The Making of an Image


I had a late night or early morning request to see ifI could edit a photo .

I saw what was trying to be accomplished and wondered if I had the skills to do the edits and what tools I needed to do it with.

I thought the process was interesting enough to show how I put it together. I’m sure there are better and quicker ways to do it, but hopefully this shows you the thinking process that goes into an edit like this and that anything is possible with patience and the right tools.

Before I begin I am using Photoshop CC 2020 version 21.1.2

The Original
The image used 3 sections. 1. The model 2. Extending the wall to the left and 3. Adding a black strip on the left hand side to extend it out further. Also the image is on an 8×11 background, the reason for so much white in the first image.

First thoughts were the shades of black did not match up on the left side, the upper left hand section needed cropping. It would be nicer if the wall was the same color throughout and the seam did not show.

Originally, the Rectangle tool was used to make the extension. I could have matched the black using this tool and the Eyedropper, but I decided to match the black by using the Rectangle Marquee tool. Take the Eyedropper tool click on the black to get the correct shade of black and use the Paint Bucket tool and pour the black in. In retrospect either tool would have been ok to use.

The harder part was trying to match up the two walls so there would be a seamless wall. I tried to color match the left wall to the right but could not quite do it. I tried several techniques to no avail.

I cropped the image to the proper size, leveling all the edges.

I started to wonder if I could use the Content Aware Fill tool to take the model out and have only the wall behind her, using it for the background on the left side

After several tries with the Content Aware Fill tool I was able to get the  background for the left side.

Next I used the Transform tool and flipped the “new” background because I wanted the edge for the left side. Then I moved it over and it lined up.

I knew I could use the Gradient tool for the shading on the left side. I didn’t know how to get it circular. So I brute forced edited it 🙂 I made a separate layer and used the Gradient tool, then used the Eraser tool and made a big brush with a soft edge and erased what I needed to make a curve. You can see it’s not quite circular but acceptable. This caused some banding and I used the Brush tool to paint out the banding.

After that I started poking around the Gradient tool, because I knew it could make different gradient shapes, I found the circular gradient. The gradient can be inside going out or inverted to make it highlight the inside. This is done by clicking a box at the top. I still didn’t know how to control the size of the circle, but it was a more uniform shape.









Finally I tried a new technique I learned recently. Making a vignette using the Levels Adjustment tool. I won’t explain the process here. I will say it makes use of sliders that control brightness, contrast and tonal range, also it has feathering adjustments. I also had better control of the shape of the vignette.

I was asked if the image could be extended on the right so a full circle for the gradation could be made. I went to the Image tab and clicked Canvas size. The original image was 22in, so I arbitrarily chose 25in and told Photoshop to extend the canvas only on the right.

Then I made a copy of the left side layer, using the Transform tool to flip it thinking I could use the edge again for the right side. When I did this I realized the left side edge would not match up so I flipped it back to it’s original orientation one more time so the extension would match up with the original section. I did not care how it would look because the gradient or vignette would hide it. But I wanted to make sure it was seamless.

I didn’t see it at first, but because I was lightening the image by using a vignette, lines formed on the left and right side of the model that was pretty obvious. I made an empty layer and used the Spot Healing Brush tool to remove the lines. I don’t know if you can see the lines here.

This is what I thought would be the completed image

But looking at it I noticed there were some repeating patterns on the left side. I used the Spot Healing Brush tool to remove the patterns. 

So that is it from start to finish. This is how I learn and continue to grow using Photoshop!

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