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The Subterranean Copy/Paste Blues

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The Subterranean Copy/Paste Blues
Working Below the Visible Top Layer     ** PDF is at the end of this tutorial.



Feather Object


When it comes to eliminating unwanted elements
in an image many people swear by the Clone Stamp tool.

Many more people swear at the Clone Stamp tool!

Fortunately, there is an alternative. Copy/Paste.

This tutorial shows a way of working with copy/paste
that can save a lot of time that might otherwise be
wasted on cutting, trimming, erasing and so on
in an effort to get the pasted bits to blend in well.

So, here is the mantra:



Change Layers


Copy/Paste into a New Layer

Position Pasted Selection

Esc (Or use your favorite other way of deselecting.)

Merge top layer down onto the pasted-into layer.

Repeat as needed.


Hmmm.... that seems like a lot of steps, but once
you get the concept down, it flows pretty smoothly.

Here's how to set things up.


1 --- Bottom layer is a solid color that will contrast
with the colors of your working image.

Next two layers are your working image duplicated.

The middle layer is unchecked in the Layers window.
It remains not visible throughout the process.


2 --- Once you have your layers set up, the first step
is to erase something on the top layer that you don't like.


3 --- Then use Feather Object or AA's_Assistant to soften the edge.


4 --- Now, in the Layers window click the middle layer,
then use the Selection tool of your choice,
and select a suitable area to fill in the erased gap.



5 --- Press:

Ctrl C
Ctrl+Shift V

This copies and pastes the selection into a new layer.


6 --- Use the mouse to position the pasted selection
where you want it. Remember, using the right
mouse button allows you to rotate the selection.


7 --- Use your favorite way of deselecting,
then merge top layer down onto the pasted-into layer.

8 --- Repeat as needed.


Sometimes the pasted-and-moved pieces
will blend better with some minor adjustments of
brightness, contrast and/or saturation.

Sharpen or blur is sometimes helpful for better blending.

(These would need to be done before merging layers. :) )

This method may take longer than running roughshod with the Clone Stamp,
but it allows greater control and often gives a much better end result.



Hidden Content: A Simpler, Easier Way to Do This
Here's a variation that is much simpler.


Open the image in Paint.NET.

Erase a part that you don't like.

Use Feather Object or AA's < no swearing >istant.


Duplicate the layer.

Layers > Duplicate Layer
(In the top menu)


Click on the bottom layer in the Layers window to highlight it.

Click on the top-right icon in the Tools window. (Move Selected Pixels tool)


On the canvas, click and drag the bottom layer until the erased spot looks good.
(You'll be moving the bottom layer beneath the visible top layer)

Merge layers.









Hidden Content: Disclaimer

Don't take my anti-Clone-Stamp comments too seriously. :)

It's a valuable tool, and often the best tool for a particular job.








Hidden Content: It s not just for zoo animals. --- Spot retouching on human subjects.'

This method works well when retaining a natural unretouched look is needed.
Blemishes are replaced by natural skin texture rather than blurriness.
The obviously-retouched airbrushed look can be avoided.

Nina Paley Photo by Ian Akin





The Subterranean CopyPaste Blues.pdf

The Subterranean CopyPaste Blues.pdf

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8 Billion internets to you, kind sir.

It shows the people how surprisingly BORING it is to retouch photos :D

This way, they will be directed towards graphic design which is way cooler! ;)

No offense, this is a very nice tutorial. This section needs more of these!

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 years later...

RE: Missing images of this tutorial.


The author of this tutorial hasn't been around the forum for quite some time.  Shame really :(  Sarkut was an excellent artist and added a great deal of value around here.


Until the tutorial is recompiled you'll just have to work through the text that remains.


If anyone has this tutorial stored offline - please contact me via PM so we can work to restore it.

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Thanks barbieq25!


I've uploaded a PDF of the tutorial for users to download.  I'll upload the photos to the tutorial above over the next few days.

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  • 3 years later...

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