Removing unwanted hairs from photographs might seem an impossible task. However, Photoshop has specific tools designed to help the average photo buff do professional touch-up work. Its Layers capability lets you work in discreet steps. Use brush tools to finesse the corrections you make. Whether you want to restore an existing print or eliminate errors on a digital file, the technique is the same. Rather than painting on top of the image, replace the faulty pixels with its digital neighbours. With a little practice, your work will be seamless.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Existing photographic print
- Digital photograph file
- Graphics tablet and pen
Scan the existing photograph you want to fix. Make sure to scan the photograph in at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). Or upload a digital photo file onto your computer desktop.
Open Photoshop CS and load in your photographic image. Check the bit depth and resolution of the file. The higher the resolution and colour depth of your incoming image, the higher the quality of your finished product.
Select the "Layers" menu. From the pull-down menu, choose "Duplicate Layer." Work on the duplicate layer; leave the original file intact as a backup in case you make a mistake.
Identify the hair and dirt you want to remove from your image. Whether the unwanted objects got there from dirty negatives or from an in-camera mistake, the technique for removing it is the same. Note the area where the hair is visible; intricate patterns are more forgiving than simple gradations such as skies.
Highlight the second layer to work on it. Choose the "Clone" brush tool from the "Tools" menu. Select a small brush size, not larger than 12 pixels. Make sure your brush has soft edges by adjusting the individual brush attribute controls.
Click "Control" and click with your graphics tablet's pen on an area very close to the hair. Now press again directly on top of the hair image. Paint gently on top of the hair using smooth, small strokes. Notice how your hair is now covered with the cloned background.
Continue drawing until you cover the entire hair. The hair should disappear, becoming invisible. Boost the contrast on your monitor to check your work. Return the monitor to its default settings after you are satisfied with your work.
Select "Layers" and "Flatten Image" or "Combine Visible Layers." Save your work as a JPEG or a TIFF file. Print out your photograph on your printer.
Tips and warnings
- Use the same technique to remove scratches and dirt from images.
- Touch up portraits and remove blemishes or wrinkles, too.
- Save your work as you go; if the computer crashes you will lose your work.
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