September 3rd, 2021

5 Minutes To: Photo Manipulation Basics

Welcome to the sweet world of photo manipulation!

Now I realise that some of the first things to pop into your head when I say that are the glitzy, over-edited pictures of celebrities on magazine covers, or tons of influencers posting seemingly perfect images on social media. But I’m here to teach you there is far more to it than that! If we look back in time, traditionally, companies would paint their adverts and murals on walls (as seen below), and whenever a change was needed, the artist would bring their paints and correct the mistakes, or simply paint up a new advert.

Moving into more recent times, this has evolved  into printed publications that could be pinned just about anywhere, until, that is, a new one is created and put up to replace the last. We are lucky enough to have the technological tools to hand to not only make updates to existing creations, but also to enhance them! Adobe Photoshop, for those of you who are not familiar with it, is a photo editing application that has grown into the industry standard for designers and creators, especially when it comes to photo manipulation. I’m going to introduce you to a few of the basic tools that every designer should have when beginning their journey into photo manipulation. 

Clone stamp tool

This tool will be your best friend in times where you need to quickly remove or duplicate any part of your image. Simply select it by pressing the keyboard letter shortcut (S), then hold (alt) and click on the part of your image that needs to be duplicated. From here, you can paint your image in a new place anywhere on your canvas. To remove, hold (alt) again and select an area of unfilled space and then paint over anything you don’t want to see in your image. This can be a lifesaver when you didn’t mean to capture someone’s hand in your lovely flatlay of products, or can see a pesky microphone above someone’s head in a video thumbnail!

Spot healing brush tool

The spot healing brush tool is the infamous ‘airbrushing tool’, and while you could choose to remove every blemish and spot, it is actually much better put to use removing smaller details in a pinch. Choose the brush using the keyboard letter shortcut (J), and click on the detail you want removed, and voila! Job done! In less than a minute, you’ve rescued your perfect mirror shot from some grubby fingerprints! 

Patch tool

The patch tool is a good place to start if you quite feel confident with approaching the clone stamp tool yet, or you just want to save yourself some time. In any case, it’s still good to get to know a variety of tools for personal growth.

Select the patch tool by pressing the keyboard shortcut (J) or click and hold on the spot healing brush tool and hover down the mini menu to select the patch tool manually. Draw a frame around the object or area you want to remove, then click and drag from inside the selected area outside the lines, to a part of the image that you want to be replicated within your selection (this will be highlighted by animated dashed lines).

And there you have it, three quick ways to save yourself reproducing content that was already perfect to work with. Using these tools, you can expect your content to wow viewers and designers alike! But most importantly, you’re saving precious time that you can use to nourish your business in plenty of other ways.