Notes on Use of This Blog

1. I have a policy that I always reply to comments on my blog, even if it's just to say thank you.

2. Please don't submit comments that include your own web address. For obvious reasons, they will not be published.

3. I'm now on Twitter - @RichardPegler1

Friday, 16 March 2012

Image Manipulation

In my last post, I asked if anyone could give me any advice as to if I could more easily edit out the twigs from the last image in the post (just leaving the bird, the post, and the wires) if I had 'Photoshop Elements' (I use Corel Photopaint). I'd like to thank the three people (Christian Thompson, Paul Riddle, and Doug Scott) who contacted me with suggestions - all of them different!! 

To save you referring back to the previous post, here's the image in question:

Original Blog Image
Christian's suggestions, based round the 'magnetic lasso tool', layers, and the 'healing tool', came first, and looked interesting. As I have similar facilities in Corel Photopaint, I gave it a try, but fell at the first hurdle as I couldn't get the 'magnetic mask' to work properly (must give it another try sometime).

Next came Paul's suggestion which, essentially, relied on using 'cloning' techniques. By the time I'd got this I was already working with Corel's 'cloning' facilities, but finding it laborious. Paul sent me his edit of my image, and I saw that he'd simplified matters by just leaving the bird and the post, and cloning out the shadow of the barbed wire. Paul had also evened-up the lighting on the face of the bird. The result is shown below (thank you Paul):

Paul Riddle's Edit
Whilst I very much appreciated Paul's efforts and input, I felt that the image needed more in it, so I continued my own edit, and came up with the following:

My First Edit Attempt
I felt that this image was still too stark, and needed more substance. It was at about this time that Doug sent in his suggestions for a method. 

Doug's method was as follows:

 .     Using the quick selection tool I selected the owl and the top of the post.  - Saved the selection (ie the shape of the selection).  - Copied the selection to a separate layer.  - Turned off the new owl layer and returned to the background.  - Loaded the saved selection.  - Deleted the selection area using content aware fill.  - Selected the spot healing tool and “painted” out the branches and twigs.

Doug also sent me his edit on my image (thank you Doug):

Doug Scott's Edit
I'll have to wait until I get Photoshop Elements before I try Doug's method, but it did make me realise what I wanted from the image.

I'm a little uncomfortable about publishing images that have had anything more than relatively minor adjustments. If this was an art blog, that would be a different matter, but this is a nature blog, and I feel that it should largely represent the reality of the situation (and if I succeed in doing that in an artistic fashion, so much the better!).

Because I'd already done fairly extreme editing on the image, I had to start again, but this time it was a lot easier as there was so much less to remove.

My final edit of this image
OK, so technically it's not brilliant, but to me the minor tweaks represent a considerable improvement, whilst still capturing the essence of the scene.

Whilst this represents about as much manipulation as I'm ever likely to do on images on this blog, I did play around a bit with my original 'hard edit' and came up with another couple of images by superimposing the edited image on different backgrounds - just for fun you understand!!

The first image shows the same owl on the same day, about to fly behind itself!

The second image shows this owl having followed me on my holidays to Colorado in 2008!

If only this last image had been real!!!!

Once again, my thanks to you all for your input - it's been a good learning experience!


  1. My goodness, what you can do these days, all the images are very good. Clever:)

    1. Thank you Linda. When you see what a rank amateur like me can do, it makes you realise what the professionals can achieve - it's so easy to make pictures tell lies!!

  2. I think the 'serious' edits are all excellent Richard and they really do make a great shot even better.

    1. Thank you Christian. Your input to this one was very much appreciated.


I'm pleased to report that the anonymous spam problem seems to be solvable without using word verification. I'm now just using the 'Registered Users - includes OpenID' option in Blogger settings, and I'm not getting any spam - touch wood! I've also not received any contact from people saying that they are no longer able to make comments.