SlipShots Tutorials: Particle Clean-up!

Discussion in 'GT5 Photo Mode' started by SlipZtrEm, May 12, 2011.

  1. SlipZtrEm

    SlipZtrEm Staff Emeritus

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    ss_particle_clean_header.png
    ss_particle_clean_pt1.png

    Welcome to my first GT5 Tutorial! GT5's got some amazing graphics, that most of us won't argue, but plenty of us were disappointed the first time we took a shot of a drift to see some ugly pixelization framing our car... or our first rally shoot... or maybe that first epic run around the 'Ring in the rain, or... you get the idea. For whatever reason, we're saddled with particle effects that look just a wee bit out of place. But there's a quick method in Photoshop to fix that, with minimal distortion in 95% of images you throw its way (certain angles, as you'll learn, don't take as well to it as others).

    Note: This guide was created using CS3, but as long as you are familiar with the tools available in Photoshop, it should absolutely work with other versions too.

    ss_particle_clean_pt2.png

    For the purposes of our journey, you'll be seeing a lot of this guy. Click to view full-size, and you'll see the dreaded pixelization:

    ss_part_clean_01_full.jpg
    (click for full-size)

    Kind of ruins the sense of realism, huh? Well, we're gonna use one of the most powerful tools in Photoshop to fix that; the Pen Tool. Just basic stuff, nothing too complicated, so this works just as well for beginners too once they get over the initial learning curve hump.

    So, select your pen tool, and click somewhere just before you notice the pixelization taking hold. I chose the bottom part of the rear tire, and placed my first marker there. Now what you'll want to do is pay attention to the curves of the rear edge of the vehicle; the next spot you click should be somewhere that relates to the last by a continual, unbroken curve. When you click, hold the mouse button down and drag - you'll see a curve form in relation to your intial starting point and your current mouse placement.

    The goal here is to match, as closely as possible, that original curve of your subject. It'll take some experimenting to get the hang of how this works, but once you've matched it up, let go of the mouse button.

    Next, and quite possibly the most important thing when working with the pen: hold down Alt and click on this most recent anchor again. This will stop the path's curve at the anchor, instead of the usual behaviour of it wanting to take your next placement into consideration. If you don't know what I mean, place your next anchor down without pressing Alt, and see what happens!

    Okay, so you've got your first curve, and you've Alt + clicked it to terminate. Next, just continue following the curvature; I had to deal with the small indent in the Evo's rear bumper. After each curve, make sure to continue closing them off with the Alt process. When you've progressed past all of the pixelization, simply take your path inside the car, and then back to your starting point (by creating as many anchors as you want, then clicking one final time on the first one). You'll end up with something like this:

    ss_part_clean_02.jpg =
    (Shape has been reduced to 65% opacity to show original layer)

    All good? Select your background layer now, and with it selected, Ctrl + Click on the new layer's vector mask thumbnail, as highlighted below:

    ss_part_clean_layerwindow.jpg

    ...and Photoshop will make a selection based on the exact shape. Perfect! Hide the shape, and still staying on your background layer, head to the next step...

    ss_particle_clean_pt3.png

    Contradictory terms? Nope, the Smudge tool will be your friend for this next part. You may have some pixelization inside of your selection right now, mucking up your car's body (infact, you should, if you were following the car's shape well enough). Pick a suitably-sized brush, and very carefully, start smudging in small outward strokes. This is when your angle choice can make things much harder; front-3/4 shots, with very little of the rear overhang showing, can give you a hard time distinguishing between body work and tire, and the pixelization can sometimes affect both, making outward strokes counter-productive. There are other methods for cleaning up something like that, but they will have to wait for a more advanced tutorial!

    Got the body done to your satisfaction? Inverse the selection (Shift + Ctrl + I for PC users) and now use inward strokes on the surroundings. Be mindful of smudging too far; if you head past the shape's boundaries, you will be mucking up the deep interior of the subject! When you're all finished this area, it should look roughly similar to this:

    ss_part_clean_03.jpg

    Tip: While it may be tempting to use a bigger shape to grab all the trouble spots at once, resist that urge, as it may not be the best plan of action for an easy clean up job. Which brings us too...

    ss_particle_clean_pt4.png

    So, now we've got the area under the sideskirt, and this is why I don't always use one shape for the whole car: the tire is suffering from pixelization too, so by selecting the sideskirt without the tire, you can clean the image that much better. Repeat the process with the Pen tool; trace the sideskirt and some more of the car if you feel the need, roughly like so for the Evo:

    ss_part_clean_04.jpg

    Tip: When you inverse the selection to deal with the crummy smoke, be mindful not only of smudging towards the interior of the image, but also following the grain of the road. Smudge as similar to the blur angle as you can manage without affecting the basic shapes of the shadow or smoke; it looks far cleaner.

    ss_particle_clean_pt5.png

    All done, both sides of the mask cleaned, you end up with this:

    ss_part_clean_05.jpg

    At this point, the image is cleaned, and for those entering into the 2.0 Advanced competitions each week, also fully conforms to the current rules. But, for gallery or any other uses, there's some final things you may want to do, and I'll add them here as entirely optional, quick flourishes.

    The edges now look kind of... too sharp, don't they? The smoke doesn't seem to affect them, but there's a quick fix for that too. Take the Eyedropper tool and select a spot of the car currently affected by smoke; I chose the area of the body just above the Evo IV logo, ahead of the rear wheel. Now create a new layer, and switch over to your Brush Tool, lower the opacity down to around 10%, and find a circular brush with the largest amount of fade possible. Paint around the newly-cleaned edges - much like many things in Photoshop, it'll take some experimenting to find the level you find fits best, and the technique, so experiment away! When finished adding in some light smoke, change the Layer Blend Mode to Screen - it provided the best results for my testing, at any rate. I did this, and ended up with this final product (also exported it to my gallery template for watermark purposes).

    ss_part_clean_06_full.jpg
    (click for full-size)

    Subtle, believable, but most importantly - de-pixelized! The same basic principle applies to any situation this ugliness manifests itself; drifting, dipping a wheel off into the grass, full-on rallying, and even rain. Flatten the image, and save with whatever method you're used to!
    ___________________________

    I hope this can be of help to the community, and I plan on expanding with some further tutorials in the future. If you have any questions at all, don't be afraid to post a reply and I'll try to cover it!
    ___________________________​
    Update History:

    05.12.11 - ...and so it begins.
    08.07.11 - A long overdue clarification!
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  2. Moglet

    Moglet Premium

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    Tutorial party! :cheers::cheers:

    Nice guide so far Slipz, it's interesting to see how you do cleanups like this as it's totally different to how I do mine!
     
  3. bmxmitch

    bmxmitch

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    another great Tutorial!? I <3 it :gtpflag:
     
  4. dice1998

    dice1998 Premium

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    This definitely helps me.

    Where's the thanks button when you need it? :tup:
     
  5. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

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    Thats another great Tutorial :cheers:
     
  6. FosterG

    FosterG

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    Very nice tutorial, thanks for taking the time to share it.
     
  7. SlipZtrEm

    SlipZtrEm Staff Emeritus

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    I assume you do use the pen tool as well though, right? I'm curious to see yours now :D. Sometimes with more advanced work I won't use the smudge, but a variety of other tools, but for the purposes of the guide (and for most images), smudge does all it needs to :tup:

    To everyone else: Thank you! :cheers:

    A small fix today, I seemed to have forgotten an image last night. Next plan of action is nailing down some Do-and-Don't examples for 2.0, to make things clearer to people :)
     
  8. gtuned

    gtuned

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    So that's how you do it...
    Too bad my smudge plugin doesnt keep the selection that i make with the lasso... Maybe i should make a paint.net guide...
     
  9. Moglet

    Moglet Premium

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    I use the lasso tool and Lens Blur, my technique isn't as accurate as yours but it's probably quicker. I developed it back in the GT4 days since it took so long to edit the cars! I'll give yours a go now that the car modes are better though. :tup:
     
  10. TeamVMS76

    TeamVMS76

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    Thanks for your work sir! Easy tutorial to follow and very helpful. :tup::tup:
     
  11. HagbardCeline23

    HagbardCeline23

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    Hi Slip, as you said feel free to post questions, thats what I'm going to do.....

    Was hoping you might be able to give me some pointers (currently using gimp on pc, but hope to switch to ps on mac). The main point of this post is I think related to the op somewhat, in that I would like to know about cleaning up jaggies on standards.

    I took this the other day and was planning to edit it for 2.0, however I noticed really sharp edges in the paint on the rear quarters and I'm not really sure how to best fix them, perhaps this could be a subject for a future update?

    [​IMG]


    (I'll delete this if needed)
    This might be off topic, but I also wanted to know if this kind of pic is allowed for 2.0:

    [​IMG]


    Cheers, Hag
     
  12. SlipZtrEm

    SlipZtrEm Staff Emeritus

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    Sorry for the delayed response, Hagbard. I'm working towards another update that covers jaggies like on the Veyron, though I can tell you now that it's very, very similar :). The same principles apply, just you usually have to be more careful about the surrounding areas :)

    As for the 2.0 rules question - that image could be recreated using the allowed tools, but I'm assuming it was done with a standalone filter? If the former, it's allowed, although it's worth pointing out that shots with that extreme look tend not to do well. The general voter tastes seem to lie more with realism than anything, at least for PMC and 2.0.
     
  13. HagbardCeline23

    HagbardCeline23

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    No worries Slip, been away for a while myself, looking forward to future updates here (along with getting my mac fixed +p/s and lightroom :)). That Citroen pic was a combo of gimp tools and curve editing, thanks for the heads up on the voting tendancies :tup:
     
  14. 725

    725

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    Nice tutorial Slip, I had no idea the pen tool would be so handy! Thanks :D
     
  15. Oobbergear

    Oobbergear

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    ummm, I'm pretty new at this and if anyone could please help, that would be great or a video lol.... so I did everything good up to the point where I have to "Now Ctrl + Click on this new layer's vector mask thumbnail over in the layers window" and nothing happens... am I suppose to create a duplicate layer or something or what? thank you.
     
  16. Captain Roh

    Captain Roh

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    Thats what I was wondering too..

    Why create a pen shape, and why create a vector mask? Which layer do I apply the smudge tool on, does the mask require a new layer?

    I got lost trying to do this, and I found that using the smudge tool on the actual image wasnt all that great.

    Would love a little clarification :tup:



    Oh yeah... I also only have a thumbnail for layer mask. No vector mask.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  17. SlipZtrEm

    SlipZtrEm Staff Emeritus

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    A super-late addition, sorry to Oobbergear and Captain Roh: I've added a small view of what you'll be looking at during that point in Photoshop. When you Ctrl + Click, you'll see the familiar black and white marquee going around the area. I hope this clarifies a bit what was needed, if not, let me know!

    Tutorial News: Much like those before me, I'm working on presenting an update focusing on colouring. Other possible tutorial options are creating a much better version of the Miniature filter, or gallery "panels", and maybe, just maybe, a magazine article template - though I'd have to find some suitable freeware fonts to replace the ones I use.