Step 4: Reduce The Appearance Of Symmetry

While I like the magical-looking tree, I do not like the fact that everything around the tree also looks mirrored. So mess up the symmetry a bit so that only the tree appears to have been touched by magic when it was a mere seed in the woods.

■ Click the Clone Stamp tool (S) in the Tools palette.

■ In the Clone Stamp tool Options box, make sure Mode is set to Normal, Opacity to 100%, and Flow to 100%.

■ Click the Brush Preset Picker, which is the second box from the left on the Options bar to get the brush palette shown in Figure 30.5.

■ If the Brush Preset Picker does not look the same as the one in Figure 30.5, you may need to either reset the brushes or change layout. To reset the picker, click the menu button in the upper-right corner of the Brush Preset Picker palette to get a pop-menu. Choose Reset Brushes and click OK when asked: Replace current brushes with the default brushes?

■ To change the layout of the Brush Preset Picker, click the menu button and choose Small Thumbnail from the pop-up menu.

■ Click the Soft Round 65 Pixels brush to select it.

■ To help make your cloning work as easy and accurate as possible, choose View ^ Actual Pixels (Alt+Ctrl+0), and then press F, F, and Tab .You now have an uncluttered screen full of the image at 100%.

■ Press the Spacebar to get the Hand tool; then drag the image so that the largest tree and the two silos are in the middle of the screen. You are now ready to begin painting with the Clone Stamp tool.

■ First paint the white fence all the way across the gap beneath the large symmetrical tree. When you press Alt, you get a new cursor, which sets the source of the clone brush. With this cursor, click once on the bottom rung of the fence on the second fence post to the right of the two silos — this sets the clone source.

■ To begin cloning, press the left mouse button after aligning the center of the Clone Stamp tool cursor on the bottom rung at a post where you want to begin cloning. Drag the cursor to paint in the fence.

When needed, reset the clone source by pressing Alt and then paint in more fence until the entire fence looks correct.

■ The brown silo on the right really ought to go as well. Once again, find some good source branches and clone them until the silo is no longer there. I suggest that you also get rid of one of the little outbuildings that are on either side of the symmetrical tree. As you eliminate the symmetry in everything around the single large symmetrical tree, your image begins to look more realistic — that is with the exception of the single magical tree — and that is just what we want.

As you paint with the Clone Stamp tool, you may want to select a different brush size or maybe even one with a hard edge. To do so, simply click the Brush Preset Picker box and select a new brush. There is some art to cloning. Carefully consider where and how often you set your source. When painting, click often and change to an appropriate brush to get the best results and to avoid having to re-clone large areas should you clone where you don't want to clone. Using many short strokes instead of a few long ones also helps to cover your tracks as well.

■ Press Tab and F to return to normal view again. Double-click the document window to maximize it; then choose View ^ Fit on Screen (Ctrl+0).

Now is a good time to take a Snapshot should you have sufficient RAM. Alternatively, you can save your file as a temporary file with a file name, such as "farm-before-mirrored."

Before you begin changing the colors in the image, create a duplicate layer as it may be needed later. How do I know this? Well I do, because I have experimented enough to know that some really cool things can happen when you use some of the blend modes to darken images. After you complete this technique, you'll find yourself keeping a few extra layers around just in case too!

■ Choose Layer ^ Duplicate Layer to get the Duplicate Layer dialog box. Click OK to create a duplicate layer.

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