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Image editing tutorial - Clone brush

Select the Clone Stamp tool from the tool palette. The icon used for the Clone tool, a rubber stamp, is the same in every popular image editing program.

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Using the drop-down menu at the top of the screen, choose a small soft-edged brush. The actual that size you need will depend on the size of the photo you’re working with, but for this one a 35-pixel diameter is ideal.

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The Clone brush works by sampling pixels from a position relative to the location of the brush, which moves with the brush as you paint. In order to set the sample position, hold down the Alt key, and you’ll see the cursor change to a cross-hair. Click this cross-hair on the image, release the Alt key, then move the cursor a short distance away and click again. You’ll see that a portion of the image from the sample position is copied at the cursor location. By carefully positioning the sample target relative to the area you want to change, you can usually match up the background to seamlessly cover it with copied pixels. For this image, I carefully sampled the line of the masonry, then moved the cursor over the sign and copied over it. It may take a few tries to get the position exactly right, so use the Ctrl-Z function to undo any mistakes.

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In Paint Shop Pro and PhotoImpact, you select the sample area by right-clicking on the image.

By renewing the sample position whenever necessary, you can match up different areas of the background to cover up the rest of the parts you wish to hide.

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It’s a good idea to change the sample position regularly when cloning out large areas, because otherwise a repetitive pattern builds up which is very easy to spot in the finished picture.

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This is especially important to remember when making fake news pictures of war-torn middle-eastern cities, as a Reuters photographer discovered last year.

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It’s also a good idea to change the size of your brush to work around fine details, or to cover larger areas more quickly.

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