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Use Custom Brushes for Backgrounds

Lesson 4 from: Advanced Content Aware and Clone Techniques in Photoshop

Aaron Nace

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Lesson Info

4. Use Custom Brushes for Backgrounds

Lesson Info

Use Custom Brushes for Backgrounds

Let's take a look at our next example here. We've got, I've just got a lot of beach photos. That's like the perfect like, people are in my dang beach photo, right? In this case we're basically gonna use the exact same technique, but we're gonna load a custom brush to do this one. Now a lot of the time when things are out of focus in your images, you will get like, it'll be like, like the bokeh, you know, you can see the bokeh is like, like round dots. So in this example, we're gonna actually create a brush that imitates that, and we're gonna paint with that brush on the background. So it, we're gonna be using kinda the same idea, but we're gonna be using a custom brush to do that, which is gonna be really cool. And then we're gonna be providing that brush for everyone who watches the course. You read my mind. You read my mind. So folks, just a little reminder. We got lots of great bonus materials if you purchase the Photoshop week 2016 and Aaron's graciously given us his custom brush...

for this technique, so if you purchase the class, you'll, it'll be up on the website, you'll be able to download it and be like Aaron. Yeah (laughing) exactly. Not something that anyone wants, but you can (laughing) you can be like me. All right, so we're gonna create a new layer. Now we're gonna start this off with kinda the same idea here. I don't need to create a pen path around most of this stuff but her shoulder, I do want to make sure I do select that, 'cause there's someone like right, right over there. So my recommendation is to, to make your selection like right inside of the object you want to select, 'cause if I make the selection out here, you're gonna see, it's not gonna, I'm gonna see that little border of blue, right? So my suggestion whenever you're using the pen tool to make selections, is to select slightly on the inside of your subject and that's gonna help out. All right, so you can see that was like, that was the only area right there that really needed any like zooming in and getting it right, so the rest of it I just like click here, click there, click there, just like you know do this, and then right click inside of here and go to make selection. Now let's try showin' you guys that quick mask thing again, 'cause I think that it was actually pretty cool. So I'm gonna hit zero as my feathering, so that's not gonna get feathered at all. I'm gonna hit Q for my quick mask and you can see what a hard edge that is. That's not gonna look real, right? It needs to have that blur. So we're gonna go to our Gaussian Blur and then I can decide on the exact right blur that actually looks right, so we don't want, you know, too little but you don't want to go too far also, so this is like a really nice visual indicator, something right about there. There we go. Looks like the, looks like the definition of the photo, so I hit Q again and now that's a part of the selection. Pretty cool. Okay, so now let's go about creating our custom brush that we're gonna use, that's gonna imitate some of this bokeh and we're gonna use it in our next shot as well. So B for the brush tool and we're gonna be sampling color here. We're gonna go to Window and down to Brush. Now here in the brush, basically we have like these like circles, right? That's kinda how bokeh shows up. It's like, it shows up in like a bunch, like scattering of circles. So I'm gonna go into my brush tip shape. We're gonna bring our Hardness up to about 50%, okay? 'Cause it has a little bit of a hard edge. Here in our Shape Dynamics I'm gonna turn my Size Jitter up, and you can see my brush is already starting to look like what's going on here, and basically what this does is it makes some of these brush strokes small and some of these larger as we go, as we start to paint. All right, and then we're gonna turn on Scattering and we're gonna have Scattering very, and you can see, doesn't that brush preview look like bokeh? It's awesome. So if I just bring my Scattering up just a tiny bit. I don't want to go crazy 'cause I still want to have a decent bit of control over what I'm doing, but as I bring this up, we're gonna start painting around with this brush now. All right, so we're gonna start down here, and this brush, it has a lot more like of a natural feel to it. Like it doesn't, it doesn't look like a Photoshop brush when you paint because it, see how all that like, the randomness that's built into the brush. It really like acts a lot more like bokeh does. It's a very very cool effect that makes your images look, it really does make a big difference, especially if you're gonna be like painting in detail and things like that in your background. And the larger you make your brush, the more like, the more little bokeh dots you're gonna get in the background. Bokeh dots, whatever. (laughing) It sounds like a, the ice cream of the future, you know. It's like Bokeh dots. There we go. So as I paint this around, basically it's gonna imitate what would happen naturally with bokeh and were able to see that same type of effect, and it basically creates our own bokeh effect for us in the background, and if you need to make your brush either harder or softer, you can do that on the fly very simply. You can either click and change your hardness here or you can hold down Control and Option and click and drag up and down to change your hardness on the fly, which is a super super helpful tip. All right, and with this sort of thing, it's actually a lot better to be zoomed out. You don't want to be too far zoomed in there. It, you get a better idea of what you're doing if you're zoomed out. You tend to see things a little bit more like clearly, like okay, is this actually like, you know, does the transition look good? Is this actually, you know, looking how I want it? Make sure your screen is nice and clean too. (laughing) I worked on a photo in Photoshop and like, I'm like, "Why can't I remove this blemish?" It was on my screen, so you know if (laughing), if you've ever gotten to that point, just make sure you're working with a nice clean screen. It really can make a big difference. All right, cool. So we can see here again, really quick, really easy. I removed all those people from our background, like repainted our, our surf in there. Everything using that really nice custom brush, and we can just kind of fade it in right there. So again, pretty cool, right? Very quick pen selection, grabbed our brush tool, and painted that out. Cool. Do we have any questions online? We got time for one more background removal image. No we're good. Good to go Thank you. All right. Let's move to our last one, and we're gonna choose this is actually like, we're gonna remove these cars guys. Pretty difficult because we actually have a ton of detail in the background photos. So we're gonna start off using the brush tool that we just made that we're gonna be providing everyone in this room and at home, and then we're gonna bring in the clone stamp tool, and I'm gonna show you guys how to see a preview of what you're actually cloning using the clone source dialog, which is really nice. Okay, and here you can see it to, like the, lemme just zoom out to where, you see the green, like, it's kinda looks like a bunch of little circles of it, right? Like it looks like these, all these little circles and things like that, like that's kinda how bokeh looks when things are out, out of focus, so that's what we went about to duplicate using our brush tool. All right, so I'm gonna start removing this truck from the background. Now my general strategy is anything that I can paint with a brush tool, I'm going to try that, because it, it's relatively easy to do. You just sample, like this green color, is gonna just like stay a green line all the way to about here. Then it's gonna turn in, like this line is just gonna go all the way to, to about there. Now, it's gonna get a little bit more tricky when I have to do the, all these trees, and for that I'm gonna be using the clone stamp tool, and show you a really cool way where you can, you can see a preview of where you're gonna clone stamp, but to start with, we are going to go ahead and make a selection, 'cause the car runs right behind our subject, so we are gonna make a selection right around our subject's jacket. Again, I'm slightly to the inside of the jacket here. And that's gonna make sure that when I do, you know cut out this truck, that I don't have any like, any of the truck left in my, in my selection there. We want to make sure it cuts it out, and the jacket is the only thing that remains. All right, so you can see, I'm just basically like clicking and dragging around my image here. All right, and right out 'til about there is good, and then we just finish out the rest of our selection like really broadly, just like that. We're gonna right click, we're gonna go to Make Selection, hit OK. We're gonna use that same trick 'cause I want everyone to learn it. Q for the quick mask, and then a Gaussian Blur. Let's change our blur radius to match our photo a little bit better. 'Kay .4 will look pretty good, and then hit Q again, and we're good to go. All right, so everyone's got that pretty good. All right, so now we're gonna do it. We're gonna start painting this is with our custom brush, and I'm gonna start painting, and you're gonna see. I mean it, it pretty much matches, Isn't that, it's like magic man. It like matches what the brush is doing. It's like matching exactly what the background is doing as far as like texture and color and everything. All right, now keep in mind also with this, Oh, you know what, I just thought of something really cool. We're gonna add to our custom brush here. I've never done this before, I'm excited. With your brush, you can also go down to your color dynamics and you can add some Brightness Jitter into it as well. So it'll actually get brighter and darker as you paint as well. Let's bring our Brightness Jitter up there. All right. Oh, it's per thing. (shushing) For brown Background Jitter, Brightness Jitter. Hmm, Okay. I might have spoke too soon. (shushing) (laughing) Apply per tip. Yes! Figured it out. Okay, so (laughing) All right, so what I'm gonna do, now some of this grass, you can see like, if I'm just painting with the exact grass color like this whole time, it's gonna be the exact same color, right? It's gonna look the same exact color, but by putting a little bit of Brightness Jitter in there, some of this, I'll just make it larger. Some of these are gonna be a little bit darker, and some of these are gonna be a little bit light, giving us natural variation when we paint with our clone stamp. So instead of just getting something that's the same exact color, they all look slightly different, and you can change your jitter there. You wanna make sure you click Apply Per Tip or it's gonna do it per brushstroke, which I just figured out just now, so (laughing), make sure you have that, and that'll be built into the custom brush that's provided. All right, cool, so that makes it a lot easier. As I paint here I don't have to worry about constantly sampling other colors and things like that. It's kinda building that variation in for me. Now if you want less variation, just go back to your brush, and bring your Brightness Jitter down just a little bit. All right, so we're gonna start off by blocking everything in, meaning like getting, you know, getting all of our shapes and everything like that pretty close, and that'll give us a really good idea of where we need to actually like come in and fill in even more detail. All right. If you need to hit Control or Command H to hide your selection it's a really good way, so you can continue to paint. You're selection is still active in this state, but you just, you don't see it, which makes it a lot easier to actually paint so you're, you can focus on what you're painting, not on the selection. All right. This is so cool. Because when you think about it, I mean there's nothing there, right? Like I don't have another photo without that truck there, so like there's really nothing else I can do in this photo except for like try to recreate what was back there. So it's just a guess, and whether you're using a clone stamp tool to guess or a healing brush tool or just a regular brush tool, it's all just guesses. I mean, you know, you're really just creating, you know, like fake information and from nothing. All right. Cool, so we're looking okay. This is just our background guys. This is like our, our like start here. We're gonna come in in just a little bit with the clone stamp tool and we're gonna really kinda refine this and make it... Little bit better there. Very cool. All right, let's do this car as well. It looks like a weird like pointillism painting, doesn't it? It's awesome. All right. So we're gonna do the car as well. Now in this case the car on the left side I mean. Not the, we already did the car on the right side. In this case we have our path, so we have our work path that I created on the right hand side, so I'm gonna double click and call this truck. Okay, and then we're gonna create a new path and I'm gonna call this car. So this way if we do want to come back to our pen path, we can do that at any point in time really simply. So we're gonna trace this just on the inside of this area there. All right, cool, and we're gonna right click, go to Make Selection, cool? Now I'm gonna hit Q for the quick mask. We're gonna do the Gaussian Blur, and I'm just gonna do this same Gaussian Blur that we did on the other side so they match. All right, and now, on a new layer, I'm gonna use my brush tool, and we're gonna paint this in. That area. I'm gonna bring my, go to Window, we're gonna bring our Brightness Jitter down just a little bit. I think it's a little bit too much. It looks, it looks a little bit fake. All right, so I'm kinda just like making this up like oh that thing probably extends down there, the background probably extends back down there. But it's kinda fun, I mean just to like paint in completely new backgrounds and you guys can see getting rid of two like huge cars in the background like really didn't take that long to do. All right, so we're just sampling these colors and kind of painting those away. All right cool. Now we're gonna take care of this area. We're gonna create a new layer on top of everything. We're gonna use our clone stamp tool to kind of clone stamp from the top down now. So with our clone stamp tool, what we're gonna do is go to Window and down here to Clone Source. Now this is a really cool tool because if you, normally with a clone stamp tool, if I sample an area and I go to paint somewhere, I really don't know what it's about to paint. I have really no idea, 'cause I can't see a preview. Now there is a keyboard shortcut to see a preview. If you hold down Alt or Option to sample your point, and then Shift as well, so Alt and Shift, you can then see a preview of what you're gonna paint. So it's really like if I were to sample here and I need to match it up down here I can do that using these, this keyboard shortcut, which is really really nice. Now if you don't want the keyboard shortcut, if you want this just always be on, you go to Clone Source, so Window, and down to Clone Source, and then you can click on Show Overlay. That way if I sample an area, it's always gonna have an overlay of where it's going to paint on a new layer. So that's a really big tip within the Clone Source dialog. So as I'm painting here, let's say I'm, I'm on a new layer, I'm gonna sample this area. There we go. We're gonna sample here and then I'm gonna paint. I'm (laughing) I'm on my brush tool. (laughing) Like why don't I see the preview. It's cause I was on the brush tool. So we're gonna sample this area up here on the top of the tree, and as I paint down there it's just gonna kind of fill in detail in the same area. And I can use this even if I have like this tree kinda curves, I can use this to kinda point it in the right direction as my trees kinda like come down, so I'm able to see like, you know, the border of the tree there, I'm able to move this around to recreate the border of the tree further down the line. All right, same thing here as well. So again, we're kinda like using this as a guessing game to kinda recreate and paint in the background, but I'm using it as like a like it's like a cheat sheet basically to my guessing game. All right, now this stuff in the background here I can see like maybe that would look good right there, to kinda like be between those guys. This area in the tree there, we can kinda paint in some of that area down there. This, I can kinda come in down there. So we're gonna hold Alt or Option, sample there, and then we're gonna paint it in down that way as well. All right, and in this area here, we're gonna fill in some of this background area. So again, a lot of this is kinda like guesswork, All right. This area came out a little bit too well defined. All those little dimples there. If that happens with the custom brush, just lower your hardness, bring your hardness down a little bit and it'll make sure that you are, that you paint with little dimples that are like a little bit less well defined. All right cool, and if we want to just finish off I'm gonna create a new layer, we're gonna use our brush and then we're gonna use a, let's see, by the way to save out your brushes. So we spent a lot of time make our really cool background brush, right. To save out your brushes go to Window, down to Brush, and then here on the menu on the top right there's a little menu button there. Go to New Brush Preset and we'll just call this Clone Brush. Cool. So that way if I want to switch now. If I want to switch to like a regular brush that doesn't have all that built into it, I can switch back, and if I want to go back to my clone brush I just, it's the last one in the list. You can also view this in like list mode also. So if you go to Small List, then I can see like Clone Brush is right there and I can, you can change the order of these also by going to your preset manager and like, if you wanted that brush to always be first on the list, you could do that, and now you can see Clone Brush is the first one on my list also. So really nice way, and you guys can see I have some like other cool, like I created a snowflake brush once along the line, and created some different brushes along the way. Yeah. And I was just gonna reiterate that, that's the exact brush that we will be giving away for bonus materials, and once folks download it to their computer they can just go to Import Brush, is that correct Aaron? Yep, for sure. And then just import, it'll import it right into their Photoshop. That's right. Perfect. You could just go to your brush tool, you right click, go to this little gear here, and go down to Load Brushes. Load Brushes and then you'll be able to just click on the abr brush file. Perfect. And it'll load right there and it'll show up at the bottom of your list. Great. Yeah, very cool. So about just a little bit along with here. But you guys can see, like using advanced brushes and things like that with texture really makes a huge difference in background recreation. And again, we did this like relatively quickly. There's a little bit more detail down there that I think could be added for sure. I wouldn't say that this is perfect, but I would say this is pretty good for what, for the amount of time we put into it anyway, which was pretty quick. And if you have any other areas you can sample from, that's the time to start painting in those areas as well. All right, let's zoom out, and see how we're lookin'. All right, so here's our before. Sorry, that's not the before, (laughing) that's the after. Cool. Here is our before with a truck and a car, and there's the after, where we basically completely painted those things in. So, pretty cool. Well done. Basically using a custom brush with a little bit of texture applied to it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Clone Brush

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Very helpful and useful tips. I am not of the belief that Aaron isn't the best speaker. I find that he is down to earth and doesn't come across as arrogant despite the fact he is truly a master at photoshop techniques. I follow his youtube posts and always learn a new tip or technique. In fact I purchased this class based on Aaron Nace being the presenter. This is the first Creative live I've ever purchased. I've watched several of the the free ones but never felt the need to purchase them. I am extremely happy with my purchase and can't wait to try out some of the new tricks I've learned. Thanks

Mel Bazarian

Great course - easy to follow and I appreciated the brevity. I particularly liked Aaron's style of explaining things in layman' terms and was surprised at how simple using the pen tool seems to be. I will also try to embrace the brush tool, which had always looked too "fake" to me. Now that I know how to add texture, I might have to give it another chance. Off to practice some of these techniques.

Kellie Seldon

Aaron is a master of photography and I was so honored to be able to see him work his magic in person. His methods and techniques are easy enough for any photographer whether they be beginners or more advanced. Aaron Nace is really one of the best Photoshop teachers out there!

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