Skip to main content

Advanced Photo Retouching in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 3 of 7

Remove Objects Across an Entire Image

Ben Willmore

Advanced Photo Retouching in Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

3. Remove Objects Across an Entire Image

Lesson Info

Remove Objects Across an Entire Image

Let's move onto other challenges, 'cause with advanced retouching, there are a bunch of them. Now in this image, I'm not gonna spend the time to make it perfect, and that's just because I'm trying to share with you one tip, and to fix the rest of the image, I would have to use other techniques, the kind of techniques we'll use on other pictures. Now here, we have telephone lines that I would like to get rid of. And if you look, they go across very complex areas. So let's see if we can figure out how to deal with telephone lines. Well usually, I would end up using what's called the spot healing brush. The spot healing brush is one where it figures out where to copy from, but when I use it across a sky, I find it's important that I do this first. Image, mode, and I check how many bits my picture is. If you're working with a JPEG file, which is what this is, you're gonna be in eight-bit mode. Eight-bit mode, what it means, is you have brightness levels in your picture total. Between whit...

e and black, you have 256. Well, I find when retouching across a sky, if I'm in that mode, oftentimes, I can tell exactly where I've done retouching. It doesn't blend the shades together enough. So I make sure I'm in 16-bit. 16-bit means you can have thousands and thousands of shades of gray, and it makes it so it can create smoother transitions. Now, if your image started in eight-bit and you're converting to 16, that doesn't suddenly add more information to your file. It just makes it so the tool I'm about to use can put more information in your file. It's kinda like having a garage that can fit four cars, and you buy a new house that can fit eight cars. But you only own four. And so you get to your new house, you throw your four cars in there, and you have room for more, but they're, your collection of cars isn't actually that big. Well, when I do this right here, we still have an eight-bit picture, but it's in a 16-bit wrapper. Like being in an eight-car garage, it's got more space it could use. And that makes it so this particular tool can now make more subtle transitions, and I find oftentimes, it looks better when going across a sky. Then, what I wanna do is get a brush that's not dramatically big. And I'm gonna click on one end of a telephone line, like right up here where it touches the edge of the picture, and I'm gonna make sure my brush is centered on it vertically. I'm gonna click and let go. Then, I'm gonna move my brush to another area. I'm going to hold the shift key, and I'm gonna make sure my brush is again, centered on the line vertically, and I'm gonna click. When you shift click, you get a straight line as if you manually painted from where you clicked last to where you are now. And therefore, it should paint over that particular area. But then, telephone lines often sag, and so I can't often go across the entire length of it without having to use a huge brush to cover it without it getting outside of my brush stroke, and that's why I did a shorter length here. I'll find a natural break, like right about here, in the telephone line. I'm gonna hold down the shift key, and I'm gonna click again. And in that area, it would be most ideal if I used a smaller brush because it would retouch less of that image, but we're gonna be fine here. I'll hold shift, and then I'm gonna click right here. Then I'll hold shift and click over here. And each time, making sure I'm vertically centered on whatever I'm trying to get rid of. And I'll do the same thing down here to this line. Hold shift, click about here. Hold shift, and it's not gonna be perfect in there, but I'm gonna try. Shift, it looks pretty straight, so I'm gonna go all the way over there. And keep going. Click, and click. One more up here at the top, hold shift. And if it ends up leaving a little tail on the end there, just go to where that starts, and that's where I've clicked to begin. Then I'll come to here. And follow that down to maybe about here. That's where I should be using a smaller brush, so it messes up less of the image. And then I might manually paint there. But getting it away from the sky, the key is 16-bit mode. That's what gives you a smooth end result. So many people start with eight-bit, they use it, and you can see exactly where your paint strokes are. You need to be in 16. Then, the second thing is to click in one spot, hold shift and click on another so it draws a straight line for you, 'cause otherwise, you end up going across an area and you're so sloppy with your painting, you end up retouching a much larger area than was truly needed. Now after that, it's a matter of zooming up and actually being critical of these areas, and I'm actually not going to do that on this image, unfortunately. That's because I have a different image where we're going to talk about how I deal with complex areas. But for now, we can look at this to see what kind of a job it did, and I can see a lot of repeated areas, like here. Here, it copied from this edge and put it down further. What I would've done in there is most likely used a smaller brush, so there wouldn't be such a wide area that's being changed, and then I'd have to come back afterwards and retouch all those areas that have inappropriate content.

Class Description


  • Retouch in perspective using Vanishing Point
  • Separate fine detail from overall tone/color using Frequency Separation
  • Eliminate telephone lines that cross intricate trees
  • Swap heads, closed eyes, and smiles in group photos
  • Get rid of whiskers without affecting skin texture and tone
  • Remove stains from clothing while retaining fabric detail


  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced users of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Those who want to gain confidence in Adobe Photoshop and learn new features to help edit photos.
  • Students who’d like to take ordinary images and make them look extraordinary with some image editing or Photoshop fixes.


Adobe Photoshop 2020 (V21)


a Creativelive Student

Cannot recommend too strongly. Each lesson is filled with gems clearly and smoothly explained. Techniques I use frequently will become much more powerful using the expanded tools that Willmore illustrates. This is one of those courses that is worth full price, and more