down to the grass and do the same.
Then you can merge your layers and do any other editing you'd like. I fixed the levels and greened up the grass a bit (I'll show ya how to do that another time. Gotta leave ya wanting more ya know! ;) ) Here's my finished picture!
Yay! Now there's a picture worth scrapping!!!
Every picture is different and may take some different tweeking, but play around with it and have fun! Here's another example of one I've done.
It's difficult to get my whole family together. So at the family reunion last summer we decided we better get a picture. Shame it was during the peak of day which every photographer knows is the WORST time to take pictures. So it's a bit dark, but aside from that there is that distracting parkinglot in the back that is just not very picturesque!
That's better! This one was more difficult to do because there were so many people and so little background to work with in the first place, but as you can see, it can be done!