In this Photoshop video tutorial from Piximperfect, you’ll learn how you can remove a fence from your photo in Photoshop – you know, those annoying fences in front of your subject.
How to remove a fence from your photo in just 3 steps in Photoshop
Use the following steps to remove your fence:
Step one: Painting out the fence on a layer mask
- Open your image and make a new layer. Rename it “fence mask.”
- Zoom in close to your fence, then choose a hard-edged brush that is just slightly larger than the edge of your fence (be sure your paintbrush color is black).
- To paint the fence, simply click at the beginning of the fence, then hold the shift key, move the brush to the next section of fence and click. This will create a straight line.
- Continue this process over every section of the fence. While this can take some time, duplicating the pattern generally won’t work as no two sections will be the same).
- While zoomed in, to move around the image, press the space bar to bring up the Hand and then move the image to where you need it. Then continue painting in the fence lines.
- Be sure to paint over all the discrepancies in the fence. If some sections of the fence aren’t straight, simply paint in two or three points.
- Once you have painted in all the fence lines, you can move onto the next step.
Step two: Apply the Content-Aware fill
- Select the background layer and turn off the fence mask layer using the eye icon next to the layer.
- Now hold Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac) and click on the thumbnail of the fence mask layer. This will select the fence layer.
- Go to Edit->Content-Aware Fill (If you are using an older version of Photoshop, for to Edit->Fill and then choose Content-Aware from the dropdown section).
- This will open up the Content-Aware Fill settings. Leave them at the default settings. Just change the Output To: setting to New Layer. Click OK.
- Press Ctrl+D (PC) or Cmd+D (Mac) to deselect the fence.
- To see how the Content-Aware Fill tool has worked, turn off your background layer momentarily. Then turn it back on.
Step three: Making minor adjustments
- The image may look great while zoomed out on the full image, but when zoomed in close, some areas may not look right. This is where the minor adjustments come into play.
- Create a new layer.
- You can use the Spot Healing Brush Tool. Paint over areas that need fixing with a soft brush. Be sure that the “Sample All Layers” box is checked too. That way, it samples all the layers below the layer you are working on.
- For trickier sections, like eyes, select the Clone Stamp Tool.
- Take a sample of a similar section by clicking the Alt Key and selecting. If you need to rotate your clone (for example, around an eye). Hold down Shift+Alt+Right or Left Arrows or > (Win) and Shift+Opt+Right or Left Arrows (Mac)
- You can also do that by going to Window->Clone Source and then manually entering in the angle of rotation.
- Then use the regular Healing Brush Tool. Click the Alt (Win) or Option Key (Mac) to take your sample then paint in the areas that need fixing.
- If you are having difficulty fixing areas such as the eyes, consider duplicating the other eye.
- To do this, make a new layer. Then use the Clone Tool and make your selection from the same eye. Then repaint it onto the new layer.
- Then press Ctrl or Cmd+D to select it and right-click and select Flip Vertical. This then brings up the corner anchors, and you can rotate the eye as you please.
- Next, move the rotated eye section over the top of the original eye.
- Click on the Mask icon on the Layers panel to create a mask. Select your brush tool. Remember, a black fill will hide your layer (paint it out).
- Start painting out the sections you don’t want. You can lower the opacity of your layer so that you can get it’s positioning just right too.
- Next, merge your clone layers (not the background or Content-Aware Fill layers). To do this, select the first layer, then press Ctrl or Cmd and click on the next layer. Then press Ctrl or Cmd+E to merge them.
- Continue to look for discrepancies and fix those using the same process.
Step Four: Further adjustments
- Now, you can make further adjustments to your image, including selective focus.
- Next, create a stamp visible layer.
- To do this, first, create a new layer and call it “Selective Focus.” Then select Ctl+Alt+Shift+E (win) or Cmd+Opt+Shift+E (Mac). This will bring your image into the layer.
- Then convert the layer to a smart object. Go to Filter->Convert for Smart Filters. Click OK.
- Then go to Filters->Blur Gallery and choose Tilt Blur. Next, rotate it. Keep in mind that the areas in the middles are focused – they have zero blur.
- Adjust the blur level to whatever you like. You can also adjust the width of the blur area by pulling the lines outward.
- Always have your eyes in focus.
- You can also add other blur types if you like.
- You can also add some sharpness to the eyes. Create another Stamp layer as above. Then desaturate it by clicking Ctrl+Shift+U (Win) or Cmd+Shift+U (Mac). Then go to Filter->Convert for Smart Filter. Click OK.
- Next, go to Filter->Other->High Pass. Zoom in so you can see the detail. Decrease the radius slowly and gradually increase it. Just when you begin to see the halos, stop.
- Change your layer blend mode to Overlay.
- You will see the sharpness on the overall image, but you really only want it on the face. So, hold down the Alt Key (win) or Opt Key (Mac) and then click on the mask. This will create a negative (black) Mask.
- First, name it “Sharpen.” Then click the mask, select your Brush Tool, then choose a soft brush and paint on the areas you want to sharpen (Be sure your white paint palette is selected).
Share your before and after results with us in the comments section!
This sample file is an Adobe Stock asset you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.
What you learned: Use Content-Aware Fill to remove objects and people
When to use Content-Aware Fill
Content-Aware Fill analyzes the image to find the best detail to intelligently replace a selected area, and it gives you controls for fine-tuning the result. This makes it an excellent method for removing large objects and people, even against a complex background.
Begin with a selection
Working with Content-Aware Fill always begins with making a selection. You can use any of the selection tools to create the initial selection. The Object Selection tool is a good choice for selecting a single object when there are multiple objects in a scene.
- Select the Object Selection tool in the Toolbar and drag a loose rectangle or lasso around the item you want to remove. The tool automatically identifies the object inside the area you define and shrinks the selection to the object edges.
- The Object Selection tool usually makes a tight selection at the edges of an object. Including some of the area around the object in the selection will help Content Aware Fill create a better fill. Choose Select > Modify > Expand and enter a few pixels—just enough to create a thin border between the edge of the object and the selection. In this case, we entered 8 pixels.
- Choose Edit > Content-Aware Fill to open the Content-Aware workspace. The view on the left displays a green overlay that identifies the sampling area Photoshop is considering as it chooses source detail to create the fill. The view on the right is a live preview of the fill, which will change as you refine the result using the tools and controls in this workspace.
Experiment with the Sampling area options
If the preview doesn’t display the result you want, experiment with the Sampling area options on the right to control the area from which Photoshop is sampling details to create the fill.
- The Auto option intelligently determines which areas to sample based on color and texture.
- The Rectangular option creates a rectangular sampling area around your selection.
- The Custom option lets you manually specify which areas of the image to sample. Click the Custom button to remove the current green sampling area. Select the Sampling Brush tool in the Toolbar and, in the view on the left, brush over the areas from which you want to sample. In some situations, this option may allow for more control and create a better fill.
With any of these options, you can use the Sampling Brush tool, with its add or subtract option, to further change which image details are used as source material for the fill.
This sample file is an Adobe Stock image you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.
What you learned: Remove unsightly wires from a photo
Use the Spot Healing Brush tool to hide wires
The Spot Healing Brush tool is useful for quickly removing wires, even where they cross over complex backgrounds, like buildings.
- In the Layers panel, click the Create new layer button to make a new layer for retouching. Name this layer cleanup and leave it selected.
- Select the Spot Healing Brush tool in the Toolbar.
- In the Options bar, select Sample All Layers, so that the Spot Healing Brush tool will sample content from all layers and use it to retouch on the selected cleanup layer.
- Make the brush tip a little bigger than the circumference of the wire, by pressing the left bracket key to make the brush smaller or the right bracket key to make it bigger.
- Drag over the wire to remove it from view.
Tip: If the wire is straight, you may be able to remove it all at once by clicking one end of the wire, releasing your mouse, and Shift-clicking the other end of the wire.
Use the Healing Brush tool if you need more control
If you don’t get the results you want with the Spot Healing Brush tool, try the Healing Brush tool. With the Healing Brush tool, you manually select the source of pixels that will be used to hide unwanted content.
- In the Toolbar, press the Spot Healing Brush tool and select the Healing Brush tool from the pop-out menu.
- In the Layers panel, make sure the cleanup layer is still selected. In the Options bar for the Healing Brush tool, choose Sample > Current & Below to retouch on a separate layer.
- Position the cursor near the wire on an area you want to use as the source of pixels that will hide the wire. Press Option (MacOS) or Alt (Windows) to change the cursor to a target icon and click to set the initial sampling point. Release the mouse and drag over the wire. The Healing Brush tool samples pixels from under the moving crosshair and uses them to hide the wire, blending the result with the surrounding area.
Use the Clone Stamp tool to clean up
If there are areas that need further cleanup, try using the Clone Stamp tool. This tool copies and pastes pixels. It doesn’t blend the result with the surrounding area like the Healing Brush tool.
- In the Toolbar, select the Clone Stamp tool.
- In the Layers panel, the cleanup layer should still be selected. In the Options bar for the Clone Stamp tool, choose Sample > Current & Below to clone to a separate layer.
- As you did with the Healing Brush tool, position the cursor on a source area, press Option (MacOS) or Alt (Windows), and click with the target cursor to set the initial sampling point. Then click or drag over unwanted content to hide it.
Save your work
- Choose File > Save as to save the photo in PSD format with the cleanup layer intact, so you can edit it in the future.
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When you are out and about shooting clips in public areas it is probably often you’ll have a good take that could be even better if something or someone wasn’t in it. This is something you have no control over. What you do have control over is the edit and if you are using a modern NLE, such as Premiere Pro CC, you likely have all the tools you need to quickly and easily take out these troublesome objects.
There are tricks to remove both static and moving objects in Premiere actually and Enam Alamin has a quick tutorial video. Though, I will note that this is a lot easier with static shots on a tripod than run-and-gun handheld shooting and that should be kept in mind before you even get to the edit.
This tutorial starts assuming you already have your target clip in a sequence and ready to go.
Remove Moving Objects
Start by duplicating the clip and throwing on the track above it. Holding Alt and dragging is a shortcut. Then disable the lower track.
You’ll want to mask out the object in the top layer starting from the first frame. Now you need to mask out the moving object. Opening the Effect Controls tab (Shift + 5) you’ll find the Opacity section. Select the create ellipse mask option. Adjust the position and size of the mask to select the object, adding a feather of around 50.
Image Credit: Adobe
Click the Mask Path Time icon to create a keyframe at the first frame. Skim forward a few frames, adjust the mask position, and repeat until you hit the end of the clip. Next thing is to invert the mask.
This is actually quite simple for moving objects, you’ll apply a cut to the middle of the bottom layer and then flip the position of the new clips. Since the object is moving what ends up happening is that the below clip is providing a clean shot of the area that was masked out in the top clip. Since it’s the same clip it matches up perfectly.
Again, static clips are the key here for making this easy to pull off.
Image Credit: Adobe
Remove Static Objects
Static objects won’t actually be able to use the above since you can’t rely on clean portions of the clip.
When you have your clip you’ll want to make a snapshot, or Export Frame (Ctrl + Shift + E). Export the frame and make sure to import it into the project.
Make another mask to select your object, getting it as close as you can use the appropriate shape or the pen tool. Again, you’ll invert the mask.
Move your video layer one track up. Place the snapshot on the bottom layer/track and extend or shorten to match the video clip length.
With that in place, you should right-click and select Edit in Adobe Photoshop. Use a selection tool to select the object you want removed. Hitting Shift + Backspace you should get the fill option and be able to perform a content-aware fill. Save the file (not as a new file, overwrite the old one).
When you head back into Premiere you should now have a clean clip with the object removed.
These are two low-effort ways to remove objects and are best suited to simple jobs. Do you have any of your own suggestions to share?
- Adobe Creative Cloud (B&H, Amazon)
- Adobe Premiere Pro CC (B&H, Amazon)
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We all get in a creative slump from time to time. I absolutely loathe when it happens to me. I will search high and low for inspiration and still nothing moves me to create or be creative. Over the years I think I have found a method to help turn things around. First thing I recommend is to walk away from the camera for a bit.. That’s right, put your camera away in its bag, and leave it in closet. Give yourself time to let your batteries recharge for a bit. Once you given yourself a little break, you’ll need a way to get your creative juices flowing again.
Start slowly, and let’s start refilling your well of inspirational juices. There are some great documentaries on Netflix.
Ok.. feeling inspired yet? Not quite there? Time to get your camera and head to your local zoo. I bet you haven’t been to a zoo since you were a kid. trust me on this one. There’s no place better to jump start those creative juices.
Zoos are fascinating places, and I think zoos are great locations to take a photowalk. The zoo is a great place to explore interesting animals as well as chance to practice your photography skills. They provide us with a great variety of subjects, both animals as well as people. Zoos also afford photographers a chance to get very close to wild animals for close up photography without a lot of expensive equipment.
Tips for great photos at the Zoo
Early mornings and late afternoons are always best. Mid-day shots tend to be harsh and wash out the colors. Depending on the exact direction of the sun, it can shadow portions of the face, especially the eyes on many species. Early mornings and late afternoons are also the times of day when wildlife is most active resulting in opportunities to film the species in active modes.
Challenges – Shooting through glass
Now a days with safety concerns every where, you’ll eventually be faced with having to shoot behind glass in a zoo. At first this might put you off but it really shouldn’t. Shooting through glass can be done with great results, as long as you practice the technique. It all comes down to keeping the lens tight against the glass (remove the lens hood) and minimize the light coming in between the lens and the glass. If you have a shirt or some other cloth you might also wrap this around the lens to get least possible amount of light creep. The idea here is to minimize reflections.
With wildlife photography, when capturing images of single animals the face is the focal point. On the face, the eyes become the most important feature. They capture the expression of each individual. Watch your framing. Whatever you are photographing should represent at least 80% of the picture. If you are attempting to do a head or face shot, zoom in until it fills most of the frame. If you are doing a whole body shot, make sure the feet or tail is not cut off.
Shooting Thru Fences
Unfortunately today, most zoo displays are behind ugly chain-link fences, or even worse plexiglass windows. All is not lost, you can still get a quality shot by using a simple camera technique. When forced to shoot thru a fence, use a large aperture to shoot directly through fences. The trick is to get your lens as close to the fence as possible. I mean get your camera lens right on it. Being that close, your camera will not be able to focus or even see the fence. By using a large aperture, your lens is able to capture light wrapping around the fence and it will be practically unnoticeable in the photo. Try it, it really works.. Unless you like shots like this ugly mess below.. 🙂
Had Matt positioned his camera closer to the fence and used a larger aperture, this fence would have completely disappeared from the shot.
Shot directly through a chain-link fence using the technique described above.
Shoot People At The Zoo
Shoot the People. People make great subjects when at the zoo. Don’t just focus on the animals but look for the wonderful reactions of those around you as they react to the animals. Sometimes the people can be more animated than the animals as they mimic them.