How to quickly remove unwanted moving objects from your photos

Dec 15, 2016

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Dec 15, 2016

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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There are places where it’s difficult to take a photo without people or cars in the frame. Sometimes, you can tell people to move so you can take a photo. But in some overcrowded locations it’s simply impossible. And not to mention that you can’t do it if it’s cars messing with your composition. Thanks to some Photoshop magic, it’s possible to remove all the unwanted moving objects from a photo in a few seconds. This easy tutorial will show you how.

There are two ways of removing objects from a photo – manual and automatic, and they both use stacking. But first, make sure to remember how to take the photos before you start editing.

First of all, remember that you need to take several photos. In the tutorial there are seven, and I assume you need even more if the crowd is bigger. Second, make sure to use a tripod and not to move it. The photos need to be perfectly aligned if you want the stacking to work and make a good photo.

Manual method

Let us start with the manual method. It’s a bit slower than the automatic one, but you can still achieve great results pretty fast. Go to File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack. Click “Browse” and choose the images you want to stack. You will get the layers from the images you chose. This is when you can add layer masks and add or remove the elements manually. This works when there are not too many objects to remove, but if there are plenty of them, you can try with the automatic method.

Automatic method

The automatic method can do wonders for removing moving objects quickly. Note that it applies to Photoshop CC and Photoshop CS6, so if you use an older version you will not have this option.

This time, you should go to File > Scripts > Statistics. Then, you will get the “Choose Stack Mode” option, and you should pick “Median”. Then, click “Browse”, choose the images, and also check “Automatically Align Source Images”. This will make sure all the photos are really aligned. After this, sit back and watch Photoshop do its magic.

You will get a single multilayered image created as smart object. When you double-click it, you can see all the files used to create the final image. This type of stacking works by choosing all the areas which are different in each of the photos and removing them. Because of this, also keep in mind that some of the objects which are only partially moving may not be properly removed, such as flags or people who are standing. So, pay attention to these too when composing and taking the shots. And remember this tutorial next time you take shots at a crowded place.

YouTube video

[How to Automatically Remove Objects from Photos in Photoshop via Phlearn]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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One response to “How to quickly remove unwanted moving objects from your photos”

  1. Kay O. Sweaver Avatar
    Kay O. Sweaver

    This was covered a year or two ago, though I don’t remember if it was here or on PetaPixel. There’s also the long exposure with an ND filter trick if you want to forego Photoshop entirely.