Photo Basics part 2. Selection, Cloning and Layering

By Brenda Essig aka Zanymuse (Zanymuse) on October 18, 2010

From touching up a picture by removing a pimple or scar to removing an eyesore and adding an object to create an illusion... There is little that can't be done with a digital image. This really comes in handy when you want to achieve a special image for a banner or having some fun with digital scrap booking. "A picture is worth a thousand words" But just like words, images can deviate from the truth and fool you with trickery.

I use Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home Edition 3.0 for a lot of my photo editing needs. It came free with my very first digital camera and is a very simple little program by today's standards.It will save pictures as jpg, png or gif formats. I will eventually have to stop using it because there are no updated drivers available and it is becoming unstable with all the system changes over the years. 

I also use the free Serif Scrapbooking program a lot for adding elements and embelishments to my work.

I have  been playing with GIMP a bit but have not learned how to do much with that yet. I have Photoshop CS4 as well but have spent very little time trying to use it because once I am comfortable with GIMP I plan to convert this last computer over to UBUNTU and bid Microsoft farewell.

For this article I will use my old standby Adobe and dress things up with the free scrap booking program. From what I can tell so far, GIMP, photoshop or most of the other editing programs out there will do these things all in one program but  will require me to learn a different set of terms and ways of achieving the same results.

The most commonly used tools for me are Cloning, object selection and transparancy layers.


The Clone tool: This tool allows you to take pixles from one area of an image and paste them in another area.

before and after touch up

In this example I used pixles from the forehead area to fix the cheek. I could continue to enhance the photo and remove the double chin and make myself look younger and prettier...but why bother with a picture that is 28 years old now!

The clone tool is also great for use when seaming two pictures together or creating a blurred background.2010-10-17/Zanymuse/a9cfd7


Let's start with a simple banner, sized for use in a forum. I will start out with this wonderful image of a chickadee which was contributed to the Playpen of Graphics database by threegardeners.

I first create a blank banner 8" wide by 2.5 inches in height and layer the picture onto it.

example 1

Using the clone tool I fill in the white area with color from the photographs background. It looks a bit funky at this point but it works with the area of the original on the right side.

example 2

Now I will  save the image and re-open it in the scrap booking software. I select several transparent png images from my files. Some of these are provided by the scrapbooking program. I chose a leafless tree branch, a single fern frond and a two leaf image of a golden leaf. Layering them on top of the image I can move them around, rotate them and alter the transparency level. When I am happy with my composition I then export it as a jpeg file and save it to my file folder.


example 3
At this point I can add text to the image...

bird banner with text


By selecting only the part of an image I wish to use I can  paste that selection onto any background. If I delete the surrounding portion of the image I can then save it as a transparent gif or a png file. I usually save the transparent background images into a seperate file on my hard drive so I can reuse them on different projects later. I hope to eventually be able to offer some of these for your use in the free image database. In my next article I will explain how to create them using GIMP.

About Brenda Essig aka Zanymuse
Interests: Love, Life, Laughter These are the important things in the human experience.

I love learning and sharing. I enjoy life and laughter makes life enjoyable.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Untitled nap Oct 26, 2010 8:46 AM 7
Fascinating! TwinLakesChef Oct 25, 2010 2:57 PM 6

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