Let’s take this innocent leopard photograph and really play with it. How about some extra eyes, or even ears? All the better for hearing and seeing you with…
For this tutorial we will be using the infamous Clone Stamp tool – It really is good fun and can be extremely useful. But let’s start with the fun side first.
But what does the Clone Stamp Tool even do, I hear you cry. The clone stamp tool allows you to paint over a part of the image using a different part of the source image. It is almost like a basic Patch Tool (if you don’t know what that does, don’t worry as I will be going over that very soon in another tutorial)
The best way to see what it does is to try it out. So load up an image, something distinctive like this leopard. Then grab the clone stamp tool from the left in the tools palette. You will see the standard brush curser appear. But if you click now you will likely get a warning, or nothing at all from photoshop. It’s not broken, we just haven’t selected a source. To do this, hold alt and you will see the curser change to a crosshair-like shape. This is the source selecting mode. To select a source, click on the part of the image you want to ‘clone’ while holding alt. When you release alt you will see that part of the image now follow your curser – sort of.
Now start painting! You will see the source be cloned onto the new section you are painting.
As soon as you start painting the location of the clone will be ‘locked’ into place. Do demonstrate this I will try to paint a third and fourth ear onto the back of the leopard. Here I have painted the third, and I want one above it. The cloning location is locked so when I try to paint a new one, it doesn’t work. I have to re-select the source by holding alt.
There we go, four eared leopard.
You can see where the clone stamp tool is sourcing the image by looking carefully as you paint. You will be able to see a cross hair dancing about the section where you placed the source.
The source moves with your mouse as you paint. This enables you to clone entire areas into new places. You will see what I mean as you experiment with the tool.
You can also change the brush type you use, just like with the brush tool. But a softer brush is recommended as that will blend the new clones into the image well.
Of course, to make this realistic more work would need to be done. Perhaps scaling the ears and twisting them. But how, especially as the clones are being painted straight onto the original layer? Well, you can paint onto a new layer. To do this select the layer you want to source, hold alt and select the source, then select the layer you want to paint onto and go wild!
Ok, so it’s not realistic, but it is fun. This tool can be used for proper things though. Like removing small people in the distance, buildings and telephone wires from photos. It can take time and care, but it is invaluable for photo-shopping your photos to perfection.