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Eraser Tools

The Eraser tools erase pixels.

First, some general advice.

Erase the Right Layer

Make sure you're on the right layer.

If you have many layers, and don't know which one is the one you want, select the Move tool.

Then, click on the area that you want to erase.

The correct layer will become the active layer (highlighted) in the layer stack.

Zoom In

Use the Zoom tool to enlarge the area that you're about to erase.

It Didn't Erase

You may erase something—and not see any change.

Let's say you have a Background layer and a Background copy layer.

There's an eagle sitting on a branch.

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You erase the eagle on the Background copy layer.

The Eraser tool made a hole in the Background copy layer.

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But, when you look at the photograph in the work area, you're seeing the eagle on the Background layer through the hole on the Background copy layer.

That's why you didn't see anything being erased.

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Click the eye icon of the Background layer to hide the layer.

Then, you'll see the hole in the Background copy layer.

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Three Common Uses

Use #1 - Smooth Edges

If you're making a collage, you can smooth the edges of objects being incorporated into the collage.

Let's say you have a photograph of a refrigerator door.

You're dragging in kid's art work from other photographs to place on the refrigerator door, including a drawing of a tulip.

If the tulip drawing has some extra pixels sticking out, erase them.

Use #2 - Remove a Dull Sky

You can erase a dull sky and replace it with a more appealing one.

Do the following.

1) Open two photographs, the one with the bad sky and another, with a good sky.

If you're doing this for the first time, make sure:

• Both photographs are the same size.

• The good sky is large enough to fill in the bad sky.

2) Make a Background copy in the layer stack of the good-sky photograph.

3) Move the good-sky photograph into the layer stack of the bad-sky photograph.

Go to Move Something from Photo 1 to Photo 2.

4) Move the good-sky layer below the Background copy in the layer stack of the bad-sky photograph.

5) Select the Background copy of the bad-sky photograph (highlighted).

6) Select the sky.

7) Erase the sky using the Eraser tool.

As you erase, the good-sky photograph below emerges.

Use #3 - Remove a Effect

Let's say you photographed your child or grandchild, or niece or nephew, on stage at his or her school.

You want the child to stand out from the other kids.

You blur the background copy layer.

Then, using the Eraser tool, you erase the blurred layer where the child is performing.

Now, let's look at the three Eraser tools.

1 - Eraser Tool

To use the Eraser tool, click, hold, and drag.

You can do so free hand, especially with a feathered brush.

You can also make a selection, and then erase the pixels inside the selection.

There are two settings to consider in options bar/Tool Options.

Type

In the Type section, select Brush for most situations.

Pencil is used to erase small numbers of pixels on edges.

Block is a square brush.

It's size is 16 px x 16 px.

The size is fixed.

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Opacity

If you want to fade two layers into each other, lower the opacity of the Eraser tool.

The Eraser tool will erase some but not all of the pixels.

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You May Be Disappointed

The two other eraser tools, below, promise ease of use.

However, the tools need a large difference in tone and color between the area to be kept—and the area to be erased.

It may be just as easy, or even easier, to select the area to be erased.

Then, erase it with the Eraser tool, as described above.

That said, it's fun to click and have lots of pixels disappear.

2 - Background Eraser Tool

The Background Eraser tool has a crosshair in the middle of the brush.

This is where the tool is sensing the tone and color.

Let's say the crosshairs is on an orange-colored pixel.

The tool erases that orange-pixel and any similar pixels that are inside the brush circle.

There are several settings to consider in options bar/Tool Options.

Tolerance

Tolerance defines how narrow or broad a range of tones and colors to erase.

When you set a low tolerance, only pixels that are very similar to the pixels below the crosshair are erased.

If you set a higher tolerance, pixels that are less similar  to the pixels below the crosshair are erased.

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Limits

When Contiguous is selected, the tool erases only pixels that are adjacent to each other.

If you select Discontiguous, any pixels similar to the pixels below the crosshair are erased.

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Brush Settings

Click the Brush Settings button to open the Brush Settings window.

Hardness is another term for feathered.

Spacing is not employed with commonly used brushes.

Roundness makes the brush more or less elliptical.

Size and Tolerance are used when you're working with a pen and tablet.

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3 - Magic Eraser Tool

The Magic Eraser tool is the Magic Wand tool melded with the Background Eraser tool.

You select a tolerance for the Magic Eraser tool.

Then, when you click on the image, all the tones and colors within the tolerance setting are erased.

Tolerance, Opacity, & Contiguous

As described above:

• Tolerance defines how narrow or broad a range of tones and colors to erase.

• Lowering the opacity reduces the amount of the erasure.

• When Contiguous is selected, the tool erases only pixels that are adjacent to each other.

Sample All Layers

Select this setting if you're erasing pixels that are on different layers.

Anti-alias

Select Anti-alias to smooth the jaggedness of pixels along edges.