Removing people , changing backgrounds croping etc,

Hello guys i had a question usually when i want to crop someone out of a picture i do , (by duplicating layer and adding mask and just painting over it ) or just by simply using magnetic lasso but the problem is i always make it look 'fake' sharp edged when i crop it , how can i give it a more realistic touch? same goes for the clone staming tool thank you!


Well-Known Member
Getting realistic masks and clean cloning requires one major step: practice. Tip: never make a mask using the Magic Wand tool. Professionals would prefer the Magic Wand were dumped in the dust bin, it is basically useless for 99.9% of uses. Unfortunately so many tutorials teaching masking online utilize the Magic Wand and the results are always substandard. Good masking is almost an art and it depends on the subject being masked. If it has sharp edges and no blurring or hair (like the image of a car or a washing machine) making the mask is best done with a vector path (pen tool). If you're cutting out a person, there are a variety of methods. Some artists like the new masking features in CS5, but after trying it on quite a few high resolution images, I haven't been impressed with the results.

Professional masking techniques involve creating the mask on a layer mask with the brush. This technique gives the best results but requires lots of practice with the Wacom pen. The secret is not to draw your mask freehand but to follow the edge of the subject being masked by shift-clicking your brush slowly around it. When you run into softer edges, soften your brush. Of course things get more complicated when it comes to hair. The built-in mask feature in CS5 can help in these instances, but I usually stick with channel mixing and painting. Basically, making great masks does not have a shortcut. Good masks take time and patience.

As for the cloning tool, I could write a book on this one (maybe I should). On a basic level to get you started, get in the habit of cloning on layers (make sure the clone tool is set to Sample:All Layers). Never clone on the base image (you never know when you'll need to undo an edit. This happens ALL THE TIME). Make sure your clone tool is set to "aligned". Cloning should be done in small moves, never big swaths. Sample from various places to keep the cloning from looking repeated. The Healing Brush tool is a pretty neat addition for when you're retouching and trying to maintain texture. Experiment with different hardness settings on your brush, sometimes a soft brush works better than a hard one and vice versa. Good tutorials are hard to find regarding high quality cloning. Smashing Magazine has a fairly decent article to get you started. But ultimately good cloning and masking just takes lots of practice. (Note: when practicing, work on high-resolution images when possible.) Good Luck!