Sep 18, 2014

How to Remove your ex-boyfriend in Photoshop

How to remove your ex in Photoshop

Have you ever seen a profile picture that is cropped to show just one subject, but the hands of someone else are awkwardly still there? In today’s episode we show you the Tools to remove your ex-boyfriend in Photoshop! Ah, if only it was this easy in real life…

Step One: Pen Tool

When removing an obstruction from someone’s Skin, the best way to start off is with the Pen Tool. Create a selection around the area that you need to eliminate from the image (the shoulder where the hands are, in this case). Depending on the picture, you will most likely have to create a Body part from scratch! This is not as scary as you might think. The Pen Tool can make Curves as big as you’d like, and you can always redo your Pen path. Trace around the outside of where you think the shoulder would be, and be sure to include all of the hand which you are getting rid of.

For a more detailed tutorial on the pen Tool, check out our episode from earlier this week:

Right click to make your path into a selection, and feather it out slightly. This generally makes it look more realistic because it is less harsh of a line.

Next, select the Brush Tool and hold ALT/OPT to sample a Color that will replace where the hand was. You can then paint right over the hand without your Brush going outside of the selection.

We have a problem though. Most of the hand is gone from the outside edge of the shoulder, but we need to get rid of the hand that covers up the actual Skin. To fix this, go to Select —> Inverse. Now you are able to paint inside of the shoulder rather than outside of it.

Step Two: Clone Stamp Tool

Time to cover up that creepy floating hand! Use the Clone Stamp tool to do this and make sure to sample areas that are very close to where you will be painting.

For some added realism, you can go back to the Brush Tool, sample some Color from the Background, and paint it ever so slightly over top of the edge of the Skin to give it some glow.

Step Three: Brush Tool

The clone stamp Tool is the best option and will take care of the entire problem in some cases, but in others there will not be enough information to sample from. After doing what you can with the Clone Stamp tool, the Brush Tool will come to the rescue! This might take some time and practice as you are painting in skin from scratch. Here are some tips for painting Skin:

  • Use a Soft edged brush to blend the tones
  • Zoom in and out to see the skin from multiple perspectives and evaluate the progress
  • Sample Colors from close to where you are painting
  • Be very cautious if you are doing this on a Face; this can completely change the way someone looks because Faces are so distinct


user image You
(will not be published)

  • user image

    Great tutorial, Aaron. If you haven’t already done so, could you do an episode on model releases, stock company photos, royalties, user licenses, and people photo ethics?

    • user image

      Such episode would be really nice. I am beginner photographer and I organised session with a model “Pictures for your time”. I had no model release ready to be signed at the photo session and we agreed that I send her the document at the end of a week for signature. At the end she did not signed it and I have found my pictures with my logo removed and credit to somebody else in national newspapers.

      It was a pretty big lesson for me. Sign model release immediately and never give away working copy of images. What are exact implications of such case and what are my rights to use those pictures for a self promotion without a model release.

  • user image
    Hans Richard

    Aaron, great episode. But how can I (or you) become Kimberleys next boyfriend on her photo?
    Be curios to see how you handle this!

    Thank you…

  • user image
    Barnia Scruggs

    Thanks, Aaron, too funny!! Kimberly looks much happier without Eric!! He was getting a little too handsy. It was time someone put him in his place. Great tutorial and fix for these types of photos.

  • user image
    [email protected]

    There are still parts of “Eric” floating in the air in the space between her hair !!
    This is not one of your best performances, bit sloppy dude !

  • user image

    Loved the tutorial, Aaron. Do you think you could maybe do a tutorial on how to set objects on fire in Photoshop?

  • user image
    Charlène Roussy

    Great episode as usual, thanks!! When you use the brush tool and you paint, you do not get the skin texture. What would you use to add texture to the skin? High frequency ? That’s what i’d do, but i would like to know hie YOu would proceed 🙂

  • user image
    Richard Worrall

    Wow, this is brilliant, wish I had found you a year ago. I have struggled with photoshop and the pen tool. Thank you. Very easy to watch and listen to.

  • user image

    Hi Aaron great video Thanx! I’ve seen it done in another video but they didn’t show how to do it. What they did was to take an arm from another photo and replace it on a photo in which the arm was really distracting and out of place. Possibly you could do this in one of your future episodes.
    Thanx Joey

  • user image

    Hey Aaron can you do an episode about the difference in the information saved in tif and psd? 8 bit and 16 bit? thanks !

  • user image

    Thanks Aaron! I’ve used Photoshop for years and since I’ve bought your courses, my skills have improved immensly! I never understood the pen tool and never used it, but these tutorials have shown me what I’ve been missing!

  • user image

    Hello Aaron, when I saw your tutorial for the first time, I thought you are a weirdo. And I will never forgive myself for that. You are my teacher. Your personality and warmth is radiating all over the place. And I love it!

    By the way I would like to know where could I get the same soft round brush that you always use in your tutorials? Thank you so much!

  • user image
    Chuck Staley

    Well done! Would like to suggest an episode on removing the tilt of buildings, lamp posts and such after shooting with a wide angle lens.

  • user image

    Hey… I just commented on 16th to one of your older videos ‘How to Remove Anything from a Photo in Photoshop’ and attached two ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos also…!
    And on 18th, this video is out…. 😀

  • user image

    At the beginning of the episode you were using a shortcut to go back more than once in your history. Is that something you can change in your keyboard shortcuts? Ctrl+ Z usually is undo then redo in Photoshop instead of undo multiple steps (if you keep hitting the shortcut) like in Illustrator.

  • user image

    Super tutorial, Thank you, but I want to ask. When you doing painting are you not lose the texture of the skin ?

  • user image
    harsh chelani

    hi your tutorial is owesome but yo missed out to remove him from the back of her hair

  • user image

    Hi, I’ve watched a couple of your videos and they’re really good, but nothing I try seems to work 100% and they don’t turn out as flawless. I always get an issue. I’d be so grateful if you could hep me with what’s going on because I have a few holiday photos and they’d be better without the obstructions. It’s getting pretty frustrating for myself now.

  • user image

    here is the story of Erik & Kimberly
    once upon a time
    there was Erik and Kimberly, they were sweethearts untill he cheated on her. after some time, Kimberly was chilling with her friend and suddenly Erik creaps on her while her photo was taken so she met Aaron who offers to do his photoshop magic. And then there was a tutorial so every one who’s been cheated on knows how to remove there Ex’s….. how thoughtful of you Aaron.
    no no serouisly great video!!

  • user image
    dawei li

    hi,why this vedio doesn’t have subtitle,Cuz I’m Chinese and i really need that thing.