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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Adobe Photoshop Elements 11
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Lecture Comments (11)

2 answers

Last reply by: John Dufour
Tue Jun 3, 2014 12:09 PM

Post by John Dufour on June 2, 2014

Hi Mike.  Just wanted to let you know that June is my last month and I will be out of town for the week of the 16th.   If there is anyway you can send me that video soon it would be much appreciated.   Thanks,  John

1 answer

Last reply by: Professor Brown
Fri May 16, 2014 6:56 PM

Post by John Dufour on May 16, 2014

Sorry for being a pest on this,  but have not seen the video yet. Have the folks at Educator not had the time or figure out how to get me this video.    John

2 answers

Last reply by: John Dufour
Mon May 5, 2014 4:20 PM

Post by John Dufour on April 30, 2014

Hi Michael,  just wondering where should I be looking to see the video once it is posted.  Please advise.  Thanks once again,  John

2 answers

Last reply by: John Dufour
Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:10 AM

Post by John Dufour on April 21, 2014

Hi,  in this video Michael mentions correcting the body of the car, yet the process is not shown.   Can you please advise on how the body of the car can be corrected.  Thank you.  John Dufour

Basic Retouching: Tools & Techniques

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:06
  • Retouching Tools & How to Use Them: Part 1 0:43
    • Making a selection of the Sky
    • Applying the Gradient Tool to the Sky
    • Making a Selection of the Window
    • Applying the Gradient Tool to the Window
  • Retouching Tools & How to Use Them: Part 2 10:13
    • Color Variations
    • Adjust Color for Skin Tones
    • Spot Healing Brush Tool
    • Healing Brush Tool
    • Clone Stamp Tool, Part 1
    • Clone Stamp Tool, Part 2
  • Retouching Tools & How to Use Them: Part 3 25:03
    • Pattern Stamp Tool

Transcription: Basic Retouching: Tools & Techniques

Hi, everybody--Mike Brown back with you with another lesson in Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 from

If you remember my four categories of Photoshop Elements, we have selections, corrections, retouch, and manipulation.0007

We have dealt with selections and getting flawless selections, corrections (which you now can apply with those flawless selections), and now, it's time to deal with retouching.0015

In this lesson, we're going to (in part 1) go over the retouching tools and how they work: the Spot Healing brush, the Healing brush, the Rubber Stamp tool, and the Pattern Stamp; and I want to give you a demo with basic retouching techniques and some tips on flawless retouching.0026

Let's get started!0043

All right, here is an image that I shot at a dealership, of a car.0044

You can see that you see the Mercedes sign; you see a car in front; you see stuff underneath it; you see part of the building behind the image, and a car down here.0051

We have some things that we need to retouch--a lot of body retouch; we need to retouch windows; we need to take out the signs and the power poles--all sorts of stuff.0062

In this demo right here, I'm going to show you how we would do retouching without the retouching tools.0076

We're going to use the Gradient tool.0084

It's very simple: what we're going to do is take the Quick Selection tool, and we're going to make a selection of just the sky (moving around the car here, very carefully).0086

Now, in this demo, I may not be perfect, because we have time constraints; I don't want to keep you all day.0101

But now, we'll see that we have some areas to correct: drop the brush size down, Option/Alt, and follow that car edge to remove the faint edged area that overwashed...that looks pretty good right there.0108

A little smaller...Option/Alt...take it right back down to the red edge of the car; it's looking pretty good.0125

Let's see if we can get it all the way; it's coming out--the Quick Selection tool is working very well here.0135

That looks pretty good; Option/Alt, right there on that edge; clean that up; this is looking great!0142

Now, let's come down here; Option/Alt again; get that selection.0150

Automobiles are very difficult; many times, you won't be able to do this, because the edge, because of reflections, is so faint.0154

This one worked reasonably well.0164

All right, we're coming back; I see I got that; that looks OK.0166

Now, the rear window area right there--I can hardly see it, so what we're going to do is take the Polygonal lasso tool, with a feather of 1, and we're going to take Option, because we're taking it away.0173

I'm leaning back to see this, and I can see that the edge goes right up there.0186

That will remove that, and there we go!0197

All right, we have the edge of the automobile; let's go to our Refine Edge dialogue box, and what we're going to do is use just a tiny bit of radius and see if we can get those trees.0201

We got them; do a feather of maybe half a pixel...let's do 1 pixel of feather; good enough.0215

Let's take a look at it with our Selection brush; that is so convenient to look at it as a mask.0223

We look, and we see that there is a little bit here that I missed; let's go ahead and paint that in, right on down the edge of the fender.0230

This is where these car selections are very precise; so, even painting this is not necessarily the best way to do it.0240

There we go--Option to take it out of that sign.0252

It's very painstaking work to do a car edge properly.0258

We'll come around; that's close enough; oh, let's just take that little bit out of that...oops, other way around; I need to paint.0262

This is where the Wacom tablet really helps you.0272

OK, we have our selection; let's go from the mask to the selection.0275

Now, what we're going to do here--this is something a little bit different (I want to get these to come back from green...OK): the original is right here--everything else is turned off; we are going to copy the sky.0281

We can do this on the original--there are two ways to do this; I'll copy it.0302

Command/Control+C--that copied the sky; Edit, Paste into Selection (it should have pasted it in the right place); we'll just do Command/Control+V, and it comes in in the middle of the image.0305

Now, what we have to do is move it up and match it up, pixel for pixel; sometimes this takes a little while.0317

Let me show you how we're going to do this: we're going to move it up to match up the edges; use your arrow keys to turn it off and on; we need to go over one and down one, and that should be it.0326

There we go; off and on; we've matched it exactly.0340

Now, you notice that it created another layer that is purely the sky.0344

This way, we don't mess with our original layer.0351

We're going to take the sky layer, Command/Control, click, and it loads our selection.0353

Now, we're going to go to the Gradient tool, and we're going to take our color picker, right there--the little eyedropper--and we're going to source the sky, which is our foreground color; Option/Alt, source the other side of the sky, which is the background color, take our Gradient at 100%, Command/Control+H, and just drag it across the image.0359

There you go: Command+Z, Command+Y, and we have removed that sign and all of the other distractions and fixed the sky.0385

We're going to do one more thing here: let's take a look at the window--another use of the Gradient.0395

All right, we're going to take that Polygonal lasso with one pixel, and we're going to work our way around the window in short segments, which, when we complete the selection, will, with the feather of 1 that you see down there, round them off so that it appears to be a perfect curve.0402

That way, we get a precise selection around this edge.0430

Come right around the window; spacebar; move it right to there, and come up inside the window, and back over, and there we have it!0435

All right, we have a selection; let's take a quick look at it as a mask again.0456

You can see how smoothly the edges became a curve, by using short selections.0461

So, using the Polygonal lasso tool allows you to select precision areas, if you do short segments.0467

All right, let's save that selection--we worked pretty hard to do it--just in case something happens; we're going to call that Window and click OK.0474

All right, now, to remove this: since we can't see through that window, color picker again; we're going to use our Gradient.0484

Color picker: we'll use this color for the foreground (that is that color, right there), and Option; for the background, we'll use that color there.0492

Take the Gradient; drag it from foreground to background, and there you have it!0504

It has been removed; but what we're going to do...we have one problem; here is a trick for flawlessness: notice, we have a color that looks good, but look: there is a kind of granular noise (that's from the digital camera); there is noise in this image, and there is no noise where we dropped the color.0511

So, with the selection intact (and we're working only on that area right there--that is interesting): Filter, Add Noise; we worked it in another layer, but that is OK.0530

There we go; deselect; and there we were, and there we are.0545

I meant to work on the original, but, by working on the pasted layer--if you look, we have made a retouch on a separate layer from the original, so the original is still intact.0550

All right, so there you have how to do some retouching with gradients.0566

And again, the key--I should do this with the sky as well; I'll just load up the sky, and now that the window is part, we're going to have to go with the Freehand option and go around the window; get that out of there; and we're going to put noise in the sky, as well.0576

There you go: Command+Z, Command+Y, and now it matches up with the remainder of the image.0598

We retouched a considerable amount of that automobile without using direct retouch tools--just gradients.0603

OK, so now, let's go back and take a look at our retouching tools.0612

Here is an image of a friend of mine that I took; we look at the image, and it needs a little work right away--it has a kind of green cast, so the first thing I'm going to do is Enhance Color, Color Variations; I'm going to decrease green, maybe twice, and see how that does it.0616

That is a little bit of a help; we're going to go to the Enhance menu, Color, and here is another one: Adjust Color for Skin Tone.0636

We'll just hit the skin tone right here; oh, that did a nice job of warming up the skin--that is just fine.0644

Now, we'll take (as soon as that calculates)...we're going to put an adjustment layer in for Levels and do a little contrast snap and open it up just a hair.0651

There you go--we have gone from there to there, and now, the image is ready for work.0666

Let's explore any problems we have here.0673

The most obvious one is a fold in the dress; that needs to be retouched out.0677

Secondly, I can see in the sunglasses the flashes in the background; they show in the sunglasses--a little deformity in the corner.0682

We have skin problems, but, in Retouching Part 2, we'll deal with skin retouch; here, it's just basics.0691

We have, in the background, a couple of problems--just distractions: notice the dead leaf over here, and a couple of branches there.0698

But, a big problem that we have: a branch growing out of the arm right there, and a branch growing out of her side, between the arm and the dress, and this flare spot.0707

Let's go and take a look at our retouch tools, and show you what they do.0720

Now, we have the Spot Healing brush and the Healing brush; both do similar things, but allowing for slightly different ways of doing it--we'll show you.0726

You have a choice of proximity match, which looks in the general area for similar background; the new Content Aware, which looks all around and averages things, and in general does a better job--I tend to leave it; and Texture--we don't want to deal with.0737

What we have here: I would like to have a brush, and let's look at the brush options.0753

I want a softer brush; there we go; close window; there we go...I got that out of there; close the window; all right, a softer brush.0766

Now, the way the Spot Healing brush works (let me find another imperfection that we can work on--OK, right here): we want it to remove this little mole (or just a freckle).0783

you get the size of the brush down to roughly the size of what you're doing, and just paint.0799

Now, the black area is the area it's going to fix; but, with the Content Aware, it's looking outside of that--I can't really move the brush, but it's looking about that far outside, all around, and notice--it's gone!0806

The area around it was pretty uniform to deal with; we'll just take another one; it's very simple.0821

Just spot, and it's done--that easy; just cover the little spots; just paint over them.0827

This works very well in uniform areas, where you have small blemishes, like we have here, on the skin.0834

There is a large one--and away it goes; everything works perfectly that way--very simple.0841

Now, let's come up; let's try this on the side here--just a little bit of simple...there we go--I helped that out.0847

You can do spotting, very easily, of simple problems.0855

We'll go in here and do the same thing; we'll paint over that flared area--and it did a reasonable job.0858

Let's make the brush size larger and paint over a little more area--and it did a better job.0865

I'm going to use the other brush--this is what you get when you don't have an option and a lot of area.0873

We're going to source: Option/Alt; there is your target, so it's going to look over here, but it's going to do the work over here.0878

See the little cursor to the left--the little crosshairs?--we've painted, and it did a reasonable job.0886

Let's try it again by sourcing up here; it doesn't work the first time on one of these; try three or four different times, because it calculates differently--nice job, right there.0895

Now, we're going to try right over by an edge, and this is very problematic.0905

We're going to source way in and paint it over here near the edge, and see what happens.0910

See that little flare?--even though it's sourced over there, it doesn't 100% look over there; it looks partly where you are working.0916

So, when you get near an edge, it tends to look out in all directions, and it saw the skin, so that is a problem.0926

Let's see what happens here: source, and paint near this edge; that was slightly...I did the same thing.0933

Neither of those works; let's try the spot in the corner and see what happens.0941

Again, we got the flare; so those only work for areas where you have uniformity.0948

We have another--we have the Rubber Stamp tool, the original cloning tool, and how that works is very simple; I'll give you a fun demonstration.0954

Option/Alt; source again--it's sourcing from her lips--and it's going to paint and reproduce (clone) exactly (notice the cursor on her lips, moving around; and I want to do this at 100%--I had it at a lower percentage)...0963

There, now it's painting; see the little cursor working around her lips up there on the face; and it's reproducing precisely; what you are painting up here reproduces down there.0980

You're cloning from one spot to another.0993

For her sunglasses, we'll source up into this area right here, and we'll reproduce that down by the edge.0997

It's not looking anywhere; it's just reproducing.1006

You can also do the spotting by sourcing and doing that again.1009

One tool sometimes works; another doesn't; so, between the Spot Healing, Healing brush, and Clone tool (both the Healing brush and the Clone tool use the source)...1015

I want to show you something: for both of those tools, you have what is called a clone overlay, and when you default and start your computer for the first time (or the program), this Show Overlay box will be checked.1030

What happens is: source in here, and as you're working on an area, it's showing you where it's sourcing from.1045

Source on the lips--it shows you that.1054

I personally want to see where I'm working--what is going on--not the source, so if you go into the clone overlay and uncheck Show Overlay, when you source, now you will only see it once you start to paint.1056

OK, so we have fixed those blemishes; let's go down and look at the dress.1072

We can do this...this is where the Clone tool will be used, not the healing brushes.1078

The first thing we have to do is to reconstruct the dress; so, we're going to take the lasso tool with a feather of 1; hit your Return, type in 1; hit it again--1 pixel.1084

We're going to fake it by just drawing what we think the dress should look like in that area with a selection.1098

We have it isolated; now we're going to do Command/Control+H to hide the crawling ants (but the selection is still there),and take our Clone tool (right now at 100% opacity with the softer brush at about 45-pixel brush--would work just fine, and we'll make it a little smaller).1106

Option/Alt, sources (let's make it smaller); Option/Alt to source, and you want to maintain tonality--see how the arm is dark by the dress, light out here?1130

We're going to try to reproduce the tonality precisely, coming down the arm.1141

It's not working too well--you see that it's brighter--so we're going to take that all away and start closer.1148

I don't want to be too close; and you want to do this a little at a time, so that you don't get what is called repetition (I'll show you that in a minute).1156

Starting out just a little bit away from it, paint a little bit only; notice how we're doing a good job here; start down here, and paint up, just kind of picking at it, a little at a time.1164

We're cloning 100% of what we source at; now, here is what happens: see these three dots?--that is repetition, because I cloned the same place three times.1178

That is a giveaway that you are photoshopping; Option/Alt, and remove the repetition; it came from right there--Option/Alt again, cloning very carefully.1192

Change your source points frequently, so that you don't get any of that repetition that I was talking about.1205

We're getting a little bit of lightness in there, so let's go back up and clone over that.1214

Down here, see, this is just a patient process; do a little bit at a time, as you move along; it won't take too much longer; we only have one correction that I see we need to make already.1219

Let's go ahead and pick at this a little bit more; we're getting there.1235

If you do this in one big jump, you are going to get a lot of repetition, and it's going to look a little weird.1244

So, you just work your way along, taking a little bit at a time; a stroke at a time is what I'm doing here.1253

We almost have it done, and there we go; it looks reasonably good.1260

Now, I can see that it looks OK, but you see right there: you can see the dark edge; what we're going to do is change our opacity down to about 20%; you'll see more of this in the next lesson on skin, but this is how it works.1266

Larger brush; we still have the selection; Option and source it, and then, at 20%, just work the edges, and see how gently, by painting a little at a time, just smoothing that edge tone (I got too much there)...1282

There we go--that looks pretty good; how about that; we have that completely finished, and it looks good up close.1300

We can Command+H, Command+D, and now we have fixed up the arm, and the dress looks pretty decent.1309

We could have brought it in a little bit more, but that's OK.1315

Now, we'll take out the branch; so we're going to take our Freehand lasso tool, feather of 1, and we're going to make a selection to protect the arm.1318

Coming over here...down just a little bit; protect the dress; I'll start from the other side and go up, come over to the arm, and we are protecting the arm and the dress from being cloned.1330

Now, you can clone outside and find similar areas: Command/Control+H, Rubber Stamp tool, a little larger brush, and you want to get similar texture.1348

Keep changing your source points, because if you don't (let's do this and just show you; we'll paint it in that area--oh, it's a 20%; I need to do 100; sorry)...we're going to paint from here and just clone it 100%.1359

Now, at first it looks OK, and you probably wouldn't notice it, but there is a duplication here.1381

This is kind of abstract enough: right here, there are those two spots: there they are, and there again, and I also missed some of the edging.1389

So, I'll take another sourcing and paint...I'm going to deselect, because that is the edge of the selection; that is a giveaway, too.1398

Fix that; and now, we have removed the duplication; there is one right there; Option, done; and there is the branch.1405

One more, and we're almost done with this thing; and there we go with the Freehand again, and we'll just protect the edge of the arm, and we're going to do Shift and pick up all of this area here; Option to get that hand saved.1416

Now, we're going to start cloning here, with this Rubber Stamp tool and larger brush.1437

We're going to take a big area off of here; Option, Source; and paint it right down here and see how that works.1442

It worked pretty well; the repetition didn't show too much.1452

Command/Control+H; we're going to take this texture, because that is what the bushes look like.1455

Paint that; Option/Alt and paint over here, and there; and let's take a look for repetition and see if we have any.1460

I don't see any evidence of it; let's go to a smaller brush and just clean up little spots.1469

Oh, I see what that is; that's outside the selection--fix that.1475

There you go, and one thing: let's get that dead leaf out of there--a little abstract look; and there you have it.1481

By using all of the tools--we used the Clone Stamp tool; we used the Spot Healing and Healing brush and selections to isolate--we cleaned this up.1489

Now, one more thing that I want to show you: let's go back and see what we've talked about already.1501

We've talked about the Spot Healing brush, the Healing brush, the Rubber Stamp tool...and let's talk quickly about the Pattern Stamp tool.1509

I'm going to open up just a blank document, and let's go look at the Pattern Stamp tool for a moment.1518

What you get here is a series of options: this paints patterns from the pattern file.1528

You have a lot of patterns to choose from; let's pick some rock patterns.1536

Here is a rock pattern, and when you paint, it paints a pattern so that you can make backgrounds.1542

Now, that is a hard-edged brush; we could pick a soft-edged brush, and up the size of that, and it would do it with a softer edge.1550

That is one way to do this; here is another one here, just for fun: let's go to Nature Patterns and pick some grass, and you paint various backgrounds.1562

You can isolate's kind of good for graphics and creating stuff.1573

Now, you can paint as an impressionistic background; let's pick some rocks again--rock patterns; I'll pick this same one we had, and we'll click the Impressionist button.1576

What that is going to do is paint it as an impressionistic art form.1589

It's kind of blurring it down to give you some blurred background.1594

If you chose a hard brush, however, it would paint it (let's do this with a larger brush) almost looking like a snake.1597

So, you have all sorts of options that you can play with, with the Pattern Stamp tool.1610

There you have the Pattern Stamp tool and a demo on basic retouching techniques, and some tips on flawless retouching: replacing grain when you use gradients; we used the gradients and the retouching tools--all sorts of different methods to do basic retouch.1615

In the next lesson, we'll deal with retouching people!1633

I'll see you back in the next lesson.1636