How to Easily Remove a Fence with Photoshop

Photo of a fence removed in Photoshop

Here’s a common problem you might encounter when trying to photograph animals at a zoo or enclosure: an ugly fence is blocking your shot. But rather than hop over the fence and put you and/or the animal at risk, you can remove it during post-processing if you know a few tricks.

In the below tutorial, software expert Anthony Morganti shows you how to easily remove a fence in front of your subject using Photoshop.  

“Do you have a beautiful image like this that is being ruined by an ugly chain-link fence,” Morganti asks while showing off the image of the bobcat you see at the top of this story. “In this video [at the bottom of this story], I’m going to show you how to get rid of that chain-link fence.”

To do this, Morganti demonstrates how to use the Quick Mask tool, which is the circle in a square icon you can find towards the bottom of the left toolbar in Photoshop. When you find the tool, double click on it and Quick Mask options will appear. Change the default Masked Areas to Selected Areas in the tool and use the Red at 50% opacity color.

Then select a Brush by hitting the B key on your keyboard. “You have to paint in black for this technique to work,” he says. “Then make sure in the brush attributes at the top that opacity and flow are at 100% and the mode is normal. That’s very important too.”

After completing that prep in Photoshop, Morganti then walks you through the step-by-step process of removing the fence in the 12-minute video below.

“What you need to do first is duplicate the background layer. Hit Command or Control J on your computer to do that. Get your Quick Mask tool, turn it on by clicking on it,” he says. “Make sure you have a brush tool; so, the brush is active, the Quick Mask is active. Adjust the brush size so it’s just a little bit thicker than the diameter of the wires of the chain-link fence. Now what you need to do is paint over all of the wires of the chain-link fence.”

While that might sound difficult and tedious, it’s really not so bad as Morganti explains and demonstrates below. Check out his technique and then try it out on images of your own that have distracting fences you want removed.

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