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I think I have watched every "cutting out a tree" or "complex cutting out images"video YouTube has to offer and every restoration article I can find but still having difficulty with......... :banghead:. Tree's.

The problem arises as I am getting my practice work via messenger or FB, so the quality goes right out the door. Usually I go through the usual steps to tweak out as much as I can by all the advice I got earlier......but it's flustrating on these old photos that haven't been stored correctly through out the years.

What do you guys do when scanned photos are not a option and your working with what you receive? Just curious

Some practice work recently as example





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Trees don't have to be such a problem. The trick is to NOT try and isolate them or as you would say, "cut them out".

If I can isolate a skyline then I will, otherwise I won't mess with trying to isolate the trees individually.

Here is an example.
I used an alpha channel to create a contrasting image that I will use to create a selection to clean up the treeline in my example..........but this step is not necessary if your careful!
Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 8.18.25 PM.png

Here are my trees....
Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 8.06.56 PM.png

I add Hue & Saturation layers above the main image and adjust each to the color I desire.
Once I have the color where I like it, I add a "Hide All" layer mask.

I then use the Brush Tool set to normal, Opacity 100%, and the flow to about 5%. With a soft brush of varying sizes I paint in the tree.
I'm careful around the edges and the brush will leave soft blended edges that need little clean up. But the alpha channel selection I created earlier could be used to clean up the tree/sky line if needed.
Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 8.07.12 PM.png

I then copy the the H&S layer, change the mask to reveal all (white), adjust the color, change the mask back to conceal all (black).
Then use the Brush Tool to paint in the next tree.
Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 8.07.30 PM.png

Once again and so on until I'm done filling in the colors. (Just 3 for this demo)
Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 8.07.46 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 8.08.28 PM.png


Thank you so much for the step by step, bookmarking this :thumbsup:
I tried to follow a step by step you tube that describes picking out the brightest which would be the sky but your method makes more sense to me........
My main issue is the original sky color noise in the sky from age that was giving me the most trouble picking out the sky....I can get it cleaned up so far but it was still picking up the splotches which show when I drop in a different sky and reduce its opacity when it's to bright and clear for a ages photo
Another trouble spot is the faded almost gone pixels at the top of trees that just don't look right when I try to pick them out......
Going to use your advise and see if it helps with those faint limbs also.....Time to practice some more :banghead:


I wanted to drop in another sky...but I wasn't happy about those trees and filled it in on


The old old guy was over the moon happy with his picture but I knew I could do better if I knew how...Thanks for the advice.

Another one that the tree tops gave me grief


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