A Quick & Easy Trick to Clean Up Stray Pixels in Photoshop

March 18, 2016

A Quick & Easy Trick to Clean Up Stray Pixels in Photoshop


No matter how exact I am with my pen lines and how frequently I clean my scanner, I can never seem to get a completely clean scan -- there are always dust particles or stray strokes. I'm all for texture in digitization, but I like to be in control of it! If you're working with a piece where all of the lettering is connected, it can be pretty easy to just select your lettering, right click > Select Inverse and then delete the rest. But what about a bigger, more complicated piece? It's annoying and time consuming to shift and click to select every single bit of what you want to keep.

I've developed a quirky little trick that makes spotting (and erasing) those pesky stray pixels a breeze! 

Scan Your Lettering



image_blog

Start with a freshly scanned piece of lettering. Make sure you isolate your lettering by deleting all of the white areas. If your lettering piece is filled in, you can just select a large white area, right click > Select Similar, and delete (make sure your layer is not the background layer, so it will delete to transparent). If your lettering isn't filled in and you want to keep the white inside, you'll have to shift + click to select each area of white you want to erase. If you need a more in depth refresher on this, check out my Digitizing Lettering in Photoshop tutorial.

Add a Stroke



image_blog

Now that your lettering is isolated, there's still some cleaning up to do! Go to the layers panel, right click, and select Blending Options. When the Blending Options panel pops up, click Stroke on the left hand side.

My default settings happened to be 25px of black stroke. See how instantly, you can see all of the stray pixels and dust much more easily? Click ok, and get on erasing those puppies! Making all of those circles disappear feels like a game to me - it reminds me of chasing and popping bubbles as a kid.

Clean Up Stray Pixels



image_blog

I like to use this stroke effect to spot all of the bits of dust on my scan, but also to spot some areas of my lettering that has a rougher edge than I might like. If the stroke looks really jaggedy, it's because it's basically exaggerating the existing edge of your lettering below. It can be tough to erase precisely when the stroke is turned on, because you actually need to erase inside of the stroke to clean up the edge, so I just use this to note areas I need to look more closely at.

Once you've cleaned up all of the dust and particles, right click on your layer in the layers panel, and click Clear Layer Style. This will get rid of the stroke and you'll be left with clean, isolated, dust-free lettering! From here, it's easy to continue digitizing and make the type 3D! Or, you can take it into Illustrator and try out Image Trace, but that's a tutorial for another day.



image_blog

Now that you know this fun little trick, you'll never have to worry about the dust particles you can never seem to fully clean off of your scanner!




Also in Thoughts & Tutorials

Are you ready to work with a graphic designer on retainer?

February 10, 2019

When you’re building your business, it can be tough to know when you’re ready to hire contractors and employees. How do you know what to prioritize? How do you make the best use of your limited resources? If you’ve been in business for a few years, chances are your design work has been a cobbled together mixture of some DIY, some purchased graphics, and maybe if you’re a little ahead of the game, the occasional freelancer. But how do you know if you’re ready to take things to the next level? Here are a few questions to help you evaluate your business and whether you’re ready for this step.

Read More

Essential Supplies for a Travel Lettering Kit
Essential Supplies for a Travel Lettering Kit

March 10, 2016

Read More

Are You Correcting For This Optical Illusion in your Lettering?
Are You Correcting For This Optical Illusion in your Lettering?

March 04, 2016

Read More

Want to stay up to date on new products?

Sign up to get the latest on sales, new product and park releases, and more!

x