Retouching clothes: how to remove stains, wool, folds | Lesson | Photo, video, optics


Catalog retouching, portraiture, fashion photography, and sometimes even wedding photo shoots are not complete without clothing post-processing. In an ideal world, all things on the model are clean, steamed and cleaned with a sticky roller to perfect condition. But in reality, unintelligible crumpled lumps of fabric sometimes come to the shooting, which need to be brought to the ideal in a graphic editor.

We tell you how to smooth clothes, as well as clean them from wool and stains in Photoshop.

How to remove wrinkles in Photoshop — a lazy way
How to remove wool
How to Smooth Out Clothes and Remove Stains in Photoshop
Frequency decomposition — how to decompose into three bands

How to remove wrinkles in Photoshop — a lazy way

This method of retouching clothes in Photoshop is suitable for things without a pronounced texture, as well as for full-length shots where it is difficult to see the pattern of the fabric. That is, for almost any shooting of clothing catalogs. For example, a satin dress or a cotton T-shirt can be perfectly cleaned in a couple of minutes, but a large-knit sweater cannot be cleaned of wrinkles in this way — the pattern will simply be erased.

  • Open the file and make a copy of the original layer.

To do this, in the palette Layers (if it is not open, find it in Window / Window — Layers / Layers or press F7) right-click on the Background layer / Background and select command Create a duplicate layer / Duplicate Layer.

2. Stand on the created copy of the source and select the tool Mixer Brush. It’s on the toolbar on the left. The icon is a brush with a transparent blob on the left. To quickly call up the Mix Brush, hold down Shift and press the English B until the program switches to the icon you need.

Mix brush settings for retouching clothes. All buttons, checkmarks and numbers must be placed as in the upper orange rectangle / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photosklad.Expert

3. Selecting the size of the mix brush (for example, using hot keys [ и ]), smooth the wrinkles in the direction of fabric movement. So, if the model is just standing, move strictly vertically, and if it bounces, as in the screenshot, and the folds go to the side, bend the direction of the stroke.

The result before and after working with a mix brush / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Fotosklad.Expert

Life hack: so that your hand gets less tired and work goes faster, think about a graphics tablet. For a photographer who does a lot of retouching, this is an indispensable device.

How to remove wool

Wool, dust, individual hairs of the model that have fallen on clothes are the photographer’s eternal problem. Sometimes, if the model has pets, even conscientious cleaning with adhesive tape does not guarantee the «sterility» of the appearance of things. We tell you how to quickly clean clothes from unnecessary objects.

  • Open a photo and create a new empty layer.

To do this, in the palette Layers click on the plus icon at the bottom left of the panel. The second way is to press the key combination Shift + Ctrl + N. The advantage of this method is that the layer can be immediately renamed so as not to get confused in them, as well as highlight it with a color marker so that it stands out from all the others.

2. Stand on the newly created empty layer and select the tool Healing Brush / Healing Brush. It is located on the toolbar on the left and is an icon that looks like a band-aid. You can quickly invoke the Healing Brush by pressing Shift + J.

Be sure to set the Sample / Sample — Active layer and below / Current & Below, otherwise the brush will not work / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photostore.Expert

3. Start cleaning your clothes.

To do this, hold down the left Alt and move the mouse or tablet cursor over the area that will be your patch. When you select it, left-click and release Alt — the program will remember your choice.

Important: if the texture is visible on the clothes, as in the example, choose the area that will be the continuation of your patch. It is necessary to move in the direction of movement of the fabric, without breaking the pattern.

Approximate areas where you can take patches. In them, the texture matches in size, brightness and pattern. As a rule, these are the areas around the defect that need to be removed / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photostore.Expert

Now just paint over the area with fur, dust, or a small crease that you don’t like. Having done this, select the next area for the patch by completely repeating step 3.

How to Smooth Out Clothes and Remove Stains in Photoshop

Clothing retouching often involves two areas of work at once. On the one hand, you need to transfer the correct texture and preserve the shape of the object, and on the other hand, smooth out the wrinkles and spots on the light and shade. We tell you how to combine these two tasks in one retouching method.

This method is called frequency decomposition (it was discussed in detail in this text). It is versatile and also allows you to retouch objects, background, skin. The difference is that for each task and object size, you need to select your own blur radius.

Not the classical frequency decomposition, where we divide the picture into two frequencies, is suitable for retouching clothes. Here we need a decomposition into three frequency bands. It is considered a cruder and faster method, but it is suitable for clothing, since the human eye is less picky about falsehood when it comes to inanimate objects. This will achieve the desired result and save time.

Frequency decomposition — how to decompose into three bands

1. Open a photo and create two duplicate layers at once. To do this, in the palette Layers Press Background layer / Background and select command Create a duplicate layer / Duplicate Layer. This action must be repeated twice.

2. Click on the eye icon to turn off the visibility of the top layer. Stand on the bottom layer and blur it. To do this, go to Filter / Filter — Blur / Blur — Gaussian Blur / Gaussian Blur.

The most important thing here is to choose the right blur radius. The texture of the clothes should not remain in the photo — only large black and white spots that are responsible for the shape / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Photostore.Expert / Photo:

We’ve got the form. Now it’s time to extract the texture and mids from the photo — the spots that create the feeling of being rumpled.

3. Turn on the visibility of the top layer. Stand on it by clicking the left mouse button. Go to Image / Image — External Channel / Apply Image.

In the Layer drop-down list, select the one you blurred. Wu: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photostore. The expert is Layer 1. Also make sure that the Mode / Blending column is set to Subtract / Substract. Set the rest of the settings as in the screenshot / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photosklad.Expert

4. Duplicate the resulting gray layer with subtraction. To do this, press Ctrl + J. Turn off the visibility of the topmost layer — we will return to it later.

5. Left click on the middle layer. Blur it into Filter / Filter — Blur / Blur — Gaussian Blur / Gaussian Blur.

Blur until the texture of the fabric disappears, but there are large blurry dirty spots that create a feeling of wrinkling. Here, for example, this is a radius of 4.5 / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Fotosklad.Expert

6. Turn on the visibility of the top texture layer. Go to Image / Image — External channel / Apply Image.

Now we need to subtract the middle wrinkled layer, which was just washed out. Make sure that the blending mode and settings are the same as in the screenshot / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photostore.Expert

Set the texture layer and wrinkle layer (top and middle) to blend mode Linear Light / Linear Light. Ready. The layers are now ready for processing by frequency decomposition.

The blending mode is switched in the Layers palette / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photosklad.Expert

7. Time to retouch!

Step on the midrange layer and use a black brush to smooth out the wrinkle. Add a mask to the mid frequencies layer by clicking on the black rectangle with a circle in the palette Layers / Layer.

Left click on the mask and paint with black wherever you see wrinkling / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photosklad.Expert

To correct chiaroscuro on clothes — large wrinkles, unevenness due to pose or figure, stand on a layer with low frequencies and smooth clothes with a mix brush.

Keep track of which tool you are working on on which layer. Also, check that the Mix brush settings remain as in the screenshot / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Photostore.Expert

To correct the texture, remove creases on the fabric, stand on a layer with high frequencies. Will have to work Stamp / Clone Stamp with soft edges or Healing brush / Healing brush.

It is important that in the column Sample / Sample there was an Active layer / Current Layer. This is necessary for the tool to work correctly and not leave color contrasting spots / Illustration: Elizaveta Lentchevicha, Photosklad.Expert
As a result of such retouching, you can correct wrinkles and wrinkling without disturbing the texture of the product. Original image on the left, retouched version on the right / Illustration: Elizaveta Chechevitsa, Photosklad.Expert


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