Photo Retouching

Photo retouching, the art of removing unwanted elements from your image, is a key piece of any photographer’s toolbox. With Luminar, Photo retouching has never been easier. Whether you’re wanting to remove something ugly in the background or enhance your model’s beauty by eliminating skin blemishes, Luminar has the tools to make your photos look their best.

Going the Step Beyond

By now, you probably know that Luminar has some fantastic editing tools (both basic and advanced), but what you may not know is that you can also use Luminar for photo retouching as well. Where editing deals with global adjustments (white balance, contrast, exposure, etc.) photo retouching consists of very localized changes that allow you to get rid of elements in your frame that distract from the subject of your photo or simply just don’t look good.

For pictures of people, this can be anything from acne or wrinkles on the face to blood vessels in the whites of the eyes. In a landscape, there could be a house that is marring an otherwise pristine nature shot, power lines running across your sky, or tourists in the background of an otherwise iconic shot. Regardless of what the unwanted element is, you know your photo would look better without it. That’s when it’s time to use Luminar’s photo retouching tools.

The Clone & Stamp Tool

The Clone & Stamp tool allows you to replace unwanted or damaged pixels with the pixels of your choice. It basically gives you a “copy and paste” effect that works great when working with with images or areas that have a consistent color and texture. Simply click on the pixels that best resemble the look you’re going for and then brush over the area you’re wanting to cover up. You can adjust the opacity of your strokes, as well as choose your blending mode and brush size. You can even feather the edges of your brush for better pixel integration. For best results, start at a low opacity and use a number of different strokes. Also, when working with larger areas, it can be helpful to sample from a number of different target points to help ensure a seamless texture.

Tool tips
! Photo retouching should ideally happen after the basic global adjustments (like exposure, contrast, and white balance), but before you apply any extra special effects or even sharpening. If you’re working with lots of photos, setting up an editing workflow can help streamline your process and save you lots of time. In Luminar, you can set up custom workspaces that allow you to move through your basic editing quickly, move on to your photo retouching, and then finish off with your favorite filters.

The Erase Tool:
Content-Aware pixel removal

The Erase Tool (akin to the healing brush in Photoshop) also removes unwanted elements from your image. Unlike the Clone & Stamp tool, though, when you paint with the Erase tool, Luminar takes into account the texture, illumination and shadows surrounding the pixels you’ve painted over and blends them in for you. This makes it an excellent go-to tool for images that don’t have consistent lighting or texture. In addition, there’s no sampling of “correct” pixels required. Simply select the tool and then paint over the spot you want to erase. To see the result, click “erase.” (You can make as many erasures as you like before clicking the “apply” button.)

The Erase tool also comes with a polyagonal lasso, so you can select a very precise area to be affected.

You can find both the Clone & Stamp tool and the Erase tool on the right-hand toolbar or select it from the drop-down tool menu above.

One Level Deeper

Occasionally you might find that your image needs something more than spot removal or the odd artifact cloned over. Actions like changing a background or combining several photos together engage a whole other level of image enhancement, as they make substantial changes to the original photo. For these types of changes, you’ll want to use different layers and layer masks to achieve your intended results. In general, these types of changes take a lot more time than simply removing unwanted spots or items.

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