Deke’s Techniques: Removing people from photos with image stacks

Published by | Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Have you ever wanted to capture a pristine photo of a famous location that was unmarred by the presence of other people or random objects? Imagine the Golden Gate Bridge with no cars or the Piazza San Marco with no tourists. This week’s Deke’s Techniques shows you how to simulate that kind of exclusive access using the image stacking capabilities of Photoshop CS5 Extended. In this free video, Deke McClelland shows you how he removed a pesky tourist from his shots of a famous theater by aligning multiple shots, turning all those layers into a single smart object, and then applying a median calculation to remove his fellow traveler (not to mention an inexplicable floating orangutan head) from the scene.

In Deke’s case, this pesky woman was walking across the railing at the Theatro Olympico in Vincenza, Italy while Deke was trying to capture Palladio’s amazing forced-perspective set. (Here he actually used a variation technique to show you all four of her positions at once!)

And without having to rely on a single mask, he managed to remove her by simply asking Photoshop to do the math, and ended up with this result:

During the course of the video, you’ll also learn some of the other calcuations that Photoshop Extended offers up. You’ll also see how to troubleshoot remnant artifacts if your calculations don’t do the job satisfactorily. (And as a bonus, you’ll get a beautiful view of this gorgeous, 16th-century forced-perspective theatre designed by the famous architect, Palladio.)

Every week, Deke offers up another handy free technique for you to use in your own projects. And lynda.com members can also access exclusive videos from Deke as well. In fact, this week, he’ll show you how he turned the crowd in Piazza San Marco into a compelling set of ghostlike figures. Try it out and see what kind of serious power it gives you over your photographic surroundings!

And join us next week for another free technique from Deke. Ciao, fellow Photoshop travelers!

Related links:
Deke’s Techniques
courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

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2 Responses to “Deke’s Techniques: Removing people from photos with image stacks”

  1. Gregg says:

    Content aware fill is not a feature limited to CS5 “extended.” It is also in the standard version of CS5.

  2. Hi, @Gregg. Deke’s technique does not actually use content-aware fill, but rather a combination of layer alignment (also not exclusive to Photoshop Extended) and an image stack calculation that is only available in the Extended version. You’re right that content-aware fill may get you the results you want, but it may not. Thiis method actually uses several images of the same subject to get the “fill” to be exactly what’s missing behind the removed object.

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