New Retouching Tools
Typically I use only manual corrections within the Enhance module, as it usually gets me to the result I have in mind quicker than applying and then modifying a preset. To start, I usually close the Presets panel and increase the zoom level to at least 50%, to get a good sense for the details and color in the picture. Perfect Enhance has several common retouching tools including a Crop Tool, Pan and Zoom tools, a Red Eye Tool, as well as a Retouch Brush and a new Perfect Eraser (Figure 4).
Figure 4 The retouching tools available in Perfect Enhance. From top to bottom: Crop, Perfect Eraser, Retouch Brush, Red Eye, Hand, and Zoom.
The latter two can be quite useful, allowing you to seamlessly remove and replace unwanted items without the need for a more advanced editor. The Retouch Brush works a lot like the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop. It is most effective when removing small objects that are surrounded by areas of similar-looking but random texture detail (e.g., removing a soda can from a sandy beach). The options for controlling this tool are (brush) Size, (brush) Feather, and Opacity. As with all tool options in the Perfect Photo Suite, these items are available above the main image preview.
For this photo, I used the Retouch Tool to remove some odd looking smudges and distracting rocks on the water’s surface. Just set your brush up to be slightly wider than the item you’re trying to remove, set some Feather if you want a slightly transparent edge, and brush over each area one time. Figure 5 shows the before-and-after effect of using this tool.
Figure 5 Use the Retouch Tool to remove unwanted pixels, replacing with pixels similar to those in the surrounding area.
The Perfect Eraser works very much like the Content-Aware Fill tool in Photoshop, except that you just brush over the area that you want to replace with an intelligently generated texture. The results often look good on a first pass, but may require a couple attempts before things look right. Figure 6 shows another before-and-after, replacing the brighter (and more distracting) elements in the bottom-right corner of the frame with natural-looking but darker content.
Figure 6 Use the Perfect Erase Tool to remove unwanted objects and replace with complex but seamless texture.
The main trick is to make sure your Eraser brush is slightly wider than the object you’re replacing. For L-shaped or other oddly shaped items, it may work better if you use two or three short brush strokes to remove different parts of the object, instead of trying to cover it in one brush stroke. From there, all you need to do is brush over the entire object, then pick up the stylus or release the mouse button.