Tuesday, August 4, 2009


How to defeat edge artifacts in composited landscape images

Labels: How-To

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Clone Stamp Tool
The Clone Stamp tool is one of my favorite fixes and works extremely well with complex selections. This method is fairly straightforward, and to illustrate it, I’ve chosen a photo of a sleepy cove in St. Thomas with a washed-out sky (Figure 4a).

The first step here is to “lock transparent pixels” on the layer with the fringe (Figure 4b), otherwise you’ll end up with cloned patterns beyond the edges you’re trying to fix. Select the Clone Stamp tool from the Tools palette. To start, I pick an anchor point to act as a source from where I’d like to clone. Do this by holding down the Opt/Alt key while clicking the left mouse button—then let up on the Opt/Alt key, move the cursor to the fringed edges and click away. The halo disappears and is replaced with the multihued leaf pattern from the source.

Figure 4c is a close-up screenshot of the results of this technique. For the detailed tree area, I’ve unchecked the tool’s Aligned box to keep the cloning source confined to a relatively small area. Conversely, I checked the Aligned box to attack the line along the hilltop and horizon—that way the source changes so that the tone along the corrected edge will closely mimic the adjacent area. Some experimentation may be in order here, depending on the image you’re working with. It’s always best to start with a low opacity setting, which will let you gradually darken the edge. I worked with the Layer Blend mode set to Normal in this case; however, the Darken mode may be more appropriate in other instances—experiment to see what’s best for your particular application.

Figure 4d shows the completed composited image after all halos have been removed with the Clone Stamp tool.

I’ve presented a number of techniques that I use for dealing with annoying edge fringe. Some of these procedures may work better for you than others because each image is different, as are your own requirements. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try multiple fixes on the same image if one solution doesn’t quite cut it.

To see more of Rick Sheremeta’s photography and learn about upcoming photo workshops, visit his website at


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