Conquering The Clone Tool Using PicMonkey

How to Edit Something Out of a Picture with Clone


Get rid of that finger in your otherwise stunning pic with the Clone tool

Have you ever looked at one of your photos and thought, “UGH.  This would be the perfect Instagram post if that hair wasn’t out of place.”?  Or, “Wow, the color combinations in this are AMAZING … if only that fence wasn’t broken … if only my thumb wasn’t in the frame … if only my sister hadn’t insisted on having her new boyfriend in all my wedding celebration when we knew they were just going to break up anyway!”?  The list goes on and on.  If any of these situations sound familiar to you, you’ll be happy to know there’s an easy way to edit something out of a picture.

PicMonkey’s Clone tool lets you “erase” parts of your photos by covering them up with details from another area in the photo.  Basically you’re stamping clean sand over the stranger sitting in the sand, or stamping the blue sky over your finger in the corner.

Check out this tutorial video to learn how to edit something out of a picture with Clone, or keep reading for the whole kit and caboodle.

How to edit something out of a picture in 4 steps

With your image open in PicMonkey:

  1. Click the Edits on the left and select Clone from the Advanced Edits group in the menu.
  2. Click the Set Source button on the top left, then click an area on your image that you’ll use to cover the object you’re removing.

  3. Now, click the object you’re removing, and watch the source pixels cover it.  Keep clicking — try using painting strokes too — until the object is removed.

  4. When you’re done, click Apply.

Select your cloning source

Select your cloning source

Let’s talk details.  In this photo the sand is our source for covering up Mr. Just Chillin’.  Click Set source to choose the area of the photo you want to use for covering up the unwanted part of your pic.

Clone is dynamic, so when you move your brush over the new area, the source moves with it like a tagalong kid sister — whatever’s inside that source circle is gonna stamp onto the area you’re cloning.  If you’re cloning something that’s a little bit complicated — multiple tree branches, for example, as opposed to solid-colored sand — you should keep re-picking your source so that you don’t veer off and start painting over a part of the image that you want to keep.

Use the Erase and Undo buttons to fix areas you didn’t mean to clone stamp

Use the Erase and Undo buttons

Oops!  The source trailed into the wrong area and you cloned the blue chair onto the guy instead of burying him in sand.  Don’t worry if you make a mistake because you can always use the eraser to remove something that you didn’t mean to clone.  Or just use the Undo arrow in the bottom toolbar to go back an action (or 20).

Here’s the finished before and after:

Before And After

Get in on the Clone Magic.

Adjust the hardness of your clone

Adjust the hardness

If it’s a soft touch you’re going for when removing something from a picture, like cloning grass (as above), a cloudy sky, or someone’s hair, you can adjust the brush Hardness slider so the cloned area is more blurry without a hard, defined edge.

Clone is perfect for real estate photos:

Perfect Photo for Selling Property

(Don’t worry, that golden retriever is probably in plenty of other pictures…)

More tips for removing something from a picture

Here are a couple of other suggestions and tips for making the most out of PicMonkey’s Clone tool.

1. Fade the cloned area for a unique finish

Double Vision

Capture this look in seconds with Pro effects.

Use the Fade slider to let part of the original image show through.  This can be a cool look if you’re going for something abstract or kind of trippy like a double exposure design.  We got this cool look by cloning the woman to the left of herself, then adjusting the Fade slider to make the cloned version look more transparent.

2. Make sure you’re cloning the correct layer

Layering Double Vision

If your project is a multi-layered work of art, be sure that you’re using the Clone tool on the correct layer.  If you accidentally start to clone the wrong layer, no worries, just click Cancel and the mistake won’t apply.  If you’re worried about doing it again, you can also lock design layers so that they can’t be edited.

3. Use the zoom control for restoring old pics

Restoring Old Pics

For serious, attention-to-detail jobs, zoom way in so you can clone the teensy area you’re after.  A good example of when this is useful is restoring old photos, such as removing stains or crease marks from someone’s face.

Read more: Photo Restoration with PicMonkey

P.S. Check out other PicMonkey tutorials.

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