3 Replies Latest reply on Jun 15, 2012 9:24 AM by Rick Gerard

    retouching challenge with clone tool

    mr ten Level 1



      I have the job to clean close-up shots of luxury watches. I have to remove dusts, scratches and fingerprints.

      So far so good. But there are some shots which are a bit complicated to handle with the clone tool.

      For exemple this shot:






      The dust between the hand of the watch and the screen is full of small bright dust. When i use the clone tool it looks great on each frame but when i play the video you can clearly see it has been "worked on".

      Is there any technique or advice you could share on this matter? That would be great because i have no clue how to make it look perfect.


      Thanks for your help

        • 1. Re: retouching challenge with clone tool
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          The shot you put up has several things going for it that make the fix difficult. The camera movement isn't linear, the problem areas are bright, and the reflections change the look of the components in every frame.


          Here's what's I'd do. I'd rotoscope a soft edged mask around the problems areas on a duplicate layer then do my best to fix just the problem areas. The tighter the roto the more success you will have fixing the problems. Then I'd do it again so that I'd have two copies with just the repair. Now I'd composite them together into a single fixed shot to eliminate as much flicker as possible. Lay the repair over the original.


          The smaller the area you can work on the better. This is going to be a time consuming job. I hope there's sufficient budget for the repairs. I know that's it's 20/20 hind sight, but this is why you put a stylist on a set when you're shooting food, jewelry, or anything else that you want to look perfect. The cost of a good stylist on set would be far less than the cost of fixing a days worth of shooting in post.

          • 2. Re: retouching challenge with clone tool
            mr ten Level 1

            Hello Rick


            Many thanks for your reply and helpful advice. I agree on stylist on the set but its not the worse thing this manufacturer did. For the little story, they spent 70'000 $ on shooting their new models on black background, then after the shooting they said they changed their mind and want a white background for half of the shots... duh. Every shot is like the one i put on youtube: non linear rotation and movement, shallow depth of field, noise and tons of black reflection. That was a "real pleasure" to roto... then they come back to me with 3mins worth of shots like this to clean up. I reframed the shot so we don't see the brand and to focus on the problem, but the shot is way bigger than that and has lots of areas like this.

            I'll try the technique you told me about but it looks like a time consumming method. There are litterally thousands of spots! They are willing to pay me for 3-4 days of work to clean 3 minutes (around 6 shots) as much as i can. What do you think of this time-frame? I am not sure i will be able to give back a perfect job so i am kind of annoyed by this situation. First im clone-stamping all the "easy" spots manually (already went over 25'000 strokes!) then i'll see how much time i have left to work on the difficult areas...

            • 3. Re: retouching challenge with clone tool
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              You'll probably get faster as you get the hang of it. Roto and cloning is always slow. Depending on the shot I usually figure from 1 to 5 minutes per frame. Simple shots can go faster and if you can motion track things go even faster. Doing this kind of thing strictly by hand I can't imagine spending less than 30 seconds per frame on average.