I’ve been using Topaz Labs plugins for several years and I love all of them. Their automagical masking program, ReMask, allows me to create an amazing new photograph or digital art if you will from one or more of my images. It is so easy, so fast and so dramatic in it’s output, you’re going to have a hard time putting it away!

My moral compass is not very stringent when it comes to cleaning up (I call it gardening.) stray twigs, blades of grass or the odd pesky fence post. However when I make wholesale changes by composting bits and pieces from different images, I usually stray away from calling it a photograph and call it, digital art. Now that we have that cleared up, let’s go do some gardening!

I should also add that In order to use ReMask you will need a program such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, PaintShop Pro or Serif PhotoPlus. You can also use the Topaz Labs stand-alone program photoFXlab as well. You need to be comfortable with how laysers and masks work. You don’t need to be a pro, just be comfortable, ReMask will do most of the work!

This whole thing started when I was looking for a particular image and I ran across some forgotten and un-edited images of Western Kingbirds. When I saw this, I was like wow, why didn’t I edit this image earlier. I mean the bird is great and that background…wowzer. However, upon further personal critiquing I decided that there was indeed a “fatal flaw”. When The image is cropped to a more pleasing form, the really cool purples and yellows in the background were no longer a part of the image.

This is the image un-cropped. I’ve added a black box to illustrate how I would have cropped the image. As you can see it really loses the artistic feel of the out of focus wildflowers in the background.

click the images for full size

Starting Image showing the planned crop of a Western Kingbird photograph by Jeff Wendorff
The part of this image that I really like is the colorful background at the bottom. Also the image would actually be better as horizontal and not a vertical, but as you can see the crop now has the bird mostly centered. That is not well placed subject and so that would not work either.


A horizontal crop didn't show the pretty background on this Western Kingbird photographed by Jeff Wendorff

A horizontal crop didn’t show the pretty background.

So now what am going to do? I need to reposition the subject in to the pretty part of the background. Topaz Labs ReMask to the rescue!

I am not going to go through the nitty gritty of every step for this part. It is just like when you were in kindergarten! Basically you outline the good part with a blue crayon, then you paint the part you don’t want with the red crayon. Use the green crayon to paint what you want to keep. It’s going to look like this.


Illustration of the mask created by ReMask 3

Illustration of the mask created by ReMask 3

You may have to do some cleanup of the mask that you created. The tutorial that is on the Topaz Labs website is much better at describing this than me. You can watch them…HERE.

I will add one tip and it’s huge…make sure you are working on at least a full size image inside Topaz Labs. Working at 1 to 1 or more will make your life much simpler and you’ll find all of the trouble spots much more quickly.

Now we have a perfect cutout duplicate of the subject. I want to re-position the bird down to the prettier part of the background. It’s on it’s own layer, so select that layer and drag to where you want.


Repositioned cutout created by Topaz Labs ReMask.

Repositioned cutout created by Topaz Labs ReMask.


Well we have some more work to do, but trust me the heavy lifting is over thanks to Topaz Labs ReMask.

Remove the extra bird – I use the AMAZING, Content Aware Fill tool to get rid of the original bird.

Extend the barb wire – duplicate the layer with the bird and then drag it to align the wire in the duplicate layer to extend the wire. In this example I left them slightly apart so you could see what I was doing.


Drag the duplicate wire down to extend the wire

Drag the duplicate wire down to extend the wire

Then crop the image create your new photograph using the power of Topaz Labs ReMask 3.


New photograph created with Topaz Labs reMask 3 by Jeff Wendorff

New photograph created with Topaz Labs reMask 3


Art of Creative Photography Workshop

If you’d like to learn more about using plugins like Topaz Labs ReMask you might want to take one of my Art of Creative Photography workshops. You can learn more about these and all of my workshops on my site Wildlife Workshops…www.wildlifeworkshops.com.

Art from Photography – Digital Art Gallery

If you would like to see more digital art including wildlife, nature, landscapes and abstracts you can see them online. All of the images are available for sale as either prints or licensed for your various publication needs. Artists feel free to ask about using my photography as reference material. My art from photography portfolio is…HERE.

Try ReMask Yourself!

You can download a trial for free on the Topaz Labs website and if you decide to buy it and you will, use the code JEFF15 at checkout for a 15% discount!

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