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Get rid of your Ex using Photoshop: A Valentine’s Day Tutorial

Author: WC.Bear
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Out of sight, out of mind

useful photoshop tools
Photoshop is an impressive editing tool with an unlimited number of uses. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here is a quick look at some useful Photoshop tools and techniques to remove that unwanted special someone from your photographs. If you are in a happy relationship or are not so petty as to feel the need to erase someone’s face- the same skills can be used to improve your photos in other ways. Want to remove that ugly car from your beautiful sunset, or get rid of the idiot that stepped into the frame at just the wrong moment? Here’s how with these useful photoshop tools.

Getting rid of those who are dead to you with useful Photoshop tools

useful photoshop tools


(disclaimer: The relationship presented in this article is fictional. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental. Neither of these people are me- I have way more nose hair. Also, command on a Mac=control on a PC, and this symbol, “+” means to press both the respective keys at the same time. )

Step 1.

Open the image in Photoshop. It’s good practice to name your layers. It’s also good practice to work in a non-destructive way; meaning make a duplicate of your original layer to work on, that way if something goes horribly wrong, you always have the original image to go back to.

To duplicate a layer, simply right-click on the layer you want to copy. Try to click on the space to the right of the layer name.

useful photoshop tools

Step 2.

We need to create a path around the person you want to get rid of. There are several ways to go about doing this in Photoshop.

Method A

The easiest method is to use the quick selection tool, which is the fourth tool down on the toolbar. If your toolbar is displaying the magic wand tool, simply right click on the icon, and select the quick selection tool instead.

Now, all you have to do is click and drag over the person you want to remove. You can adjust the size of the selection tool in the upper left hand corner of the screen, or you can use the keyboard shortcut. Use the open bracket “[” to decrease the size, and use the close bracket “]” to increase the size.

useful photoshop tools

You want to be careful not to select too much of the surrounding area. Your selection doesn’t have to be perfect, but a little extra attention at this stage will save you time in the following steps. If you need to start over, click command+option+z to step backward, or command+d to deselect.  Also, try to include any shadows, or in this case reflections, in your selection in order to completely erase the person.

useful photoshop tools

Method B

For more control over the path you select, you can also use the magnetic lasso tool. This tool is the third one down in the toolbar. If the tool is not showing, right click on the icon, and select the correct tool.

To start the path, click on the outline of the person, then simply drag the cursor along the outline while holding down the mouse. This tool is very useful, but sometimes doesn’t pick up all of the details of your selection, particularly at intersections or hard angles. To add a selection point in these areas, just hold down shift, while left clicking the mouse.

To complete the selected path, hover around the starting point until a dot appears near the magnetic lasso cursor, then let go of the mouse.

useful photoshop tools

If the path gets away from you, like in the example above, just click command+d to deselect and start over.

Step 3.

Once we have our selection complete, its time to do the erasing. In the top menu, go to “edit” then select “fill” from the drop-down menu. A pop-up box will appear. We want to choose the “content aware” fill option.

useful photoshop tools

Click “OK”, and Photoshop does its thing.

useful photoshop tools

Pretty close, but not perfect.

Step 4.

Time to clean up. First, you can now de-select your path by pressing command+d.

useful photoshop tools

You then need to use another useful Photoshop tool called the “spot healing brush tool”. It is the seventh tool down on the toolbar. Again, left click on the icon if you do not see the correct tool.

With this tool, you can click on an area that needs adjustment, or click and drag to use the tool as a brush. Here is your chance to get artistic, play around with the tool to get used to the way that it works. With Photoshop, often less is more. You do not want your edit to look like a smeared blob rising out of the sea.

useful photoshop tools

Adjust the brush size to get the details, like where the hands are touching. In Photoshop you can also zoom in or out of an area by pressing command+, or command-. You can also move the screen around by holding down the space bar while clicking and moving your mouse.

useful photoshop tools

After a bit of attention, hopefully you will end up with something like this:

useful photoshop tools

Useful Photoshop Tools – What else is it good for?

useful photoshop tools

These same useful Photoshop tools and techniques can be used for a wide range of projects. In Photoshop there are often multiple ways to achieve the desired results, and here is where creativity comes into play. To learn more about the skills to get you started, take a look at our Photoshop course. Also, check back often with web courses bangkok to view new courses and events.

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