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by Wendi Elizabeth Martha Scarth


The Clone Tool
Adobe Photoshop


 Removing Lampposts Using The Clone Stamp Tool
Suitable for Adobe Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 & CC
Skill Level - Intermediate

Original Art Deco houses
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This tutorial demonstrates how to remove distracting elements from photographs, such as lampposts, using the Clone Stamp Tool. To work along exactly, you are welcome to download the photograph I am working with (Whitley Bay’s Art Deco houses) Here
Unzip the file and open the photograph onto Photoshop’s workspace.

Mirror Cloning Tutorial Here

Understanding Layers
Understand The Workspace And Palettes

Undo And Navigation Steps
Two ways of undoing steps are from the top menu, Edit then Step Backwards. Alternatively, click a previous snapshot in the History Palette.

Navigate (zoom in and pan) your image using the Navigator Palette,

or the Zoom Tool.

Activate The Hand Tool by tapping the Spacebar, keeping the Spacebar pressed, pan your image in the usual way.

Tutorial Tip
For accuracy, Zoom into an area you wish to Clone out - top menu, then View then Zoom.

Tutorial Note
Remember, the closer you Zoom into your image, the larger the Brush size needs to be - and vice versa.

Cloning Tutorial
Intricate Cloning
Collect Clone Pixels
Correcting Mistakes
Cloning Away Lampposts
Cloning Animation Frames
Patchy Gradient Sky Warning
Quickly Adjust The Brush Size
Clone Stamp Tool Settings Notes
Specify The Clone Source Offset
Display Your Cursor’s Crosshairs
Spot-cloning - Clone Specific Areas
About The Clone Source Panel/Palette
Clone Stamp Tool Notes And Synopsis
Scale And Rotate The Clone Brush Tool
Using Cross Hairs To Copy (Clone) Areas
Adjust The Sample Source Overlay Options
Collecting Pixels From A Second Photograph
Set Sample Sources For Cloning And Healing
Redefine Dark/Light Edges Using The Burn/Dodge Tools

Clone Stamp Tool Notes And Synopsis -
Proceed To The Start Of My Tutorial Here!
Cloning elements from photographs is not a precise science; undoubtedly, you will require considerable patience and lots of time. Additionally, individual photographs have different needs, and require slightly different cloning steps.

When cloning (removing) elements from photographs, the most important consideration is a flawless removal. Therefore, keep a close eye on your progress and ensure the pattern repetition (clone) is randomised enough to be convincing. You can of course incorporate alternative methods to remove elements from images: in addition to the Clone Tool, the following Tools can facilitate the removal of unwanted elements; The Patch Tool, The Healing Brush Tool, The Spot Healing Tool, The Eraser, The Blur, Dodge and Burn Tools.

The Clone Stamp Tool paints one part of an image over another part of the same image (or over another part of any open document) that has the same colour mode. You can also paint part of one Layer over another Layer. The Clone Stamp Tool is therefore useful for duplicating objects or removing a defect in an image.

(Photoshop Extended: You can also use the Clone Stamp Tool to paint content onto video or animation frames).

To use the Clone Stamp Tool you need to set a sampling point over the area you want to copy (or clone) the pixels from, then paint them over another area. To paint with the most current sampling point whenever you stop and resume painting, select the Aligned option. Deselect the Aligned option to paint starting from the initial sampling point no matter how many times you stop and resume painting.

You can use any Brush tip with the Clone Stamp Tool, which gives you precise control over the size of the clone area. You can also use Opacity and Flow settings to control how paint will be applied to the cloned area.

Optional Tip - Duplicate Your Photograph
Duplicate your photograph and work on the duplicated copy, and keep the original photograph open on the workspace, next to the copy. This makes it easier for you to keep an eye on your progress, and also ensures you do not remove/repair elements that are an integral part of the original photograph.

Clone Stamp Tool Tip
Applying the Clone Stamp Tool in very small increments allows better control.

About The Clone Source Panel/Palette -
Proceed To Tutorial Here!
The Clone Source Panel (Window then Clone Source) has options for the Clone Stamp Tools or Healing Brush Tools. You can set up to five different sample sources and quickly select the one you need without resampling each time you need to change to a different source: the Clone Source Palette saves the sampling sources until you close the document.

In addition, you can view an Overlay of your sample source to make it easier to clone the source in a specific location. You can also Scale or Rotate the sample source to better match the size and orientation of the cloning destination.



New Layer Control Settings

The new Sample options provide greater control, in addition to Current and All Layers, we can now choose to sample only the Current Layer and the Layers below (Current & Below) - as well as choosing to include or omit Adjustment Layers.

Scale And Rotate The Sample Source
In the Clone Source Palette, select a clone source and then do any of the following.
To Scale the sample source, enter a percentage value for W (width) or H (height) or scrub W or H. By default, it is set to constrain proportions.

To adjust the dimensions independently or to restore the constrain option, click the Maintain Aspect Ratio button.

To rotate the sample source, enter a degree value or scrub the Rotate The Clone Source icon.

To Reset the sample source to its original size and orientation, click the Reset Transformation button.

Specify The Clone Source Offset
When using the Clone Stamp Tool (or the Healing Brush Tool), you can paint with the sampled source anywhere in the target image. The overlay options will help you visualise where you want to paint. However, if you need to paint in a very specific location relative to the sampling point, you can specify the X and Y pixel offset.

Set Sample Sources For Cloning And Healing
Using the Clone Stamp (or the Healing Brush Tool), you can sample sources in the current document or any open document in Photoshop.

Cloning Animation Frames
When cloning video or animation, you can set sampling points in the current frame you’re painting or sample sources in a different frame, even if the frame is in a different video Layer or in a different open document. You can set up to five different sampling sources at a time in the Clone Source Palette: the Clone Source Palette/Panel saves the sampling sources until you close the document.

To clone video or animation frames, open the Animation Palette. Select the timeline animation option and move the current-time indicator to the frame with the source you want to sample. To set the sampling point, select the Clone Stamp Tool and Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) in any open document window. (Optional) To set another sampling point, click a different Clone Source button in the Clone Source Palette. You can change the sampling source for a Clone Source button by setting a different sampling point.

Adjust The Sample Source Overlay Options


You can adjust the sample source Overlay options to see the Overlay and underlying images better when painting with the Clone Stamp and Healing Brush Tools. To temporarily display the Overlay while painting with the Clone Stamp Tool, press Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS). The Brush changes temporarily to the Move Source Overlay Tool. Drag to move the Overlay to another location. Now, (in the Clone Source Palette), mark the Show Overlay tab, and do any of the following:
To hide the Overlay while you apply the paint strokes, select Auto Hide.
To set the Opacity of the Overlay, enter a percentage value in the Opacity text box.
To set the appearance of the Overlay, choose either the Normal, Darken, Lighten or Difference Blending Mode from the pop-up menu at the bottom of the Clone Source Palette/Pane. To invert the colours in the Overlay, select Invert.
To help align identical areas in the source Overlay and underlying image, set the Opacity to 50% and select Invert. Matching image areas will appear solid grey when aligned.

If you cannot see your Layers Palette, press your F6 Key.

1/ Remove Unsightly Lampposts CS, CS2, CS3, CS4/5/6 (Extended)
Open your photograph onto Photoshop’s workspace.

Then duplicate your photograph by left-clicking and dragging the Background Layer over the following Create a New Layer icon, (found at the foot of the Layers Palette), and work on the duplicated (Background copy) Layer. 

Now, from the left-side Tools Toolbar, activate the Clone Stamp Tool - (or tap your S Key).


Photoshop CS/CS4/CS5/CS6; Clone Source Panel/Palette
To display the Clone Source Panel/Palette: from the top menu, choose Window then click a tick before Clone Source. Your Palette/Panel will now be docked onto the right-side Palette Well - as illustrated below. (Click the Clone Source tab below to display the Palette/Panel).

CS4's Workspace

              Photoshop CS3 Photoshop CS4

Clone Source Panel/Palette Note
We won’t be using the Clone Source Panel during this removing lampposts tutorial.

Utilise CS3/CS4/5/6 (Extended’s) Clone Source Panel To Paint In Reflections Here!

Clone Stamp Tool Settings Notes
Settings depend entirely upon your image’s size and requirements - and throughout this lesson, the Master Diameter, Flow, Opacity, (and Hardness if you are using a Hard
Brush) - can be altered to suit your images individual requirements. I utilised a Brush from Photoshop’s Basic library: and for a soft Clone, I selected a Soft Brush.

Ensure the Clone Brush’s size (circular area) is slightly larger than the area you are cloning.

When a randomised clone is required;- for example, when cloning similar coloured (and textured) patterns such as foliage or sand - deselect the Aligned tab.

Quickly Adjust The Clone Brush’s Size
To quickly adjust the Clone Brush’s size, press your Keyboard’s Bracket Keys - ensuring the Keyboard is set to lower case, and Not capitals. The left-side bracket reduces the Brush’s size and the right-side bracket enlarges it .

4/ Alt-clicking To Copy (Clone) Coloured Pixels (Option-click for Macs)
Before you begin, you need to prime the Clone Stamp with coloured pixels; if you don’t; you will receive the following warning dialogue.

Therefore - in an area that is close to the lamppost, but not close enough to collect lamppost pixels; press and keep pressed your Keyboard’s Alt Key. (Mac students, press Option). Now (with your mouse), left-click. Left-clicking primes your Clone Stamp with gradient sky pixels within the clone-circle. Now, move your cursor over the lamppost, and left-click. You have now applied a lamppost-free area of sky over the lamppost, and as a result, part of the lamppost has been removed (or cloned out) - as illustrated below.

To remove this area of the lamppost completely, repeatedly left-click over the same area to reapply the Clone Stamp.

Soft Brush Clone

Because I am using a Soft Brush, the clone has a soft, feathered edge (as illustrated above). However, if I were to repeat the last step, and collect sky blue pixels with a Hard Brush - it would result in a harder, sharper clone, as illustrated below.

Hard Brush Clone

A Hard Brush therefore causes the clone to be sharp and more noticeable than a Soft Brush does: however, during your task, there may be times when you require a Hard and a Soft Brush. 

Correcting Mistakes
You have two options: either, from the top menu, choose Edit then choose Step Backwards. Alternatively, click a previous snapshot in the History Palette to undo a Brush stroke, or a step.

If one of the following examples happens.  

It means you have Alt/Option-clicked too close to the lamppost, and you need to Step Backwards, collect, then reapply - clear sky pixels.

5/ Using Cross Hairs To Copy (Clone) Areas
An alternative way of collecting pixels is by dragging your cursor around the image. Whilst dragging, you will notice the following cross hairs. 


                                                                              Cross Hairs
                                                                               Source Point

As you move the cursor around your image, the Clone Stamp Tool copies coloured pixels from the source point (cross hairs). It then applies them to the (circled in yellow) area, above. It is therefore vitally important that, when cloning with this method, you pay special attention to where the cross hairs are collecting pixels from. Below is an example of the Clone Stamp’s cross hairs collecting, then depositing, inappropriate pixels.

Cross Hairs

For accuracy, especially when working with intricate areas, you will gain more control if you Alt/Option-click to collect the pixels, rather than using the cross hairs method.

Display The Cross Hairs
To set your Clone Tool to display its central cross hairs: from the top menu of Photoshop, choose Edit then choose Preferences then choose General then choose Cursors. Now, from the Painting Cursors menu, mark the Show Crosshair in Brush Tip box, then click OK.

Now, continue Alt/Option-clicking, (or dragging your cursor using the cross hairs method); being careful to clone (copy) the correct coloured pixels. After you have removed the upper lampposts, you are ready for the next step.

Warning - Patchy Gradient Sky
If the Clone Brush doesn’t collect identical sky gradient pixels, your new sky will appear blotchy and uneven - as demonstrated below.

To blend uneven sky colours, utilise the Dodge, Burn, Eraser, and Blur Tools - setting very low Opacity/Exposure settings.

Spot-cloning Tip
First isolate the area you wish to clone with a Selection Marquee - then complete your cloning inside the Selection Marquee: the Selection Marquee will protect areas outside the Selection Marquee, (for example the Art Deco house), from being effected by sky pixels.

The relatively easy part of removing the upper lampposts is complete, and it is time for the trickier - and more time consuming task of removing the lower lampposts. The best advice I can give is to Zoom into your image as much as you can, and carefully (and slowly) clone away elements - pixel by pixel if necessary. Keep zooming into (and out of) your image, observing your steps. It is better to redo a couple of steps than to find out much later that you have made a monumental error. Therefore, try to get into the habit of checking your progress as you work. Zoom into your image - with the Zoom Tool, or the Navigator Palette, then Alt/Option and left-click over a suitable area of your image; adjusting the size of your Brush as necessary.

Then continue the cloning process, until you have cleanly removed all lamppost pixels.

Remember to blend the cloned area, making good use of the Burn, Eraser, Dodge and Blur Tools.
Zoom out of your image to see how it appears in normal viewing size .

And bear in mind, if you took the photograph; as long as the result is convincing, no one will know if the clone is not a perfect replica. Additionally, you can “borrow” missing areas from other parts of the image, or even a different photograph.


Collecting Pixels From A Different Photograph
This is very easy to do; begin by opening a second image onto Photoshop’s workspace, and place it next to your original photograph.

Then Alt/Option-click to collect coloured pixels from the second image, and left-click to apply them to the first image, in the usual cloning manner.

Redefining Dark/Light Edges
To redefine areas that have dark edges, such as the edge of this flat roof, below.

From the left-side Tools Toolbar, activate the Burn Tool.


And with suitable Range, Exposure and Brush Size settings, utilise the Burn Tool to redefine (darken) the roof. Note: I worked between Shadows, Midtones and Highlights to redefine the following roof line.

Equally, you can lighten areas using the Dodge Tool .

An Intricate Cloning Tip
If you are experiencing difficulties cloning right up to an element; for example, a person: first isolate the person with your choice of Lasso Tool, (remembering to add a slight Feather) - then Copy the isolated element to a New Layer. You can then (temporarily) hide the New Layer, and clone right up to the element. When your cloning is complete, you can then redisplay the hidden Layer.

Final Notes
Now I have explained how the Clone Tool operates, it is over to you: take your time, and keep saving your image (as a Copy), as you work, and as soon as you feel eyestrain, take a break. If you begin with an easy image - for example, the removal of a child’s, or dog’s toy from and empty beach, or field - you will quickly build both skill and confidence - enabling you to undertake more complex (and demanding) cloning tasks.

After you have removed the elements and tidied your image with the Blur, Eraser, Burn and Dodge Tools, (or a very low Opacity of the Eraser Tool), from the top menu, choose Layer then choose Flatten Image

Congratulations, your work is complete
and is ready to save

Wendi E M Scarth. 
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