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Cleanly Remove Objects in Photoshop with the Brush Tool

Paint away distracting backgrounds seamlessly
Photo of Photoshop brush tool

There are a few quick tricks for removing distracting background objects in Photoshop, but the results can be hit or miss. If you want to clean up complex backgrounds for portraits more realistically, more advanced editing techniques are required.

The good news is that it’s not hard if you know your way around Photoshop’s painting tools as Aaron Nace of Phlearn shows you in the below tutorial.

“Although tools like the clone stamp and healing brush are great, sometimes they don’t work well for removing distractions from your photos,” Nace explains.

“In this tutorial you will learn how to paint with the brush tool for seamless object removal. The key here is to use a noise layer that reproduces texture and makes anything you paint look like a photo.”

To try out his “bloom effect” technique for removing objects with the brush tool, download his sample photo here and then follow his instructions below.

“Here’s our image for today, our subject looks great, but we’ve got some distracting people here in the background and we want to get rid of them,” Nace says. “They’re out of focus and this allows us to use one of my favorite tools to get rid of objects and it’s the brush tool.”

Why does Nace like the brush tool so much for deleting objects? It’s simply more effective, particularly when background objects are out of focus.

“Let’s start off with another tool; let’s try the spot healing tool, which is a very common object removal tool,” he says. “It’s just gets really confused and it doesn’t really look that good. It’s bringing some of my subject in. We’re just left with this blobby mess that just does not look natural.”

On the other hand, the brush tool will let you more precisely and seamlessly “brush away” those backgrounds so your subject in the foreground will stand out. “Because we’re looking for a softer effect, the brush tool is actually fantastic for this purpose.”

Watch below to learn the step-by-step process demonstrated in the video.

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