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I have purchased this stock image:

Watermarked Stock Image for Example Only

I wish to extend the pebble background substantially, to fill the image around 4x wider, keeping the same height.

So far I've tried:

  • Using PS CS5 content-aware filler, though whilst it starts out ok as you extend it a little bit, it begins to repeat the exact same background giving an extremely unnatural and badly edited look as you extend further.
  • Using the Clone tool and Spot healing after stretching and cut-pasting various bits, after an hour of fiddling it becomes uncertain whether the image is getting better or worse and using this method will take forever and a day.

There must be a combination of the thousands of tools in Photoshop or CS5 that will help me do this much faster.

Any suggestion, blogs, guides or tutorials for this are welcome and appreciated.

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Just a tip, content aware filter will be a little bit trickier because of the focus of the image. You can see the gravel lose focus in almost every direction away from the center of the image. –  Eric Jul 11 '13 at 15:14
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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If it were me, I'd find a photo of gravel that was similar to the background of that image. Then extract the turtles from the original image and place them on the other (larger) background image, recreating shadows as necessary.

Extracting the turtles and using a separate background image will provide much better results than trying to extend that limited background, especially due to the complex, subtle, variations in the gravel.

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Normally I'd use the rectangle marquee to copy the background (say from just before the turtle to the left edge), paste to a new layer in Photoshop, and then flip that layer horizontally.

I'd make the new layer semi-transparent for a minute while I lined it up the edges. The right edge of the new layer should match and overlap the left edge of the original at the very edge.

Then I'd switch transparency back to 100%.

An additional step would be to merge the layers, duplicate the merged layer, add a lens blur to the top duplicate layer. A lens blur would help the new extended background blend together.

Then add a mask to hide the turtles in the blurred layer (add a black to white gradient on the mask so that the turtles show but there's a gradual fade to the pebble background).

The shadows in the image could be a problem though.

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