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Hi and welcome back.

I’m not a Photoshop Guru: actually, I despise the time I spend in Photoshop.  However, there are times when you need to dig deep and fix an image.  All my basic retouching goes out to retouching professionals, but sometimes I need to do it myself based on budget and time constraint.

I generally have a love/hate relationship with seamless paper.  Even though it is the industry standard and you can get some really cool colors for a good price, it is a pain to retouch later.  If you lay the roll down, it gets a bow in it; if you roll it up once or twice, you wrinkle it; if you step on it, you ruin it.  Get my drift on why I don’t like it?

But, it is easy to use and transport and every studio in the world has a selection of it on hand.

So I found myself having to retouch a background and was fumbling around when I found this amazing tutorial by my fellow photographer, Frank Doorhof in his book, “Mastering the Model Shoot.”

He gives the tutorial as a set of keystrokes.  Since I’m a Mac user, all the strokes will be for a Mac, for you Windows guys, just swap keys accordingly.

Ok, here is my image of Katy that needs a background fix:


Ok, here is the process recipe in Photoshop:

After opening the image, press Command-J to duplicate the background and work on the top layer only.


Command J

After copying the background, hit Shift-W, this will activate the Magic Wand tool.  Use it to highlight the background edges first:

Shift W

If you look at my screenshot above, you’ll see how there is one section of hair not highlighted on the edge over Katy’s left ear.

Simple hit Command-Shift-I to invert the layer and then use your Magic Wand to adjust any missing elements:

Shift Command I

Now that everything we want is highlighted, we can begin to work on the image.

Click Command-X to remove or cut Katy out of the image.  This will happen on the layer only.  You will still be able to see Katy, but the layer will show her removed.  This is what you want so you can see the effect of your adjustment later on.

Command X

Now that Katy is removed from the background, we can work on smoothing out the wrinkled paper.

Go to Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur and choose a blur amount to taste.  You may need to do it several times to get the correct effect depending on the amount of wrinkles you need to move.

Gaussian Blur

In this case, I chose 127.2 pixels by dragging the slider up and down.  I did this three times until I found the right amount by eye.

Gaussian Blur 2

Your image will look like this:


But you can still see and uneven look to the seamless paper.  In order to smooth that further and to its final look, simply choose Filter-Noise-Add Noise and add noise from between 1-10 or to taste.  I’ve not gone above 5 for any image.

Add Noise

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.12.37 PM

Now your image will look like this:


Now for the final.  Click Command-Shift-V to bring Katy back from being pasted out of the image.

Your layer palette should look like this:

Command shift V

And your image like this, fully repaired!


Then simply use Shift-Command-E to flatten your image.

Voila! You went from bad to good in a few quick steps.

Try this a few times.  Once you get the keystrokes down, you can fix and image with a wrinkled seamless paper background in a few minutes.

So go from bad to good with the amazing tutorial:

Katy Ngo_1456

Well that’s it for now.  If you are coming to the Fitness Workshop on April 2, we’ll be shooting on a colored seamless so you can definitely try this at home!

That’s it for now.  Till next time, happy retouching!