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Removing objects and other unwanted items from an image

The clone tool's a great way to tidy up your image. Here's how you use it.

|  Adobe Photoshop
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  • Software used: Photoshop CS4
  • Time taken: 15-30 minutes
  • Click on the image to find a larger version of the image for you to edit.
Image to clone 
When you return from a day at the beach and look back at your photos to find a collection of brightly coloured brollys, windbreaks or even people spoiling your shots there's only one thing to do and that's make them disappear.

By using a simple tool in Photoshop, no it's not a magic wand, you can easily turn a cluttered beach scene into something much more pleasing to look at.

Step 1: Zoom in

Open your image up and use the magnifying tool or if you're working on a PC use the Ctrl and + keys to zoom in on the area you want to delete.

Step 2: Clone Tool

Clone ToolSelect the Clone Stamp Tool then move your cursor onto an area close to what you want to clone out. Hold down the Alt key and click to select the colours/pattern present for example, part of the sand next to the deckchair, then start to remove your unwanted item by holding down the mouse button and brushing over the item you want to delete. If you find the brush you're working with is removing too much change the size of the brush. This can be done on the top tool bar or by right-clicking on the image and adjusting the slider accordingly. If you see that your brush is overlapping areas you don't want to be cloned, you can increase the hardness of the brush too.

Make sure you sample from different areas of the image as if you don't, the image will look obviously altered. For example, if we were to sample from the seaweed and drag this right along the beach it would create an obvious repetitive pattern that's not natural. Make sure you follow the pattern of what ever you are sampling from too. So in this beach scene that means following the patterns of the sand.

If you go wrong at any time you can undo your mistake (Ctrl + Z) or if you want to go a little further back look in your history tab.

When you've finished press Ctrl and – to zoom back out. 
 Clone person out

  Before and after:
Before and after image

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