In this piece, you'll learn strategic thinking for removing distractions from your background. For visual learners, a video of my workflow is attached.
Here are some key items to keep in mind....
Chipping: Gradually diminishing the anomaly’s likeness by cloning around its perimeter piece by piece. In most cases, the shapes to use will be clouds, triangles, and rectangles.
Reference Original: Comparing and contrasting the original image with its modified version, to ensure changes are necessary and seamless. Zoom out often to avoid overlooking things that can seem invisible close-up.
Evaluate your tolerance for distractions by asking: What’s worth your effort and what can be ignored?
Identify distractions and anomalies and scout for complex shapes, simple shapes, Etc.
The logic: The priority here is to map your routes before attacking. This helps you conserve energy for elements that contribute the most impact. Depending on your client expectations, independent goals, etc. your tolerance for distractions can vary.
By categorizing based on a distraction’s degree of intensity, you can choose whether to make fine-tune adjustments or light-handed cover-ups. There is no need to be meticulous over distractions that barely impact the image’s overall quality.
Plan Your Tactics
Prioritize to optimize your energy flow.
The logic: The priority here is to steer your momentum. This helps you avoid burnout from cognitive strain. When you begin with mild distractions, you satisfy the craving for instant gratification, which is a good kick-start into heavy-duty tasks. Following severe distractions, this is where you flex your muscle for conscientiousness.
This is the most demanding stage and requires the most cognitive effort, therefore, this stage can be divided into three stages to make it more manageable. After the heavy lifting, end with medium distractions which require less cognitive effort than severe, thus giving the impression of being a lot easier than it actually is.
Fidelity phases help measure your progress while dividing work into manageable portions.
1. Lo-fi Retouching (rough)
Priority in diminishing likenesses
2. Mid-fi Retouching (feather)
Priority in bandaging eye-sores
3. Hi-fi Retouching (fine-tune)
Priority in polishing environment
The logic: The priority here is to divide and conquer. This helps you allocate your resources accordingly, because there's no need to use heavy artillery on minuscule opponents. Severe distractions typically require at least 2 fidelity phases, but it’s optional to utilize all three when you’re just getting familiar with the workflow.
Once you increase your adeptness, Lo-fi and Mid-fi merge into one, so as you make rough alterations you will immediately begin to bandage what eyesores are left behind. These two phases are meant to deconstruct the distraction rather than fix the environment it’s covering, so perfectionism is unnecessary. Once the distractions are gone, this is where you can go full-fledge perfectionist.