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Using the Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool to Alter Landscape Photos

Using the Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool to Alter Landscape River Rock

This short tutorial demonstrates how the Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool can be used in conjunction with other techniques to help create quick landscape mockups by altering photographs. Landscape designs can help you better illustrate and sell your landscaping ideas to customers by showing how their yard will look after the job is complete. Assuming you already have Photoshop, all you need are photos of the customer's existing yard or landscape area to make this happen.

About the Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool & Setting Up the Landscape River Rock


The Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool is built-into Photoshop and is used to copy (clone) portions of a photo and place these cloned portions on other areas of a photo. In the example here I am cloning portions of clean river rock (a variety of rock called River Jacks) to hide the recently poured (unwashed) brown River Jacks. This will give the base of the landscape area a more uniform look. Once I have this uniform base of River Jacks in place, I can then add potted plants and other "dryscape" elements to show the customer.


Below is the original photo of the customer's river rocks they sent me. As you can see there are contrasting brown and gray river rocks. I want to make all of the rocks appear uniform (no brown):

River Jacks / river rock that is brown and gray and not uniform

Where the Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool is Located


The Clone Stamp Tool is located in the Tools portion of the work area. If your Tools are not visible choose Window > Tools from the top menu. Select the Clone Stamp Tool.

Clone Stamp Tool is located in the Tools

Once you have it selected you will see option on the top menu allowing you to choose a brush size. This represents the size of the area you will be cloning. For example purposes I have selected a round brush at 50 pixels.

choose a brush size

The Steps for Cloning an Area of a Photo Using the Clone Stamp Tool


Steps for Cloning an Area of a Photo Using the Clone Stamp Tool

a) Select the Clone Stamp Tool and place your cursor over the photograph in the area of rocks you want to clone (this is the "good area" of the photo you want to copy). Press and hold-down the Alt key on your keyboard to show the clone stamp target cursor clone stamp target cursor. The target cursor will not copy anything until you left click your mouse.

b) With your clone stamp target cursor clone stamp target cursor active on the area you want to clone, left click your mouse to capture the portion of rocks in the photo.

c) Release the Alt key to reveal the round stamp region that will replace the target cursor. Move your cursor to the brown rocks you want to hide and left click your mouse to apply.

Tips On Choosing the Best Areas to Clone Rocks


Size and scale are important factors to consider for making authentic-looking alterations to photos when cloning regions. You should plan to clone areas that are within the same approximate size and scale as the areas you are hiding. Here I cloned areas from zone 1 (larger river rocks) to alter the bottom of the photo, and used zone 2 for the smaller rocks at the top of the photo.

Choosing the Best Areas to Clone Rocks

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the new altered photo and the original. If you look closely you will see that the altered photo also has more gray looking river rocks. This is because as a final step I used the Polygonal Lasso Tool to select all the rocks and then desaturated the area to give it a bit more of a clean look. I then dropped-in a whiskey barrel with flowers that I separated from another photograph.

This is an expedient example that took literally 10 minutes to produce. Given more time, the repeating patterns could be completely eliminated making the photo look even more authentic.

The final altered landscape photo with all rocks gray and uniform The original photo with brown rocks before it was altered with the clone stamp tool

Related Photoshop Tutorials:

How to Apply Photoshop Gaussian Blur to Photo Backgrounds | Removing a Zoo Photo's Background and Replacing it to Hide People | Photoshop CC Spin Blur Effect | Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool to Alter Landscape Photos | Cutout Image with Clipping Path and Mask