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Dust Spot Removal

Lesson 9 from: Post-Processing for Outdoor and Travel Photographers

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

9. Dust Spot Removal

Lesson Info

Dust Spot Removal

after cropping an image one of the other things I'm gonna have to deal with often times will be censored suspects I'm just going to brighten this image a little bit to make it more little easier to see what we have we'll talk about the various sliders we have to do this stuff with in a little bit let's just make this a little more colorful you know make the highlights a little brighter as well all right if you look at this image you're going to find that there are some dark circles in the sky if I click on the image to view it larger see that guy right there and up here there's a few others this was taken with an older camera I'm assuming I took this with either a five d or something similar before it had the sensor cleaning feature built in where it shakes your camera sensor to try to get dust to fall off of it and so we have those sensor dust specks if you ever see any looks round darker areas and they seem to be in a consistent spot that means you have dust on your sensor and that's...

one thing I try to remember to do and that is whenever I'm done ingesting my images in the light room and just that day finished shooting I try to process the very last picture you could say the last picture on the roll at minimum and the reason I'm doing it is to see if their sensor dust specks sitting up in the sky because it tells me do I need to clean my camera sensor right now or not otherwise I'll go out and end up shooting the next day and I'll still have the sensor dust specks and I've had some bad ones after having some winds come up or other things that I didn't realize happened so if it all process if it all possible try to process the very last image you shot on a particular day see if their sensor dust specks to tell you is it time to clean your camera or not also some people will end up just pointing there camera towards the blue sky and that's your last picture and it makes it easier to see if you have sensor dust spots because it's easier to see them where you don't have details you have simple stuff so I'm gonna come in here and now right next to the crop tool is this guy little circle with an arrow pointing out the side and that is the spot removal tool and the keyboard shortcut this letter q I'm gonna click on it and then I get settings related to that particular tool and there's only one seven ninety two make sure he's set up before I start using it and that is up here you have the choice of cloning or healing and I want to make sure that it's set to hell before I try to clean up my sensors suspects well what the heck does that mean well what happens when you show you how the tool works once you've chosen this tool and you move your mouse on top your picture you get a brush it's just a circle of whatever size you've specified over here is a setting for size and you could bring it up to make it a larger circle or you can use this square bracket keys on your keyboard those air the same keys you can use to change a brush when you're in photo shop to change its size and you go on top of one of those specs you just make sure that your brush here using is the littlest bit larger than the spec which you want is you want the edge of the circle that's there to do not touching the speck you wanted to be touching the surroundings then you click and further shop chooses an area from the surrounding image to copy from and it moves it over there to cover up that speck now if this setting on the right side is set to clone then that's all it does is it copies from that other area and just covers up the spec what it doesn't do is adjust the brightness or color to make sure it matches the surroundings of where the spec used to be that only happens if this is set to hell hell means match surroundings you know hell or blend in the surroundings so clone means just do a straight copy without trying to blend in with the surroundings in hell means match their surroundings in what it matches is where the circle was touching and that's why we want the circle to be the tiniest bit bigger than the spot because we say match this stuff don't match the edge of the spot itself so we want the circle to be a little bit bigger than the spot itself and then do this now you notice though when I move my mouse off of the picture do you notice that that little thing disappeared in on lee when I moved on top of the picture it shows up years might not work that way because the bottom left of my screen is a choice called tulle overlay and I have mine set to auto auto means on ly show those little circles on my picture if my mouse's within the picture if I moved my picture move my mouse outside of the picture make him go away still make him be applied but just don't show me the little symbols for it if I click here I could say always and then those circles would always be on top of the image women this tool and they'd be sitting there selected would only show the active one the one I'm controlling right now and never would never show them so I like setting it toe auto and therefore they only show play mouse is on top of the image and move away and I see the clean version of my picture but it was chosen in the lower left and I had to have this particular tool active in order to see that choice because it is a choice related to the tool now I'm going to come back in here I see another sensor dust speck here might get a slightly larger russian click there come appear click again now since it's automatically determining where it copies from it doesn't always do a good job let's say what we had for our picture was not this which had an overly simple sky instead it's a picture of the golden gate bridge in your cloning really close to one of the big cables that holds up the bridge you click to get rid of a little sensor dust speck from the sky in that little circle that the second circle that it puts down to show where it's going to copy from it copies right from one of the cables that holds up the bridge and uses it to try to get rid of your sensors suspect in the sky and you see the wrong information showing up that would be like me taking this and dragging it you can actually drag this to say where should a copy from if I did this now that up there looks like the wrong material to use right well it's going to have picked it automatically if you don't like where it chose then just press the ford slash key in your keyboard ford slashes right near the arrow keys on your keyboard it's the slash key that leans to the right you guys it would lean that way because here um and all that means is choose a different spot and you compress it as many times as you want until it picks a good spot it just means read retry I rejected the first I rejected your first choice choose another work if it never does a good job then simply click and drag that circle you'll find that thesis urkal is boulders thicker the one that is copying from and you got a little arrow pointing to where it's being applied but the ford slash key means I rejected your first choice cheese and I then I've gotten rid of the ones that were obvious in my sky but the problem is further processing on this picture might make other spots become visible or it's not that it's not that they're not visible right now it's that they're so subtle so barely different than the sky that they're not distracting but there's probably more of them and if you want to see them at the bottom of my screen is a checkbox called visualize spots I'm gonna turn on right now that's going to change my view of the image into one that's not going to try to make the image look good it's just going to try to make the spots easy to see who there's a bunch of do you see all those circles your pop's older cameras this is not uncommon with it didn't have the sensor cleaning but look at how easy it is for me to get rid of him now since it automatically chooses these areas but she's just a slightly larger brush so I could be a little bit more um I could go a little faster it depends on the image as faras how well they're going to show up you're not always going to have them at all but if they don't show up all that well you think you have them there's a slider down here that I can move to change the view a bit to have a concentrate and different brightness ranges but usually near the end is where you're going to see them the most and I don't see one other right up here that's where I might be more careful get a smaller brush and be very careful not to touch that cloud and then I can turn off the visualize spots checkbox in just double check that it all looks good mouse over the image you see where the spots are mouse away to see the end result but that way if I know I clean him up with visualize spots turned on even if I make radical changes to the image afterwards to change the look of the sky I'm not going to suddenly make it so spots obvious because I've got rid of all of them that were there it's up to you as far as how much time you have do that or not all right I'm just going to click on this tool teo turn this off just so you know these khun b used for things other than getting rid of sensor dust specks and that's usually when I would choose the choice called clone and I might feather or use opacity that's for normal retouching not getting rid of little sensor dust specks so if we have time one of the other days we might get into that or he might not but for getting rid of sensor dust box I set it to heel and I make sure feather is set to zero if feather has turned up feather means use a soft brush it has turned up it can't perfectly match the surroundings around it because you're not letting it have control all the way out to the edge of your brush so I would say ninety eight percent of the time when I'm getting rid of sensor dust specks uh feathers set to zero just click on the tool a second time teo say I'm done with it problem is those sensor dust specks they probably stayed on your sensor for the rest of that day or at least until you changed your lens again with modern cameras until your turn your camera often back on again when it applies the sensor cleaning routine so how can I now get the dust removal that I did on this image on this image in this image even though these air very similar compositions they might be radically different compositions how could I do that well the first thing I could have done and we'll talk more in more detail about this later is if I had selected all these images before had them also acted when I went to the develop module in went to use that tool then there's one setting at the bottom my screen that would determine would all of the images I've selected received those changes who would on ly the most selected image remember the one that's got a lighter background would it get it and that's right down here the bottom and it's called auto sync there's a little light switch to the left of it here if he had multiple images selected in that light switches in the up position then the changes that I made would have affected all the pictures if that light switches in the down position by clicking on it then it's not automatically sinking your changes between all of the images it's on ly going to sink those changes you've made after that choice was turned on so if you have done spot removal to this picture when that was turned off and then you just turn it on it doesn't suddenly copy everything to the other pictures it's on ly what you do after that was turned on which means now if I go remove another speck that one speck would be removed from all of them or I move one of these adjustments sliders that one slider would affect the others but it doesn't mean that the entire set of settings are necessarily going to go there so auto sync is a good thing to have turned on if you're doing sensor dust bec uh removal of one thing that I would do is after you're done if the images didn't look similar like these instead they were radically different in content is I would go through each one in the developed module and just go to that tool the spot removal tool and just confirmed that they look good because the area that it copied from might not have been appropriate for a completely different composition so just double check him

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Bonus Packet
Post Processing Practice Files

Ratings and Reviews


After catching parts of each of the three days, I knew that I would need to have access to this wealth of information. What is great about the program is the ability to stop and go back over something that is not fully understood...and be able to do that until confident enough to move on. I saw no "fluff" in the course, just great information imparted with a style that is makes it easy to understand. CreativeLive scored a big hit with this course! The bonus material is SO valuable, especially the presets. That saves an enormous amount of time for me. My appreciation of the power behind the software is becoming ever clearer. Thanks, Ben, for another outstanding presentation!

Shannon Beelman Photography

Ben has been amazing! He is a wealth of information on organizing images as well as great tips to make your travel images pop just a little more. I came into this class feeling like I had a good handle on lightroom and have come out with a better understanding of the power of the software to make artistic life easier. He covers tips, tricks and little known options that help make workflow smother. I have sat here watching as much of the free broadcast as I can and in this last week I have gotten control over years of images in my lightroom. This is one I know I will be buying soon.


Great class! Somehow, it was enjoyable not having Ben default to "curves for everything"! I don't think the title for this course did it justice, tho. This class was 90% Light Room and 10% Photoshop. I was very happy to discover that dynamic and equally as happy to purchase this course! If you are new to Light Room, this class is a MUST. Creative Live offers several LR classes but this is the one to own. Ben is working on his new book about Light Room Mastery - can't wait! In the meanwhile, I'll be watching Ben's thorough approach to LR in this video. So, don't let the title throw you a curve ball, if you are new to Light Room or a seasoned user, there's plenty of great information - delivered as only Ben can! Thanks CL for this great class!

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