The purpose of the Elements Clone Tool is to remove an object from a
picture, add an object to a picture or move an item from one picture to
It's a great tool and relatively easy to use, however if someone is
ham-handed when using the tool it can make a mess or look very
amateurish and we don't want that, do we?
The latest version of Elements (Version 9) has a neat enhancement to
the Clone Tool that makes it much easier to use.
The enhancement is Show Overlay - but first - here's the image that we
will be working with.
Some comments ...
The picnic bench just isn't in tune with the feeling that this canon is
there to protect our shores from some gathering hordes. The canon
certainly makes me feel more secure!
The picture needs some other tender love and care above and beyond a
treatment of the Elements Clone Tool.
Here's the Options Bar when the Elements Clone Tool is selected and
clicking on the little box
on the right end of the box (outlined in red) will bring up more
With the Show Overlay box
checked and a source point selected, this is what you will see ...
What this does is show you what the result of your cloning will be
before you do the work! Isn't that great?
OK - now back to working with the image to eliminate the picnic bench
and make an overall improvement.
Removing The Picnic Bench
The easiest way to use the elements clone tool to remove the picnic
bench (or whatever you are removing) is to ...
Use a Wacom pen (Bamboo or Intuos) to do the work.
Select a soft edge brush that changes opacity with pressure.
Change to a hard edge brush around areas that are very
different from one another (like the picnic table and the sand).
Clone to a new layer and make sure Sample All Layers is checked.
Zoom in close and work slowly.
Change the Source point often to avoid making
patterns. The Source point is created by Alt-tapping (or Alt-left
clicking) on the part of the image that you want to use to cover the
checked the Source pint will follow the pointer and with Aligned not checked the Source will
always return to where you originally set it each time you lift the pen
(or release the left mouse button).
With something like the picnic bench it's possible to make
a patch with the Rectangular Selection Tool, promote it to a new layer
and use the Move Tool to cover the offending item (in this case the
picnic bench) and then use the clone tool to eliminate the harsh lines.
Practise, practise, practise. Work with the Clone
Tool in a variety of different situations to figure out where it works
the best. The tendancy may be to use the Spot Healing Brush is
every situation but it is not the best choice all of the time -
especially when working with a hard edge.
You can see the guidelines at work in this partially finished screen
capture. The brush set to change opacity with pressure does not
entirely remove the bench with one stroke - it takes a few passes with
the pen and what that does is create a nice seamless elements clone.
The result of using a soft edge brush is apparent on the bottom edge of
the picnic table.
Here's the image after a combination of making a patch and cloning.
Now I feel much more secure seeing that anyone who mans this awesome
deterrent will not be distracted by goodies on a picnic bench.
Now for changes to the overall image.
The first three steps are ...
Flatten the image.
Duplicate the Background.
Change the Blend Mode to Screen (the lightening Blend Mode).
To arrive at this result.
The Screen Blend Mode does a great job lightening the overall picture
and that has created another problem - the sky is now much too light,
This can be addressed with another Blend Mode - Multiply.
To do this simply drag the top layer to the new layer icon and then
change the Blend Mode of the new layer to Multiply (the darkening Blend
Oops - it seems the image is now darker than it was before. Looks
like the Multiply Blend Mode did it's job!
The good thing is that the excessive darkening can be resolved with a
To add a Layer Mask make sure the top layer that is set to Multiply is
selected and then click on the Add Layer Mask icon (outlined in red) at
the bottom of the palette.
This will add the layer mask to the top layer and it will be filled
with white so you will not seen any change to the image.
The objective here is to keep the dark sky that was created with the
top layer set to Multiply and bring back the lighter parts of the image
- foreground, water, canon and trees.
To bring back the lighter parts of the image add a Layer Mask to the top layer, set the foreground color
to black, grab the paint brush, select a brush that changes opacity
with pen pressure and paint over the parts that need to be lightened.
Here's the picture after all of the different modifications that have been done.
With these changes the image is pretty much where I would like it to be.
This image can be further modified with some additional techniques and it all started with the Elements Clone tool..
The Style Match in the Guided Edit tab can give some interesting
results. Here's the result after doing a Style Match with one of
the sample pictures in Elements 9 (Color Truck.jpg).
This just wouldn't be as interesting with that picnic bench stuck smack dab in the middle of the picture, would it?