Use Adobe Photoshop to remove and add objects.

Using Adobe Photoshop to add elements to, or remove them from, an image is a fundamental skill—but the results can be anything but basic. See how visual artist Gabriel Isak creates abstract and surreal images by adding, moving, and deleting elements in his photos.

for video poster: Five figures in black body suits walking on white sand, each casts a shadow to the right

Take a one-minute peek into Gabriel Isak’s process for removing and adding objects in Photoshop in the steps below. 

Before you start.

Use these sample images or practice with your own.    


Step 1: Add mystery with the patch tool

Isak wanted to add mystery to this photo by removing the footprints. To do this, he drew around a set of footprints with the Patch Tool—making sure Source was selected in the Options bar. He then moved that selection to an area where he could sample replacement sand and repeated this step until all footprints were gone.

Use the patch tool in Photoshop to remove footprints in sand

Step 2: Make space

To balance the composition, Isak chose the Crop tool, set it to Unconstrained in the Options bar, and dragged to extend the canvas to the right. He then used the Rectangular Marquee tool to select the newly created empty canvas.

Widen the image with Crop tool and select empty space with the Rectangular Marquee

Step 3: Fill the void

Isak chose Edit > Content-Aware Fill to fill the void, making sure the Sampling area highlighted the original image area. When you do this, check the preview to make sure the empty space will fill correctly before you click on OK.

Use content aware fill to fill empty space indicated by Rectangular Marquee selection

Step 4: Add more

Next, Isak added another figure to the composition. He opened the Photoshop document with the solitary figure and chose Select > Color Range. He selected the Add To Sample eyedropper icon, then clicked on the figure and its shadow to select them both. Using the Move tool, he added the selection on the original image, dragging the selection over the other file tab and holding it for a few seconds until that file came to the forefront. He then moved the selection into position.

Open second image file, use Select Color range to select figure and shadow, use Move tool to move figure to original document

Step 5: Join the group

Isak dragged the figure into position and used the transform tools to scale it to the perspective of the scene.

Adjust perspective with transform tools to scale the figure within the scene

Assemble your crew.

Try removing and adding objects to your images to play with balance and perspective.

Final composition with five figures in poster frame on exterior wall

Note: Project files included with this tutorial are for practice purposes only.

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Create beautiful images with Photoshop brushesContent-Aware FillPhoto effectsNeural FilterSky replacement and the many tools photographers rely on.

Explore the Photoshop family of apps.

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