Ever wish you could just crop out those unwanted tourists in your souvenir photographs? Need to get rid of something but the camera angle prevents simple cloning? In this tutorial, we’ll practice editing those awkward angles using Photoshop’s vanishing point filter. Vanishing point allows us to define a dimensional plane, or grid, which maintains perspective when editing. There are a few ways of removing unwanted items in Photoshop CS6, such as with the regular old clone tool, but for now we’ll focus on cloning without distorting perspective.
In this photograph, unsightly staining on the wall detracts our attention from the main subject. We’ll use Photoshop’s vanishing point filter to clean up the unwanted marks.
Step 1: Start by opening a new document. Navigate the File menu –> Open. Shortcut by pressing ctrl + o in Windows, cmd + o for Mac. Once the image is opened, duplicate the background by right clicking and selecting duplicate layer. This duplication is optional but is advised since it ensures any edits (or mistakes) are made to a copy while an original image remains intact.
Step 2: Navigate to Vanishing Point from the Filter menu (at top).You can also shortcut this action by pressing Alt + Ctrl + v in Windows. A new popup window will appear with more options to choose from.
Step 3: Once here, you’ll enclose a space (i.e. create a new “plane”) to make edits within. Do this by clicking four points around the area in question. You are able to pull and transform the corners (“nodes”) to change the area even after a plane is defined. Note: the area you enclose is the only place that the clone stamp can draw from—the reference point must remain in the closed plane.
Step 4: After the desired area is enclosed and a vanishing point [perspective grid] is established, select the stamp tool from the left hand side. Hold down the Alt button and notice the plane’s border turns bold and a white plus sign cursor appears when you hover over it.
Step 5: Hold Alt while clicking anywhere within the border. Notice a green plus sign then marks that spot. This becomes the reference point for the clone stamp (i.e. our white crosshair will mimic the green crosshair reference spot).
Step 6: After the reference point is selected, click and hold in the area to paint with the clone stamp. Notice the green crosshair follows the motion of the white crosshair. Because of this following feature, you may want / need to reposition the green marker frequently by pressing alt + clicking on a new spot. You can also change the size, hardness, and opacity of the clone stamp in the top menu to get different effects. Note: turning “healing” on may allow for a more realistic look but notice the brush then pulls from a larger radius to soften and blend.
Step 7: After all changes have been made, select OK (top-right side of the vanishing point editor). Save the final output as a new file. If you want to work on the surface some more or define a new plane to work on—as we’ve done to fix the white wall staining—you can go back into the editor and the previous grid is still saved. The vanishing point editor is useful for many other tricks but we’ve learned how to quickly edit unwanted spots out with the clone tool without losing the integrity of our photograph’s angle.