This post refers to and continues from this one:
Question: Oh my gosh! Thank you so much. Your explanation of the steps was perfect. I went through the process you explained with some sample pictures a number of times and I would say that I am now an expert. My question now has to do with how I can remove people from the photos after I take them. As you said, I need to take the shots as people are walking around. Is there an easy way to get rid of them by using Photoshop?
Answer: Yes, Photoshop has many tools that will allow you to remove moving objects from very similar images. If one of those objects sits for too long and doesn’t move, obviously that object won’t disappear, but if you have people milling about a town square or near some other popular vacation landmark, you can certainly try getting rid of them by using the Mean feature that Photoshop offers.
Click on the Smart Object I previously referred to in the Layers panel and then go to the Layer > Smart Objects > Stack Mode > Mean menu item and click. Once you do this, Photoshop will hang for a few seconds as it evaluates all of the photos inside of the Smart Object. When it’s finished, you should see most of the people in your final product disappear. What happened was Photoshop took the average (mean) of all the areas inside of all the photos and if there were any spots that weren’t like the others, it would remove those spots. That’s why I said that the people in the pictures need to be moving. If some of the people are stationary for too long in too many photos, they’ll become the average and won’t go away. Try this out and let me know what happens. Find some demo images to work with and reply here. I also have a few other tips for you to help with this type of situation.
Reply: Thank you again. I truly appreciate your reply. I went out and took some demo photos at a park yesterday and I followed your instructions. They were perfect. I opened the photos in Photoshop as a stack and then used the Mean command to filter out all the people. The only problem I’m now facing is that there seems to be some ghosting of people in the final result photo. They’re not dark or fully saturated or anything, but there’s a very light version of them in some areas. Also, there are some small objects I’d like to remove from the images as well. Do you know how to remove the ghosting and the objects from the Smart Object stack of photos? Thank you.
Reply: I had a feeling this very scenario would transpire. This typically occurs when the people in your stack of images aren’t moving fast enough (or standing on one place, not moving at all) or if you haven’t taken enough photos for the Mean command to filter them out. Don’t worry, it’s no problem. Basically, at this point, you can use the Clone Stamp Tool to clean things up.
Go to the Layers panel in Photoshop where your Smart Object is located. Then, create a new, empty layer and place that layer above the Smart Object in the panel. After that, activate the Clone Stamp Tool in the left toolbar and then go to the top options bar and make sure the All Layers option is set from the Sample drop-down box.
Basically, at this point you can begin removing anything in the resulting image that you don’t want there anymore. So, if you see a hat on the ground that you want gone, click to the left or the right of it to take a sample of the surrounding area and then brush over the hat. You can do this same thing with the ghosts of the people you can still see in the photos. Working with the Clone Stamp Tool is very easy once you get the hang of it, but can drive you a little nuts until that point. I suggest you read this post to get caught up if you haven’t already.
Reply: This worked perfectly. Thank you. Now, for my final question (hopefully). Is there a way to edit this final photo? I’d like to make some additional changes to the contrast, white, blacks, etc…now that’s it’s been completed. I know the Smart Object consists of the entire stack of pictures, so it would be very difficult to go back and edit them individually at this point. Can I somehow edit the Smart Object as a whole?
Answer: Yes, you sure can edit the Smart Object you’ve been working on. Since you now have two layers in the Layers panel, you’ll need to create a new Smart Object that contains those two layers. Don’t worry, you can nest Smart Objects within Smart Objects. To do this, select both the Smart Object and the new almost empty layer that are in the Layers panel and right-click on one of them. Then, choose the Convert to Smart Object option in the menu that pops up. Once that’s done, all you should see is your new Smart Object in the Layers panel.
At this point, it’s very simple to return to Camera Raw to make any changes you’d like to the overall final image. Go to the Filter > Camera Raw menu item and click. This will bring you into Camera Raw, where you can make your edits. When you’re finished there, click the OK button to return to Photoshop. It’s that simple.