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Sharing tips I find useful

Started by Lynnya, October 06, 2021, 05:51:36 PM

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Hi gang.. I'm a bit rusty coming back after a year of doing nothing but I wanted to share a couple of tips that could maybe be helpful to new people coming in.

1. To keep all my layers editable and not stamp all my layers into one (shift contrl alt E) where I can't get back beyond that stamp I "image - duplicate image" check the box "duplicate merged layers only". I then have a nice flat image to "steal" stuff from like a leg, or piece of clothing which I can copy onto a new layer in the layer pallet I'm working with. I usually delete that copy and maybe create a new one later down the road..Some tools seem to work better on a "flat" image.

2. To copy anything from the blue channel, say onto a separate layer I always use "copy" then "paste special - paste in place" - plops your copy exactly where it should be in the working image. I also do the same with parts I "steal" from my "duplicate image" if I need something. If I use parts from the blue channel I often color that part (which is grey) with a hue saturation set to "colorize" and match the color.. works some of the time.

3. I use - Blur - motion blur. Works wonders on fabrics, curtains, hair.

4. I add noise on a 50% gray layer at the end and blur that noise to create a realistic texture.. just a tad.. I try not to overdo.

5. After color correcting my image I look at my hue/sat and crank up each color to see where the color casts may still lurk, often reducing a magenta or red with the sat slider set to that color will work wonders.

I have found these hints very helpful so I wanted to share with those who maybe were not aware.  If you have tips to share I'd love to hear them.. we can never have too many tools in the box.

I value others comments and critiques.. that's the way I learned.. bit nerve wracking at times but well worth it for the final picture to give back to someone who has lost that image or even a person.
Happy cloning!
never giving up......learning from others as I go...

Jo Ann Snover

Really good idea to share tips and ways of working. There are typically many ways of doing things in Photoshop and it's always good to have some lane markings on the road :)

I have a couple of additional comments on your list.

1. I give many thumbs up to keeping editable layers. I'd add: label layers so you can easily keep track; keep all your pixel layers at the "bottom" and put adjustment layers on top. When working with adjustment layers, have clone and healing brushes set to "Current & Below" so that the pixel layers you're working on don't "bake in" the color or tone adjustments.

4. My way of adding texture is to use the healing brush with the source set to some detail-free area of the image. You won't transfer the colors, just the texture and then it will look like other things in the image. It may help to turn off the "Align" checkbox on the healing brush so you can keep going back to the same area for each set of brushstrokes.

My list includes

- Have Shadows and Highlights layers - pixel layers set to Multiply and Screen blend modes respectively. I paint on those and then blur (Gaussian Blur filter or the blur tool) to add some depth to restored areas that don't have shadows or highlights. Because they're separate from your restoration layers, you can change opacity (or Select all and delete if you decide mid-restore that you've got it all wrong!)

-I use Layer Comps (sometimes; only if things get complicated) to turn various layers on and off so I can check my work

-Use the Percentage (size) and Angle in the Clone Source tool when you need to grab a fabric or wall/floor from somewhere but it needs to be larger or at a different angle. It takes a bit to become good at guessing the right angle, but you can always Undo, change the number and try again until things line up.

- Always try to match the sharpness/blur of the original when painting/cloning things in - the blur brush on the edges works wonders.

-Outlines! I've mentioned those a time or ten :) I copy the Blue channel and paste it into a layer. Then put another layer set to a blend mode that lets you see the colors and paint outlines in bright colors around details that are hidden in the color version of the original. Turn of the blue channel layer and then turn the outlines on whenever you're lost as you work on the damaged areas.

Jo Ann


Thanks Lynnya and Jo Ann for the great tips. Keep em coming.

I use the clone tool, but not near as much as I use the lasso tool to capture a good section I want to add to another area. I put it on its own layer and move into place where I will transform  to size and rotate. Then I do a conceal all  layer mask and brush back in what I want with a soft brush. If I like it I may do a merge visible and continue with different layers. By doing that I am matching the sharpness/blur of the original.
"carpe diem"

Margie Hayes
OPR President


Hi all,
I'm new to OPR and have been reading through as many old threads as I can, to get tips and techniques. This is by far the most useful that I've seen!!! Thank you so much for starting the conversation...having all these great posts in one thread is invaluable. Looking at the wonderful results, I've been curious about your work flows, and these posts are providing some insight.
Thanks for all the tips!!


Hey Jan Welcome Welcome! look forward to working with you.  I plan on putting a simple example of motion blur later just to show how  useful it is in the real world..  :)
never giving up......learning from others as I go...


Re the motion blur (love this tool) here are some quick down and dirty examples:

I cloned, patched, and generally messed up the curtain.. painted it in a color blend mode. All this after color correction.  I used to color correct at the end.. I had so many failures as my edits and patches would all go wrong so now I always color correct first thing. That is also what OPR recommends.. you can tweak it any ole time but best to start off with the correct color.  I use a curves adjustment finding black/white and neutral areas.. if you look in the color correct tutorials it would help you.
I selected the curtain as best I could and used the blur-motion blur with the angle straight down. The first attempt I sent in was not so good so I went over it again with more motion blur and this is the result.  Not perfect but better. Remember when you motion blur the blur will extend over the ends where you don't want them so mask and rub out those little areas. It's easy to forget them. Hope this helps someone... it sure helped me.

never giving up......learning from others as I go...


Hi Jan, welcome to the Forum. As Lynn mentioned color correction is the 1st step and not doing it will mess you up later on. The Technique's Handbook that was mentioned can only be accessed if you are logged into the forum, otherwise it doesn't show up. The Technique Handbook show three different ways of doing a color correction.

"carpe diem"

Margie Hayes
OPR President


I learned the Motion Blur trick from Hannie.

Merging Layers: If you hold down the Shift-Option-Command keys and press e (on Mac), it will merge all visible layers without deleting them. You have the new merged layer and all the other layers and adjustment layers intact. I set a key on my Wacom.

Fade: If you make an adjustment, but it seems to be a little too much, before you do anything else go to Edit>Fade (name of tool) and adjust the intensity of the change. Sometimes I intentionally remove a harsh highlight, then use the Fade function to get the adjustment just right.

Patch Tool: The Content-Aware Patch tool is excellent, but sometimes leaves a blurry edge around the selection. Switch to Normal and click Destination, which works the opposite. Select a good patch and drag it over the damage. For accurate selections use the Selection tool or Lasso, then switch to the Patch tool and use that same selection.

Spot Healing: Sometimes on a color image, the Spot Healing brush has trouble deciding which surrounding color to match. Switch to Darken Mode and repair the light spots, then Lighten to clean up the dark spots. Sometimes for blend skin tones, I go over it again in Normal. Saved these images I restored for a friend.


I really like that Motion Blur trick too. Photoshop offers so many tools it's hard to learn how many options you have available!
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence." -Calvin Coolidge