Groom Away the "Ickies" in Your Dog Photos

Even the most well-cared-for dogs end up with some stinky yuckiness every now and then. They don’t exactly have hands to wipe away their morning eye crusties, brush their own fur, or swipe away the drool hanging from their chin. Obviously, removing any imperfections before you even take a photo is a good idea, but don’t pause every two seconds to nitpick your pooch’s face — that’s what Photoshop’s for!

Whether you need to get rid of a yucky eye goober, cover up a rogue white hair on your black dog’s face, or even dust away some dandruff, the following technique transforms those small imperfections, taking your dog from dingy to debonair in no time flat!

1

With your image open in Photoshop, zoom in on the dog’s eye region using the Navigator palette.

If your Navigator palette isn’t already visible, choose it from the Window menu in the Photoshop toolbar that runs across the top of your program’s window. When your Navigator palette is open, look just below the “mini image” of your photo.

You’ll see a percentage next to a slider, which is your Zoom tool. Move it to the right to zoom in. If you need to adjust where the tool zooms, hover your mouse inside the red frame that appears in your mini image. Then you can drag the frame to the position you need.

2

If you’re using Photoshop CS5 or later, choose the Spot Healing Brush from the Tools palette by right-clicking the Patch tool and then choosing the Spot Healing Brush tool.

If you’re using an older version of Photoshop, choose the Patch tool instead, because the Spot Healing Brush tool in older versions isn’t as “smart,” and you’ll probably have better luck with the Patch tool. If you use the Patch tool instead of the Spot Healing Brush tool, skip to Step 5. Again, if the Tools palette isn’t already visible, choose it from the Window menu in the Photoshop toolbar.

3

If you choose to use the Spot Healing Brush, you have to adjust the size of your brush.

After you select the Spot Healing Brush, the Brush Picker drop-down menu appears in the options bar on the upper left-hand side of the screen. Click it to open the Diameter window. Drag the Diameter slider to adjust your brush’s size.

Choose a diameter that’s slightly larger than the goober you want to remove. As you adjust the slider, you can go back and hover your mouse over the goober to see how the brush’s diameter changes so you know when it’s big enough.

4

Position the brush over the goober and click.

If you can cover the entire goober with your brush (top), use one click to remove the imperfection. If not, click and drag over the area (bottom) and then release. If the Spot Healing Brush was your tool of choice, congratulations — you’re done!

If you’re using Photoshop CS4 or earlier and you’ve settled on the Patch tool instead of the Spot Healing Brush tool, make sure you select the Source radio button in the Option bar.

5

Outline the goober with your Patch tool by clicking and dragging around the goober until you circle it.

When you release the mouse button, you see the area you’ve selected. For better results, don’t try to outline the goober precisely; instead, leave a small buffer so the outline actually runs through non-goobered area the whole way.

6

Now you can click within your selected area and drag it to the area you wish to sample to replace the goober.

As you drag, you see the original area change according to the sampled area you’re hovering over. You need to move your selection around until you find a sampled area that appears to be a good match for the goobered area (top).

When you find an area that blends nicely, release the mouse button and relish in the perfection (bottom). When you find the perfect sampled area, simply release your mouse button and let Photoshop do its job. Your final results appear as if you did no touch-ups at all.

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