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How to Remove Anything from a Photo in Photoshop

Three ways to erase distracting elements from a scene
Photo of Photoshop object removal

It’s one of the most common questions for those just learning Photoshop. How do you cleanly remove something distracting in the background or the foreground of an image?

Fortunately, Photoshop has gotten easier to use over the years, letting you, for example, “erase” a car in the background or ugly telephone wires above someone’s head without too much trouble. How is it done? Jesus Ramirez of the Photoshop Training Channel (PTC) shares three ways to remove anything from a photo in Photoshop in the below video.

“We will use three techniques that will allow you to remove distracting objects from your photos,” Ramirez says in the clip at the bottom of this post. “The first two techniques in this tutorial will allow you to remove small things from your photos. While the third technique will be more advanced and will allow you to remove anything from a photo using Photoshop.”

The easiest way to remove a person or an object in Photoshop is with the Content-Aware Fill tool, which Ramirez has explained in-depth in a previous tutorial featured on Digital Photo. In the below video, he shows you how to use Content-Aware fill to remove a “photo bomber” from an image, i.e., someone who wasn’t supposed to be in the original image but snuck into the shot.

In this case, his sample photo shows a couple walking on the beach with a third person, a stranger, included on the edge of the shot. With Content-Aware Fill, it’s very easy to select the photo bomber and zap them so they disappear. The beauty of the tool is that it uses AI to maintain the integrity of the scene, so it doesn’t appear there’s a hole in the image.


The second object removal technique Ramirez demonstrates is the Patch Tool. For his sample image, he uses a canal scene from Venice, Italy that has a distracting group of people in the center. In this case, the Patch Tool is more effective than Content-Aware Fill because it allows him to sample a similar background so that when the people are removed, the background looks consistent and realistic.

Finally, he demonstrates a more advanced technique in which he removes a truck from a background. In this case, he uses the Quick Selection tool to separate his subject, a model, from the background, which contains the truck. This technique requires a few more steps than the previous methods but it handles the more complex removal scenario like a champ. Watch it all demonstrated below.


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