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Clone Stamp Tool Practice Thread #1


IamSam

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I know that curbs are not always perfectly straight, but they are fairly close.
It's very helpful to establish selections to help keep things straight and constrained.
Screen Shot 2020-09-07 at 3.00.08 PM.png

It's hard to see but this is a selection where all the cloning is confined within the selection. I made this selection with the Pen Tool.
Screen Shot 2020-09-07 at 3.04.20 PM.png

Here is another 2 minutes of work using the selection as a boundy.
Screen Shot 2020-09-07 at 3.17.29 PM.png

Selection off.
Screen Shot 2020-09-07 at 3.19.24 PM.png
 

Dennis1507

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I plan to start over on section 1 and will ovoid using the same source area. A few questions come to mind.
1. Should I be using a hard brush or one with soft edges?
2. Should I be using 100% Opacity and Flow for most of this type clone work?
3. What is the optimal brush size for filling large areas like the grass? Is bigger better, are is it really more based on the availalbe source area to select from?
Thank you for your assistance.
Dennis
 

Dennis1507

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I reworked section one from the original and attempted to make my cloning source selections a lot more random. I also utilized your suggestion to use the pen tool to creat selections alone the curb to produce straighter lines. That helped a lot and made the job a lot easier as week. See what you think of my second attempt before I proceed to section two.

Thank you for your review and suggestions. I hope this try was an improvement.

Clone Stamp Practice Section _1_2.jpg
 

IamSam

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Should I be using a hard brush or one with soft edges?
No. I almost always make my brush fairly soft.

Should I be using 100% Opacity and Flow for most of this type clone work?
This is tough because it depends on what your doing. I normally use Wacom tablet and I have the opacity set to pen pressure and I change the flow rate based on what I'm doing. If you're using a mouse, I would say to set the opacity to 100% and lower the flow rate to suit your taste.

What is the optimal brush size for filling large areas like the grass? Is bigger better, are is it really more based on the availalbe source area to select from?
There is really no optimal brush size. I change this as often as I sample. It depends on how much area I want to cover. I almost never use large brush sizes when cloning. I like to work small to avoid doubling.

OK.........on to the work.

There's definitely an improvement! But there is still quite a bit of doubling. You need to really inspect your work and look for doubling.
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 2.07.37 PM copy.png

The grassy area looks very nice and extremely well groomed. Almost turf like. You have lost the shadow by the stairs. I like the grass (or whatever that ground cover might actually be) to be more natural looking and not so manicured. It needs some character to be believable.

Perhaps a bit more like this. Note the shadow and the edge between the curb and the grass.
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 1.50.56 PM.png

Your edge is still very blurry. Did you feather the selection oyu made while cloning?
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 2.16.19 PM copy.png
 

IamSam

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Let me try to explain the process of cloning without doubling.

You clone a small potion from all of these different areas....
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 2.41.02 PM.png

until you have a new area that's an amalgamation of multiple and varied sources!
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 2.45.11 PM.png

You just continue this process until your cloned in area looks good. Do the same for the next area. The idea is to mix and match until it's unique. Like mixing paints.
Small additions until you fill in the area...........in this case the dirt mound.
Inspect closely...........if you notice any repeating patterns or objects, clone them out.
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 2.55.08 PM.png
 

Dennis1507

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I am using a mouse for my work. I started out with a hard brush, but it left images of the size of the brush which looked very bad in some areas. I did most of the cloning with a soft brush set to hardness zero. This worked much better but I believe may be part of my blurring problem. As you stated earlier my clone work has a blur. That is one aspect of using the clone tool that I have been trying to improve. You can also see the problem on the curb cleanup. When I cleaned up the curb it created the same blurring issue. The curb looks smudged and looses it natural texture. This cloning was completed using the soft brush and sampling cleaner sections of the curb.

Would it help to set the hardness to 30-50%. Maybe that would help maintain the texture better?

Also what scale factor do you work with when cloning? I am working zoomed in a little, but then when I drop back to 100% the grass area looked totally different and I have to rework many of the sections.

Looks like I still need more work on NOT doubling. I am finding this difficult for this large grass area. As my old piano teach use to tell me, practice makes perfect. Unfortunately in editing images there is no sheet music to follow.
 

Dennis1507

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Followup question based on your cloning instructions/images. I have been sampling the starting point in the center of your circles and then using some of the area around that starting point to fill in over dirt. It sound like I should only be sampling and drawing a "very" small pieces at a time. This is likely why I see have so much duplication even though I randomly select the start point. If that is true then I should be able to improve in the future.
 

Dennis1507

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I repeated section one again based on your comments. I think the grass looks more real now. I also didn’t destroy the shadows by the steeps this time. This image is my work for sections 1 and 2. This exercise is teaching me more than just the clone tool. It also is teaching me to really look at the image close. Looking for grass in the cracks and litter on the ground teaches one to look at all of the image details one section at a time. I “Think” this is my best attempt so for. Hope you agree. No rush to review.

Thank you,

Dennis

Clone Stamp Practice Section _2.jpg
 

IamSam

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This worked much better but I believe may be part of my blurring problem. As you stated earlier my clone work has a blur. That is one aspect of using the clone tool that I have been trying to improve.
OK........let's go back to making a selection of an area or more specifically a hard edge. The idea is to not change the clone stamp brush softness or hardness, it's to let the selection define the edge.

Let me explain again to see if this makes better sense.

Here we have a selection
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 8.06.21 PM.png

If we use the Brush Tool to paint within the selection, then the brush strokes are constrained to a defined border.
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 8.06.38 PM.png

The same holds true for the Clone Stamp Tool.

Selection....
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 8.09.19 PM.png

Cloning within the selection. Mainly I want you to see how the edge of the curb will be defined without altering the Clone Stamp Tool's setting.
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 8.17.19 PM.png

Here's the defined area (on a layer by itself).
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 8.17.32 PM.png

Selection off (Cmd/Cntrl + D)
Note the defined edge of the curb.
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 8.24.12 PM.png

Now here's the part I neglected to tell you about.
You can then invert the selection using Shift + Cmd/Cntrl + I
Now you can work on the other side of the selection (curb).
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 8.28.19 PM.png


Also what scale factor do you work with when cloning?
This depends on the size and resolution of the image I'm doing the work on. So zooming in and then backing out is exactly what I do. But I never work too zoomed in or close.
 

IamSam

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The grass is looking much better but we still have some doubling. Be sure and check your work closely............look for repeating objects.

Here are just a few.
Screen Shot 2020-09-08 at 8.45.31 PM.png
 

Dennis1507

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I was never very good at the Where's Waldo series. I do understand the selection and inversion concept. I need to continue to practice. I can gaze at the image/grass and it looks great. I then come back and look at it a few minutes and see duplicates I didn’t see before. I think I will have to review my cloned areas from different zoom factors and vantage points as well to help me better identify the bad spots.

I do appreciate your time and effort in helping me better understand this tool. Now that I have retired I have more free time. Learning Photoshop can be VERY challenging to me. It is like owning a carpenters tool box but not knowing how to properly use the tool to construct a profession end product. I was thinking of signing up for an online course that starts from the basics. Everything I have learned in Photoshop over the last year has been from experimenting, goggle searches, and YouTube. Can you recommend any good online courses?

Once again, thank you for your time and patience.

Dennis
 

IamSam

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Can you recommend any good online courses?
There are several courses you can pay for but there are also particular people/YouTubers you should follow.

The main one I recommend would be Plearn. Go back to his first videos and start DOING his tutorials. Do two or three a day and I guarantee you will see improvement in a weeks time.
 

Dennis1507

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Thank you for pointing me to Plearn. I really think it would benefit me to work through a course that starts with the basics. I have spent the last week working with you on just the clone brush. I have also been watching a lot of YouTube videos also related to the clone brush. The depth of Photoshops options are sort of hidden unless you know to open things like the Clone stamp window. Learning how to flip, angle, resize and use blending modes in the stamp tool opens up my imagination on how and when this tool can be used.

FYI: I did complete all four of your lessons just to see how well I could do with my current working knowledge. I hate to start something and not see it through. This is a great learning site too, but I think I need to formally relearn Photoshop basics first. I will follow your suggestion and try the Plearn web-site series. Hopefully this will provide me with a good foundation on which to return here and grow. My main intent is still to utilize Photoshop as a tool to improve on my own captured image.
Thank you for all of your support.
Best Regards,
Dennis

Clone Stamp Practice Section _4.jpg
 

IamSam

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This is looking better. There is still a lot to be discussed, but I can see that your done here. Let me know if you need help with anything else.
 

Argos

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I know this is a practice for the clone stamp tool, but in photoshop you need to learn to find easier/different solutions when you get stuck in a problem.

For example, once you have done most of the work, like the last example, you can use a simpler solution to get the final results you want.

Example using the last example of Dennis1507, 2 minutes using only two layers, only to recover grass texture and fix clone stamp issues.

1.jpg
 

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