Edwin Jones Photography | Adding Extra Space to an Edge in Photoshop

Adding Extra Space to an Edge in Photoshop

April 02, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Transform Canada Water Train Wait  FinalTransform Canada Water Train Wait FinalCanada Water Train Wait


This shot was taken on my latest day trip to London which included some London underground shots. This one was the Jubilee Line at Canada Water. I have previously passed through this station without stopping so it was a good one to explore. This underground  line is always good for a modern shiny look.

The picture was taken with a Sony A700 with a Sigma 10-20 wide angle lens at 20mm. 3 raw images 2EV spacing. Opened in Photoshop first and each image noise reduced with Noiseware Pro and saved as tiffs.  The image was taken at 1/4 second handheld for the longest of the 3 exposures for the train movement.

One particular problem with the picture was that there was not enough space on the right of the passenger and the newspaper disappears off the edge. I tend towards perfectionism and I know from experience a camera club judge would quickly pick up on the fault at the edge. Rather than ditch an unrepeatable picture I used an interesting processing technique to repeat pixels on the edge and solve the problem.

First take a look below at the original image after the initial processing. It is important in composition to avoid a subject being too close to the edge and especially having anything disappearing over the edge of the picture. In this picture one corner of the newspaper goes over the edge.

Transform Canada Water Train Wait  Before TransformTransform Canada Water Train Wait Before TransformCanada Water Train Wait

The technique involves adding a little canvas space on the edge and then using the free transform tool to stretch pixels into the extra space. The sorts of pictures where this can be successfully used are those with little detail on the edge or an area of repeating patterns. The out of focus background in a flower picture would work well. It is simpler to do if you have some space round the subject but need a little more. When, as in this case, something disappears off the edge it can still be done though with a little more work.

First be sure to save the original picture after all other processing as a Photoshop file with a different file name, it will be needed later.

Go to Image – Canvas Size. In this case we want extra space just to the right of the original. In the window you will see to start with arrows all round, click on the arrow to the left which will then come up showing extra squares on the right as shown on the screenshot below.

Transform1Canvas1Transform1Canvas1Canada Water Train Wait

Choose the extra space, I went for a small proportion of the original of 1cm. Click OK and you get the extra as shown below. Background colour does not matter.

Transform2Canvas2Transform2Canvas2Canada Water Train Wait

Next step use the rectangular marquee tool to select the edge of the original picture. About the same width as the extra space works well. See below.

Transform3SelectionTransform3SelectionCanada Water Train Wait

Then go to Edit – Free Transform or hold Ctrl and T while clicking inside the selection. Then click on the small square which appears on the centre right of the selection and drag to the right. The effect is to drag out the pixels in the selection to fill our the extra canvas space with the result as shown below.

Transform4TransformTransform4TransformCanada Water Train Wait

OK, we now have extra space to the right of the seated man. However the newspaper has also spread out and still disappears off the edge. This is where the original file you saved at the start comes in, you did save that didn’t you?.

Open that up. Use the rectangular marquee tool to select the right edge. Copy the selection and paste into our new image. Use the move tool to move the pasted selection to line it up roughly in the space it would have been in before the extension. To avoid messing up the rest of the picture cover it with a black layer mask. Hold alt while clicking the white circle for a layer mask. Now using a white brush bring the selection back in just over the paper.

Now we have a new edge for the paper and using the clone tool with the floor as a source remove the stretched part of the paper clearing this from the edge. The result is a much better picture and you can feel amazingly clever. The final image is shown below.

Transform Canada Water Train Wait  FinalTransform Canada Water Train Wait FinalCanada Water Train Wait

For licences and prints see Canada Water Train Wait

Edwin Jones


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