Retouching what you couldn't touch.
By Owen Parsons
Photoshop is open on a photo of a guy and a girl at a party.
They are posed with hands around one another, but his hand
is subtly hovering a few inches from her shoulder. Onscreen
title: "Hoverhands Tool Sneak Peek - Devin O'Neil -
Photoshop Project Manager." The title fades as Devin speaks.
Hi, I'm Devin O'Neil. I'm a Project
Manager here on the Photoshop team.
In the past, I've shown you
features like the Content Aware
Fill, Red-eye-reduction, and Darth
Maul makeup features. Today I'm
going to show you the newest
development we're working on: the
Hoverhands Tool. To start, let's
look at this photo of my friend
Lewis at a party. We see here that
his sissy balance is a little
higher than I'd like.
He zooms in on Lewis's hand.
Here's the problem: his hand is
hovering above the girl's shoulder,
almost as if he's never ever
touched a lady before. Now in the
past we might try cutting and
pasting this, we could use the
rubber stamp tool, but those are
both kind of messy.
He moves the mouse over to a new toolbar on the right.
So instead, we'll use our new
Hoverhands Toolbar. You can select
it here under tools, or hit control
shift alt H to bring up the menu.
For now we'll select the basic
corrector. Just lasso the negative
space between the hand and the
girl. Now we'll let the tool chew
through that distance and...
A beat, and the girl is suddenly wearing a big thick parka.
Just big enough to close the distance of the hoverhand.
There we go. Pretty dramatic
He clicks back to the previous photo, then back.
...and after. We also have some
other options to fix hoverhands.
Let's try another photo.
A new guy/girl photo comes up; hoverhand is more dramatic.
Since this hoverhand is more
pronounced, we're going to want to
employ a subtler fix. Not a
problem. I just have to lean a
little more on my Hoverhands Tool.
Just select our problem area here,
and bring up our camouflage menu.
He selects the hoverhand, then opens a "camouflage" drop-down
menu on the Hoverhands Toolbar.
Here we can conceal the hoverhand
entirely. Just... like... this...
He checks the camouflage box. A random dude awkwardly
appears behind the girl so that his shoulder fits into the
Much better. And there's a lot of
flexibility here. We also have a
sliders to adjust the situation
depending on how much attention you
want to draw to the hand.
His mouse grabs a slider and starts moving it. As he does,
the described situations appear to cover up the hoverhand.
We can go from subtle fixes, like
pushing away some drunk jackass, or
handing a first-aid kit to a nearby
orphan; to higher profile scenarios
like spinning a DJ table at the
club, or protecting the girl from
angry bees. Lot of options here.
Let's move on.
Another photo comes up, of a really super doofy-looking nerd
clearly posing with a booth babe at a con. He's wearing an
Adobe Systems shirt & his con badge reads "Devin."
Now, this is tricky. Here we see
the hoverhand is greatly
exaggerated by both the physical
appearance of the nerd and the
clear discomfort of the girl. Now
we finally have tools that address
these problems directly. We can use
our Napkin tool to remove the sweat
sheen from the man's forehead...
He clicks on a napkin tool & dabs away the sweat sheen.
Our Popeye tool can give him a big
He clicks on a bicep tool and warps the arm to be full of
muscles & cool sailor tattoos.
And our Slimmer can get rid of that
baby fat. Let's just let it chew
He lassos the nerd's torso and waits. The tool takes an
embarrassingly long time.
Few more moments. Lot of stuff to
remove there. And... bingo.
Nerd's torso is now svelte & muscular.
That looks great. Let's put a quick
Bond filter on that... Great.
He opens a filter drop-down menu, selects "Bond." Nerd's
shlubby polo is replaced with a Bond-esque tuxedo.
The cursor draws a lasso around the girl's hand.
We can also have the girl give the
man a hoverhand, making it look
like a cool inside joke instead of
a virginity litmus test.
He clicks her hand and drags it out so that both of them are
We can also make it look like the
girl is enjoying herself, rather
than merely tolerating this
contact. We can bring her all the
way from active disgust, to
indifference, to excitement, to
happiest day of her life.
Mouse clicks a tool submenu and adjusts a slider. She goes
from looking grossed out, to bored, to excited, to smiling &
wearing a wedding dress.
And we're good. If we want, we can
even add additional scene filters,
like Motorcycle... or Beastmaster.
He clicks another filter & both are seated on a motorcycle.
He clicks another filter & the motorcycle disappears, but
now the ex-nerd's free hand is petting a snarling tiger, and
a majestic hawk rests atop his hoverhand. He has long,
flowing Beastmaster hair.
Perfect. No one looking at this
photo would question this guy's
suaveness. Let's just send this
around and see what people think.
Mouse saves the photo as-is to his desktop & opens up a mail
client. He uploads the photo into a new message from
DevinONeil@adobe.com, subject line: "Check out pics from our
honeymoon!" & sends it out.
A moment later, emails start popping back into his inbox
saying things like "Wow, looking good, Devin!" and "She's
There we go. As you can see, we've
fixed a really difficult editing
issue with the Hoverhands Tool. Now
you can use Photoshop to live the
life you want.
Instead... instead of the life you
were cursed with.