Seeking help in getting rid of visual clutter efficiently.

#1
I would appreciate any suggestions on how to retouch the "before" image to look like the "after" image without spending hours to do it. I shot this boat and knew I would want to clean up the sky and background in post-production. Given my moderate Photoshop skill level, it was very time-consuming. I used the usual tools, layers, etc. Perhaps there are ways to do this more quickly using masking of some kind? Thanks in advance.


BEFORE:
BoatSkyBefore.jpg


AFTER
BoatSkyAfter.jpg
 
#2
Clone tool, patch tool, Content aware fill. You could even remove the boat and place it on another background. Cut the boat out, sort the background out and then re add the boat back it. Lots of ways to do it but would need a better idea of your capabilities within Ps and of course which version you have. What would you like to achieve with this image, totally clear skyline or just the bridge type affair?
 
#3
Clone tool, patch tool, Content aware fill. You could even remove the boat and place it on another background. Cut the boat out, sort the background out and then re add the boat back it. Lots of ways to do it but would need a better idea of your capabilities within Ps and of course which version you have. What would you like to achieve with this image, totally clear skyline or just the bridge type affair?
Thank you very much for your help.

I'm self-taught in Photoshop, and am now using CS5. I have been a professional advertising photographer for many years- shooting all formats of film up until about 6 years ago. I also use Lightroom 4. BTW, do you know if content-aware works better in CS6 than in CS5?

I'm fairly proficient with the clone and patch tools as well as content-aware fill functions. But, what I really need to do is to get much better at extracting selecting, and moving elements. I'm not at all adept with the pen tool. With the boat photograph, and in retrospect, as you recommended, I could have done that- cut the boat, retouch the clutter, and then place the boat into the retouched background image. That is a great idea and I will remember it for future reference!

The biggest problems for me w/ the boat image were retaining the fine detail I wanted to keep, such as the wires and masts which ran over the tower in the background. I wound up painting back some of this detail with brush and pencil tools.

The corrected version of this boat photo is fine and I don't want to achieve any more with it than I already have but do want to get faster and better at this sort of correction for similar types of problems.

One other thing: I now realize that the "before" image I posted is not the same as the "after" image which was the one I did retouch. Apologies for that.

I'm happy to have found this forum - it looks like a great place to hangout! Thanks again.
 
#4
With the kind of detail you have (don't shoot), possibly the only extraction tool that will really work for you in this kind of composition, BG, details, etc., is the pen tool. It just takes practice and learning technique and tips. There are a lot of tutorials on it, some good, some awful. It's fairly easy to tell which is which. They usually each have at least one thing you didn't learn in the other. A really comprehensive pen tool tut would be a workshop. So you take it a little at a time. But I strongly suggest you learn to use it. I avoided it for years and the hours I spent struggling with other methods were truly wasted.

The other tool I like to use is the quick select. I zoom way in to add and subtract from the edges, sometimes using the lasso to refine that before I finish my selection. On sharp edges I will use the polygonal lasso or the pen tool - which is easy to use for straight lines. Then you can add a mask and I like to put a contrasting BG below it so I can see what needs cleanup. You can use either refine edge or refine mask if you like. There is, IMO, always more cleanup to be done manually. And when you have such fine detail, you can disable the mask, use a tool to reselect the item, then enable the mask and fill that selection with black. But as you can see, "quick select" is a misnomer! I only use it when the FG and BG are well-defined.

Then as RM said, clone stamp, etc.
 
#5
With the kind of detail you have (don't shoot), possibly the only extraction tool that will really work for you in this kind of composition, BG, details, etc., is the pen tool. It just takes practice and learning technique and tips. There are a lot of tutorials on it, some good, some awful. It's fairly easy to tell which is which. They usually each have at least one thing you didn't learn in the other. A really comprehensive pen tool tut would be a workshop. So you take it a little at a time. But I strongly suggest you learn to use it. I avoided it for years and the hours I spent struggling with other methods were truly wasted.

The other tool I like to use is the quick select. I zoom way in to add and subtract from the edges, sometimes using the lasso to refine that before I finish my selection. On sharp edges I will use the polygonal lasso or the pen tool - which is easy to use for straight lines. Then you can add a mask and I like to put a contrasting BG below it so I can see what needs cleanup. You can use either refine edge or refine mask if you like. There is, IMO, always more cleanup to be done manually. And when you have such fine detail, you can disable the mask, use a tool to reselect the item, then enable the mask and fill that selection with black. But as you can see, "quick select" is a misnomer! I only use it when the FG and BG are well-defined.

Then as RM said, clone stamp, etc.
Thank you so much. You've confirmed my suspicions about the pen tool. Mainly, that I must learn to use it! You understand the nature of the problems I faced cleaning up the background in the boat image perfectly. I did plenty of selections, working at 2,3 or even 400 per cent, cloning, content-aware, etc. I was hoping there might be another, quicker and easier way.

My assignment, and I DO choose to take it, is to begin my journey towards pen tool adequacy, if not mastery.

Kindest regards,
Paul