There are times when you may need to use the Clone Stamp and Healing Brushes to remove an object from you image that comes right up to an important area of the image. For example, this bird and its reflection come precariously close to the main subject. It can be very difficult to remove an offending object and not damage the rest of the image without working at huge magnifications in minute detail. A more efficient way of handling this type of situation is to make a selection of the area that you want to replace. You make the selection accurate against any edge that needs to be saved accurately and looser elsewhere to allow you to blend your edits in naturally. So for example, I'm going to zoom in just a little bit and I'm going to make a selection. I'll use the Magnetic Lasso Tool and begin here, make a couple clicks along here and now I can make it looser because my main concern was to protect the wing and possibly part of the head. The next thing I'm going to do is to add a layer to do my image cleanup on. The next thing I'm going to do is come up here to Select, Refine Edge and let's go back to the default Refine Edge Settings and I'm going to expand that selection just a little bit to make sure that it comes right up to the wing edge. Otherwise you may have a line where the marching ants were that doesn't get cloned over. Now I'm going to select the Clone Stamp Tool and make it a little bit smaller and I'll begin cloning. Because there's an active selection, when I clone, only those pixels contained within the selection area will be changed, even if my brush goes outside the selection. So I'm going to Option click and select here and notice that I can select pixels from outside the selection area. And I can easily work through this area. Notice that I'm selecting repeatedly because I don't want to have completely identifiable patterns, even in this somewhat smooth area. This is where the selection really comes in handy because right now notice that my brush is going outside of the selection area but nothing's happening to the wing. It's protected because as long as there's an active selection, the cloning or healing that I do will only change the pixels within the selection itself. When I now go to Select, Deselect, we can see that the area blends in with no trace of the bird that had been there previously. Now, you may notice that there's a little bit of a repeat pattern there and so I wouldn't hesitate to make the brush smaller and go over it and choose the Healing Tool and just go over it a little bit to make some change so that there are no readily identifiable patterns that are repeated. That will make the area look more natural. Remember that you're painting with pixels and you need to create a background that would appear natural when you remove the subject so you wouldn't select pixels to use from the lower part of this image where the water is sharper and the waves are seen in more detail. You choose pixels from an area that's similar in amount of detail, texture and tonality. You could also remove these other birds if you chose to but since they're not near the main subject, you don't need to worry about creating a selection first. Remembering to make a selection before using the Clone Stamp and Healing Brushes to move an object that touches an important part of your image will make your work a lot easier and faster. Otherwise you'd have to zoom in to extreme magnifications and work with very tiny brushes, which is very time consuming.
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