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Repairs and Hoaxes

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In this sample chapter from the second edition of Foundations of Digital Art and Design with Adobe Creative Cloud, author xtine will teach you to match textures and values to create photographic illusions in two compositions. You’ll explore various tools for healing and cloning parts of an image, as well as add a simple layer mask to blend image features for a quality of verisimilitude.

This chapter is from the book

The Exercises in this chapter will provide technical lessons using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom Classic and teach you to match textures and values to create photographic illusions in two compositions. You’ll explore various tools for healing and cloning parts of an image, as well as add a simple layer mask to blend image features for a quality of verisimilitude.

Digital Repairs

The repair tools are stacked in a series in the Photoshop Tools panel, starting with the Spot Healing Brush tool beneath the Eye Dropper tool. The tools I use most often to make repairs are the Spot Healing Brush tool and the Clone Stamp tool. The Patch tool can be hard to control or predict, and the Red Eye tool does what you think it does. (It’s certainly useful.)

The Spot Healing Brush tool functions as a fix-it paintbrush. You simply click any part of the image, and the brush attempts to repair (or correct uneven tones in) the area based on a sample of nearby pixels. Of course, it’s never a good idea to modify your original image. So when using these tools, I recommend copying the background layer to preserve the original file. You’ll learn more about non-destructive editing in Chapter 8, Select, Copy, Paste, Collage.

The Clone Stamp tool is also a brush. Cloning is a two-step operation: Photoshop needs to understand what you’re cloning and where the clone should be applied. So you’ll need to sample an original source (the what part of the question) and then brush the sample into a new location (the where part). The sampling part of the Clone Stamp operation can sometimes be tricky to learn, but once you master the tool you’ll be able to repair just about anything.

Before Photoshop, artists manipulated images during the photo shoot, in the darkroom, or on the print, for instance, with SpotTone, a specialty ink used to correct or fill in white areas of photographs for dust spots. This seems like a lost art now that basic photo repairs can be made so quickly using software. However, manipulating photographic imagery has ethical implications for photojournalists and media contributors in the digital age. For instance, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Code of Ethics includes the following statement:

“Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects” [1].

Instances of photo manipulation to “get a better shot” have led to firings (for instance, Bryan Patrick from the Sacramento Bee) and loss of credibility (the infamous National Geographic cover of the Egyptian pyramids in 1982 where a horizontal image was smooshed into a vertical cover space). They’ve also led to increased criticism within the field. Take a look at two shots of O. J. Simpson published in June 1994 by Newsweek and Time magazines: the Time photograph was manipulated to make Simpson’s skin appear darker than it actually is.

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