Edit with a Vanishing Point Filter - Advanced

The Clone Stamp stamp tool in Photoshop is a Godsent for all photographers and retouchers. Sometimes, however, the photo represents a challenge for this tool specially if the photo is from a perspective (buildings, architecture, leading lines, etc.) For that, the engineers at Adobe have introduced the Vanishing Point filter in Photoshop to remove items in a photo while maintaining perspective.

Using the Vanishing Point grids takes a little practice. The first grid is the most important and must be accurate. A blue grid shows a correct perspective plane. A red or yellow grid must be adjusted using the anchor points until the grid turns blue. However, even with a blue grid, you may need to readjust the anchor points to fit the perspective of the building or the subject after you extend the grid.

Take for example the below photo (fig.1) The window opening on the left is distracting and if we are to erase it, it is not an easy job for the Clone Stamp tool because the photo was shot from an angle representing a perspective where the wall gets narrower as we move the eye from right to left.

Fig.1. Our starting photo. The window opening on the left is distracting and we want to erase it...

To cater for that, Photoshop engineers provided a hidden gem called "Perspective .... Filter". Just follow along in the below example to demonstrate the power of this tool.

  1. Open your photo.
  2. Add a new empty layer.
  3. Go Filter - Vanishing Point. The Vanishing Point dialog box appears and the Create Plane tool is automatically selected.
  4. Click four corners of an area that shows the perspective of the photo to create a blue grid. Fig.2.
  5. Click the Edit Plane tool.
  6. Click and drag the points of the grid to extend the plane. The grid expands to fit the area.
  7. Click the Stamp tool. Hit the ] key to enlarge the brush and Option+click (Mac) / Alt+click (PC) in an area in the

    perspective plane to establish the sampling or source point.

  8. Click and drag carefully using short strokes in the area of the photo to be erased.

  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8, resampling several times to keep the look natural. After you are happy with the outcome, click OK and the edits are now applied to the top layer. Fig.3.

Important: when erasing with the Vanishing Point Stamp tool try to sample a straight line in the source area then click along the same line in the target area so that to better align the parts you will be cloning.


Extra tip! Set the Stamp toll to Heal mode to blend the strokes with the texture of the sampled image. Setting the Heal mode to Luminance blends the cloned strokes with the lighting of the surrounding pixels.


Fig.2. If a yellow or red grid appears, keep playing around with the points until the perspective is correct; represented by a blue grid...

Fig.3. Click the Stamp tool... Paint carefully using short strokes in the area of the photo to be erased. Repeat... and the edits are now applied to the top layer. 

Final photo. The left side window erased while maintaining the perspective of the camera angle...