How to clean the background in Photoshop

During retouching it is always clear that the backdrop becomes dirty no matter what the photographer uses: hanging fabric, paper, vinyl. Perhaps you can solve this problem using a vacuum cleaner, but I suggest another option – Photoshop. It is not difficult to cover up small spots and scuffs with the cloning tool, but when you have a large amount of dirt in the background, a simple blurring is unlikely to save you.

In the picture below you can see that I have already cleaned the floor, it remains to work on the backdrop.

Copyright: Simon Newlyn.

In some cases, the tool helps Cropping (Crop Tool) (C). But in this lesson we will expand the backdrop to hide unnecessary elements, while taking into account the shadows and gradients.

Tool Lasso (Lasso Tool) (L) Select the following section of the photo:

Copy the selection to a separate layer (Ctrl + J).

Activate mode Free transform (Ctrl + T) and drag a piece of material to the left. Then stretch it slightly to the right.

Add a mask to a separate layer with a piece of cloth. Fill it with black.

Choose a big soft brush and white color fill the problem area, namely rough transitions between different parts of the fabric. It is necessary that all the material in the background looked whole.

Now highlight the top of the backdrop. Copy it to a separate layer, stretch and work with the mask.

Below is the result that I got. As you can see, sometimes there may be some problems with hiding unwanted items. Part of the object is too close to the edge, in this case it is the girl’s hair.

We will fix this flaw in a simple way. Create a new layer and tool Stamp (Clone Stamp Tool) (S) or Healing Brush (Healing Brush Tool) (J) Spread what is not needed. In the tool settings, you need to set the source to Current and below (Current Below). Also with the help of these tools you can get rid of large folds.

Zoom in and see how much dirt and wrinkles we have in the background.

Merge all layers into one separate (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E). Apply Filter Blur on the surface (Filter> Blur> Blur over Surface) (Filter> Blur> Surface Blur). Choose a radius value sufficient to remove the folds, but not too large so as not to damage the edges of the girl.

Add a mask filled with black color to the blurred layer. With a soft white brush, return the blur to those areas of the backdrop where you need to remove wrinkles and dirt.

Now we have another small problem. The foreground object, a girl, has a certain degree of graininess, and the background is too smooth. Select the top layer (just the layer, not the mask) and apply noise filter (Filter> Noise> Add Noise) (Filter> Noise> Add Noise).

Take away the photo and look at it. Now the background has become much cleaner than it was at the beginning. It remains for us to work on the edges to create a uniform color around them.

Put all the layers together again (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E). Apply a filter to the resulting layer. Gaussian blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). The radius depends on how much you want to soften the background. I used a value of 80 pixels. After blurring, apply a noise filter with the same parameters as the last time. Paint over the mask so that the blur touches only the parts of the backdrop near the edges.

I decided to correct the part of the background close to the girl. To do this, you need to reduce the layers and apply a filter. Gaussian blur with a value of 20 pixels. See how I painted the mask in the following screenshot:

It turned out well. At the end you can add a light vignetting.

Author: Daniel Meadows

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