A rule of thumb for retouching people is to only remove the features that will disappear anyway (unless your client has different requests). While people usually wear braces for a year or more, they will be removed eventually, and your client may want you to remove them in Photoshop.
You may use a Clone Stamp tool as your go-to method, but it has its flaws. In this video, Jesús Ramirez proposes two different methods that are far les destructive and give great results.
[Related reading: Here’s how to whiten teeth in Photoshop in only ten seconds]
Paint the braces away
The first method seems a bit more tedious than using the Clone Stamp, but it gives great results. Basically, you will paint over the braces using the color of the teeth.
Start by copying your layer so you work non-destructively. Select the Eyedropper tool, go to Point Sample and choose 3 by 3 Average. This will give you a better color representation when painting over the braces.
Now, select the Brush tool, hover over the teeth, and hit the Alt/Option on your keyboard. This will give you a temporary Eyedropper so you can sample the color of a tooth – and when you release the Alt/Option key, you can slowly start painting. Make sure to reduce the flow and opacity of your brush s you can build up the effect gradually.
To change the size and the hardness of your brush, hold Alt/Option and right-click with your mouse. Dragging the mouse left or right will change the brush side, and dragging it up and down will change its hardness. Make sure to resample the colors as you work on individual teeth and the space between them.
Remove braces with Smudge tool (yes, really)
The second method is something I’d never have thought of, as the last time I used the Smudge tool was when I first discovered Photoshop as a child. But judging from Jesús’s video, it gives pretty good results for removing braces.
Once again, start by creating a copy of your layer. Choose the Smudge tool and make sure that “Sample All Layers” is checked. Make your brush only slightly smaller than the tooth you’re working on, and then click and drag up or down (depending on which row of teeth you’re working on, upper or lower). Then wiggle your brush side to side just a bit to remove straight edges.
Sure, it will look creepy and hideous, but as painters would say – trust the process. Once you’re done dragging the braces, create a black layer mask: hold Alt/Option and click to add a new mask. This will hide everything you’ve done so far, and now you need to paint in the new, braces-free teeth. Select the Brush tool, set the foreground color to white, and carefully paint in the teeth. Ta-daaa!
Have you ever removed braces in photoshop? What’s your go-to method and do you use any of these?
[Remove Braces in Photoshop | Easy Pro-Level Results | Photoshop Training Channel]