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How to Remove an Object in a Photo in Affinity Photo

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Read Time: 11 min
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

You've done it! You've got the perfect shot... 

Well, almost perfect. Even the most seemingly ideal of shots can be ruined by a less than optimal garbage can, or a random pedestrian eating a hotdog right in the middle of your background. So far away, yet so in focus. Luckily for us, Affinity Photo has not only one, but a few different ways to remove any object that's standing between you and that perfect shot!

In this Affinity Photo tutorial, you will learn how to remove an unwanted object in a photograph using the Clone Brush and the Patch Tool. We will then bring both of these tools together to create a melancholy weeping ghost girl photo effect... because I am compelled to make everything at least a tiny bit creepy!

So keep reading to learn how to use the Clone brush and how to use the Patch tool!

Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You'll Need

To complete this project, we are using the following resources:

Find more resources on Envato Elements!

1. How to Use the Patch Tool in Affinity Photo

First, let's look at both the Clone and Patch tools individually, and  we will use their powers combined to remove a whole person from a beach to prepare our background for our crying ghost girl! 

Step 1

The Patch Tool may be the only tool you end up using in some cases, especially if you are working with something that has straight lines that easily match up.

Select the Patch Tool and create a selection around the object you'd like removed. Keep the selection reasonably loose—this by no means needs to be perfect!

select objectselect objectselect object

Step 2

Now move your mouse to an area near the object. Notice how whatever area you go over with your mouse, it becomes duplicated within your selection! You want to choose the area that best fits, making sure all edges, lines or textures match up the best they can—almost like a puzzle piece.

Step 3

And then click and the area will become patched! If you need to, you can fine-tune your patch by zooming in and making smaller patches, making sure everything is seamless and organic looking.

patch object patch object patch object

2. How to Use the Clone Brush Tool in Affinity Photo

However, the Clone Stamp Tool is my tool of choice for fine-tuning or working in a smaller or zoomed-in section of a photo. 

Step 1

Select the Clone Stamp Tool and adjust the stamp's brush settings found in the top toolbar. These settings will change as you go, but let's start with a  100% Opacity and 50% Hardness as the area we are stamping is sharp and in focus.

Experiment with different hardnesses to see what gets the best results as you stamp. 

Step 2

Hold Alt to sample an area you want to stamp. Similar to the Patch Tool, a copy of the area you click will be placed where you paint.  

I will typically sample the area directly below my brush; the sample will then continue to follow my brush, creating a continual stamp.

You will want to avoid things looking too repetitive, so every once in a while sample a different area and paint over any repeating patterns or details.

clone stamp clone stamp clone stamp

Step 3

Finish up the background by adding a Brightness/Contrast, Curves, and Color Balance adjustment layer. 

Brightness/Contrast Settings

  • Brightness: -47%
  • Contrast: 58%

Curves Settings

curves curves curves

Color Balance Settings

  • Red: -25%
  • Green: -15%
  • Blue: 22
adjustments  adjustments  adjustments

3. How to Create Doll Faces in Affinity Photo 

With our background all prepped, we can move on to our ghost. I decided to go for a doll-like stylistic look—which here means big eyes, lips, and head, with a small nose and hands. It's all personal preference, however!

Step 1

To give a character enlarged features, without any pixelation or blurriness, import the image onto a new canvas and then duplicate it.

Step 2

Now, we are going to shrink the original image slightly. The more you shrink, the bigger the eyes (and other features) will be. And you can always further shrink it later on!

Step 3

Use Affinity Photo's Liquify Persona to make any adjustments to the features that will be enlarged. I am just going to bring in the mouth a small amount, so it becomes more rounded. 


Step 4

Next, make a quick selection around the subject's eyes, nose, and mouth. And then copy and paste that selection onto a new layer. 

copy face copy face copy face

Step 5

Piece by piece, copy and paste the larger features over their originals, and blend out the edges using the Erase Brush Tool.

Lower the opacity of the newly copied layer to help align everything. For instance, I like matching up the pupil of the larger eye with the original eye underneath so I know the placement isn't too far apart or too close together. 

paste face features paste face features paste face features

Step 6

As I said earlier, you can shrink the original image further to increase the size of the eyes if needed. Be sure to re-align things after, however!

And once everything is blended, placed and all final adjustments have been made, you can rasterize or merge the layers.

merge layers merge layers merge layers

Step 7

To shrink the nose, go back into the Liquefy Persona and push and shape it inward. You can refine the shape of any other part of the face as well, such as rounding out the jawline.

shrink nose shrink nose shrink nose

Step 8

For the hands, create a selection around each hand, and copy and paste them separately onto new layers—similarly to what we did with the eyes.

Shrink the hands, making them as small as you want. 

Use a soft eraser brush tool to feather out the very outer edges of the hands, being mindful of blending where you can.  

shrink hands shrink hands shrink hands

Step 9

Remember the Clone and Patch Tool? It's their time to shine again! Using the same techniques as we used in the beach image, remove the leftover hands! As we are working in close zoomed-in areas, the Stamp Tool should do the trick.

hide original hands  hide original hands  hide original hands

Step 10

Finally, for the things that just can't be stamped—paint! Zoom in nice and close, and recreate the colors, lines, and textures you see. No painting skills needed!

Once you're happy, merge everything together—and if you want her to look even more doll-like, you can enlarge the head of our ghost using the same method as the eyes and lips!

paint cuffs paint cuffs paint cuffs

4. How to Quickly Extract Hair in Affinity Photo

Step 1

Save your little girl as a PNG or JPG.

Drag, drop, and size it onto the cleaned-up beach canvas.

drop image drop image drop image

Step 2

Extract the subject's body using your preferred method; mine is the Pen Tool! Whatever you choose, make sure the edges of your subject are slightly feathered. 

extract image extract image extract image

Step 3

If you have a mask on your subject, Right-click > Rasterize the mask to the layer.

Create a quick selection around the subject's hair using the Freehand Selection Tool, and then create a mask of the subject's hair.

extract hair  extract hair  extract hair

Step 4

Hover over the layer mask, and Right-click > Refine Mask. Drag the Refine Brush around the edge of the subject's hair to get a pretty decent mask of the hair and its fly-aways! For this particular image, we don't need it to be perfect. 

refine hair refine hair refine hair

Step 5

Create and clip a new layer into the subject. 

Fill in the edges of the hair with a solid pale blue color #E7EEFC to create a rim light effect.

add glow to hair add glow to hair add glow to hair

5. How to Smooth Skin in Affinity Photo

Next, let's smooth out her skin to a powder finish. I do want to note I only recommend this technique when you want entirely smooth, porcelain doll-like skin—this is not for your everyday retouching!

Step 1

Rasterize and duplicate your ghost girl, adding a layer mask to the duplicate.

Zoom in close to the skin and go to Filters > Blur > Bilateral Blur.

Play with the settings until you have a good mixture of smooth skin but sharp features and edges, and click OK.

Bilateral Blur Settings

  • Radius: 9.7
  • Tolerance: 9%
blur skin blur skin blur skin

Step 2

Fill in the blurred layer's layer mask with black, and then mask back in the blurred layer over the skin, avoiding the hair, clothes, eyes, nose, and lips. I also opted out of adding blur to the hands.

Finish up the subject by merging her and her now blurred skin together 

mask skin mask skin mask skin

6. How to Light and Color a Subject in Affinity Photo

Step 1

Create a new layer set to Overlay, clipping it into the subject. 

Add in strong highlights along the ridges of the nose and face highlights using a small soft round brush set to a very low Flow rate so that you can build up the highlights slowly. 

add highlight  add highlight  add highlight

Step 2

Create a second clipped layer set to Overlay and paint white over the eyes to brighten them.

brighten eyes brighten eyes brighten eyes

Step 3

Lower the vibrancy, decrease the contrast, and adjust the color so that it leans more towards blue, all using clipped Vibrance, Brightness/Contrast, and Color Balance adjustment layers. 

Vibrance Adjustment Settings 

  • Vibrance: -53%

Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Settings 

  • Contrast: - 8%

Color Balance Settings 

  • Red: -28%
  • Green: -15%
  • Blue: 67%
adjust skin tone adjust skin tone adjust skin tone

Step 4

Add that extra bit of doll-like creepiness by adding some soft pink to the little girl's chin, nose, and cheeks on a clipped Soft Light layer

add blush add blush add blush

Step 5

Add a strong ring of light around her pupils using a clipped layer set to Overlay.

Again, use a very small, soft, round brush with a Flow rate of 5-10%.

Duplicate the layer to create a more intense glow. 

add glowing eyes add glowing eyes add glowing eyes

Step 6

Finally, if you want to drive home the fact that she's a ghost even more, add a Layer Mask to the subject, and then, using a very large brush, mask out parts of the body and face to make her see-through! 

mask out body mask out body mask out body

7. How to Create Glowing Tears in Affinity Photo

Let's drive the melancholy mood home by adding some glowing tears! 

Step 1

Create and clip a New Layer into the subject.

The trick to painting watery/teary eyes is to keep the brush set to a very low Flow rate and to build up the light slowly, pressing hard in some areas and light in others. 

Brush Settings

  • Flow: 10%
  • Size: 1–3 px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Color: White

Tips for Painting Tears

Focus the tears in the inner eye ducts and the lower lash line, and remember tears are mostly transparent, so don't make them look too solid or milky. Think of it like this: we are just painting the light that is reflecting off the water in the eyes, nothing solid.

Look up references of tears to help you! 

paint tears paint tears paint tears

Step 2

Alternatively, you can use images of water droplets to create tears by selecting some water, preferably on a black background, pasting it on to a new layer, and then setting it to Screen. 

Duplicate the water droplets to make them more visible if needed. 

set water to screen set water to screen set water to screen

Step 3

Repeat step 2 as many times as you want to add more tears! 

I am also going to finish up the tears by giving them a faint glow using a layer set to Screen and a soft round brush—feel free to add some solid white sparkles as well!

add glow to tears add glow to tears add glow to tears

8. How to Add Depth to a Photo

Time for the finishing touches! 

Step 1

Grab some grass stock. I will be using this Tall Moor Grass as this is a 3D stock image so not only can I pick and choose different rotations and angles, but it also comes background free—no extraction needed! 

Enlarge the grass and then apply a quick Filters > Field Blur, and you're done!

add grass add grass add grass

Step 2

Finally, finish everything off with some color correction.

First, a slight S Curve to pump up the contrast.

curves curves curves
curves results curves results curves results

Step 3

Next up, the real heavy lifter, a Selective Color layer adjusting the Reds, Cyans, Blues, Magentas, Whites, and Neutrals. The aim is to bring out the reds and give everything else a wash of blue!


  • Cyan: -100%
  • Yellow: 23%
  • Black: 40%


  • Cyan: 100%
  • Magenta: 28%
  • Yellow: 31%
  • Black: 34%


  • Cyan: 43%
  • Magenta: 18%
  • Yellow: 11%
  • Black: 36%


  • Cyan: -25%
  • Magenta: 62%
  • Yellow: 50%
  • Black: 28%


  • Cyan: 54%
  • Yellow: -6%
  • Black: 30%


  • Cyan: 4%
  • Magenta: -5% 
  • Yellow: -23%
selective color results selective color results selective color results

Step 4

Then add a second Curves layer to pump up the blues in the highlights.

ad 2nd curves ad 2nd curves ad 2nd curves
curves results curves results curves results

Step 5

And finally, over the top of everything, add a pixel layer filled with a dark purple-brown color #22181D set to Lighten. This will give a very subtle but important effect.  

final layers final layers final layers

We've Done It!

And there you have it! Whether you need to remove small objects, whole people, or maybe just a hand or eyebrow or two, the Clone and Patch tools are sure to be your best friends with both retouches and photo effects! 

So as always, keep experimenting with different techniques and practicing, and don't forget to post your version below, along with any questions, comments, or critiques!

final result final result final result

Looking to learn more? Why not check out the following tutorials:

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