Clean up a Scene in Photoshop Elements in 6 Easy Steps - Digital Photography School

Clean up a Scene in Photoshop Elements in 6 Easy Steps

sc_before_after.jpg

When you’re photographing popular places this summer, one issue you’ll face is getting a clean shot of what you’re photographing. Too often popular places are filled with tourists so it’s difficult to capture a scene without getting lots of people in it too.

The solution is to recognize the problem when you’re shooting and capture a series of images and use the Photoshop Elements 7 Scene Cleaner tool to assemble an uncluttered scene later on.

When you are shooting take care to take two or more images each showing various elements of the scene uncluttered by people. It is best if these photographs are captured using a tripod but it’s not necessary to do so. What is most important is that you stand still as you capture all the shots – don’t move yourself or the camera as you take them and don’t change your camera settings as you photograph either – if you’re using a manual mode, use Aperture priority not Shutter Priority. Make sure to get every part of the scene without people in it.

Step 1

sc_1.jpg

When you return home, download your images and open them in Photoshop Elements 7 so that they appear in the Project Bin.

Step 2

sc_2.jpg

Click on the first image in the Project Bin and Ctrl + Click on each subsequent image in your series.

Choose File > New > Photomerge Scene Cleaner. When you do this, one image will be loaded in the Source area on the left and nothing will be in the right hand panel.

Step 3

sc_3.jpg

The source image has a colored surround which matches the color surrounding the photo in the Project Bin so you know which image is which.

Drag and drop an image from the Project Bin into the Final box on the right – this will be the image you will work on to clean up – choose the best image to work with.

Zoom in to see the problem area clearly. Note that Photoshop Elements has aligned the images relative to each other.

Step 4

sc_4.jpg

Now locate areas of the final image that need to be replaced using areas of the source image. What you’re looking for here are people in the final image you want to remove for which the source image can provide a clean ‘people free’ area.

Click the Pencil tool in the right hand panel and draw over the area of the source image to use. As you do this you see a colored overlay on the source image and the area you’ve selected will appear on the final image.

Adjust the pencil size using the [ and ] keys if necessary. Use the Eraser to remove the highlight if you select too much of the source image.

Step 5

sc_5.jpg

When you have used all the image data you can from the first source image, click on another source image in the project bin and it will move automatically to the Source area replacing the current image.

Continue and select areas of the source image to use to remove problems you see in the final image.

Step 6

sc_6.jpg

When you have the final image looking as you want it to look check to see if the pieces in the final image need blending or not. If they do, click the Pixel Blending check box in the right hand panel and the copied portions of the source images will be blended into the final image.

Click Done and you can then save the final version as a new file.

This tool is useful for removing tourists from around monuments, cars from roadways and other distractive elements in images where all you want is the scene unencumbered by people. The key is to recognize you have a problem when you’re shooting and capture multipe images to use.

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Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • Josu Arévalo

    Thats a nice Tip and Trick!!!

    What a Pitty I’m not usign PS Elements :(

    I must think in something similar but using Photoshop CS3 …..

  • MRT

    ^ how about opening both photos as layers, then select image>auto-align.. and then use masks to remove the offending objects?

  • Josu Arévalo

    Yeah,

    That’s indeed the approach I intend to try with a couple of pictures!!!

    Thanks

  • http://www.projectwoman.com/phototips.html Helen Bradley

    mrt has a great idea for cleaning scenes in Photoshop. As the poster suggests, you can drag a layer from one image to another, select them both and use Edit | Auto-Align Layers to align the layers then mask out the offending objects.

    However, if you are using Photoshop Elements, as I did in this tutorial, there is no Auto-Align layers command in the program and Photoshop Elements does not support layer masks – so that solution will not work for Photoshop Elements users. Use the Scene Cleaner tool instead.

  • Joni Crews

    I took a Continuing Ed. couse in Elements 7, and we tried this, but with the different levels of students, lets just say I didn’t have the best experience. Anyway, one picture he was teaching us, he insisted that he had made masks work in PSE 7 and was demonstrating, and we got lost. If someone could figure that out and post, would be sooo cool…I have a wedding photo that I need to mask out someone behind a tree, but only got the one shot.

  • Marie

    @joni

    marriedin79 posted a reply to a similar question in another DPS article. Hope this helps.
    http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-fix-a-botched-tourist-photo-in-photoshop

  • howard

    I can’t think of a more pointless tool as Scene Cleaner. If you take a photo with people you don’t want in it then you wait until the people are not in it. Simple as that.

  • Josu Arévalo

    Sometimes you just can’t wait until all the people clear up, or maybe the site is so interesting that you don’t have the opportunity to shot without them.

    Just think of a shot in Picadilly Circus without people? Have you ever seen one without people standing by the statue???

Some older comments

  • Josu Arévalo

    July 28, 2009 02:36 pm

    Sometimes you just can't wait until all the people clear up, or maybe the site is so interesting that you don't have the opportunity to shot without them.

    Just think of a shot in Picadilly Circus without people? Have you ever seen one without people standing by the statue???

  • howard

    July 28, 2009 08:27 am

    I can't think of a more pointless tool as Scene Cleaner. If you take a photo with people you don't want in it then you wait until the people are not in it. Simple as that.

  • Marie

    July 10, 2009 06:05 pm

    @joni

    marriedin79 posted a reply to a similar question in another DPS article. Hope this helps.
    http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-fix-a-botched-tourist-photo-in-photoshop

  • Joni Crews

    July 3, 2009 11:56 pm

    I took a Continuing Ed. couse in Elements 7, and we tried this, but with the different levels of students, lets just say I didn't have the best experience. Anyway, one picture he was teaching us, he insisted that he had made masks work in PSE 7 and was demonstrating, and we got lost. If someone could figure that out and post, would be sooo cool...I have a wedding photo that I need to mask out someone behind a tree, but only got the one shot.

  • Helen Bradley

    July 2, 2009 12:27 am

    mrt has a great idea for cleaning scenes in Photoshop. As the poster suggests, you can drag a layer from one image to another, select them both and use Edit | Auto-Align Layers to align the layers then mask out the offending objects.

    However, if you are using Photoshop Elements, as I did in this tutorial, there is no Auto-Align layers command in the program and Photoshop Elements does not support layer masks - so that solution will not work for Photoshop Elements users. Use the Scene Cleaner tool instead.

  • Josu Arévalo

    July 1, 2009 07:26 pm

    Yeah,

    That's indeed the approach I intend to try with a couple of pictures!!!

    Thanks

  • MRT

    July 1, 2009 01:10 pm

    ^ how about opening both photos as layers, then select image>auto-align.. and then use masks to remove the offending objects?

  • Josu Arévalo

    July 1, 2009 01:28 am

    Thats a nice Tip and Trick!!!

    What a Pitty I'm not usign PS Elements :(

    I must think in something similar but using Photoshop CS3 .....

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