How to remove elements from your photos without using the clone tool

NOTE: Resynthesizer no longer seems to work well in newer versions of Gimp. It has been replaced with the tools Heal Selection and Heal Transparency. I did a tutorial on those tools here.

Frequently, you will have a need to take an element out of a photo.  In the past, I have always used the clone tool, but recently, I discovered the Gimp plugin called Resynthesizer. When I first used it, my mind was totally blown!  In this tutorial, I will show you how to use it, and why you want to.

Step 1 - Download and install the Plugin

Unfortunately, Resynthesizer does not come installed with the Gimp. You will have to do this yourself. Go to the Resynthesizer website to download the plugin

Step 2 - Choose an image you wish to remove something from

Here is a picture I took of some of my friends while hiking in Alaska.  I like the picture as is, but what if I want to just focus on one friend to make a focal point?  In the past I would simply use the clone tool and try to paint the clouds in a way that looked somewhat realistic.  This is fine to do, but it is a fairly time consuming process and sometimes it is easy to spot the repetition.  This is where Resynthesize shows its amazingness!

Step 3 - Select the part of the image you wish to remove

Here I have selected the girl furthest to the right.

Go to Filters>Map>Resynthesize

You don't need to change any of the default settings.  Just press OK.

For crazy!  It is magic!  There are now realistic looking clouds where she was!  How it did this, I don't know...   magic...  magic.  The image on the ground is not perfect.  I just undid that step and reselected, trying to go down more on the feet.

This is much better.  No copy and paste.  No cloning.  Just Resynthesizing.  Amazing!

Now we will remove the image of the next girl. Just repeat.

Cool!  Still don't know how this magic happens, but it makes me happy.

Now we have the image with just one girl.  There is NO evidence that there used to be two other girls in the picture.

It is crazy how simple yet effective this plug-in is to use.

Conclusion - If you ever need to remove a large chunk of something surrounded by a fairly uniform background, Resynthesizer is the way to do it! It works perfectly if you need to remove something from the sky. 

Here are some more examples:

This is a picture of me jumping near Goblin Valley, Utah.

Gone.  You can see some traces of where I was, but you have to look pretty carefully.

Me jumping in Valdez, Alaska.

Perfect.  All the gradients are spot on!

Some friends near Whittier Alaska.

Pretty good, but not perfect.  There were some problems because I had to go to the bottom of the screen.  For something like this, you would probably have to do some fixing with the clone tool.

About McKay Christensen

After having lived in Oregon, Alaska, and China for the past 10 years doing landscape design and English teaching, I have returned to my home state of Utah and currently work for a growing tech company.

In my free time I enjoy working on my website where I post tutorials and reviews (and anything else I think is geeky) and I also like to write songs for my Super English Kid Youtube channel.

My favorite things to do include anything with my wife and son. Hiking, camping, and photography (or anything else outdoors). Playing Ultimate Frisbee or Ping Pong. Listening to 60s, 70s, or 80s, music. 

Feel free to contact me using my contact page. I would love to hear from any of you!


  1. Thanks for sharing your great find. I can hardly wait to try it our.
    From Dancing Bear
    in windy Oklahoma

  2. Thanks Dancing Bear! Please let me know how it works for you. I am interested in knowing what types of pictures work well and which ones don't.

  3. This is great! Thanks! It will save much time and effort.

  4. this did not work. it -copies- the wrong section of the picture

  5. What kind of image were you trying to do it with? Is there a link to the image? It will not work perfectly for all images, but there are different things you can do to get it to work.

  6. It worked great for me is really magic...thank you so much for this tutorial...

  7. where to put the resesenthesiser


  9. Nice tutorial i linked it here :D

  10. Really nice tut, and really nice script, but can you please explain more about the script details, and what the check boxes do and don't do. Thanks

  11. Done and done. Thanks for the suggestion. I just created this tutorial:
    Gimp Resynthesizer Explained

  12. It is copying the wrong part of the image here, too. Seems to be reproducing the pattern near the top, always. Gimp 2.6.11 on Win7.

  13. I would try turning "Make Vertical Tileable" off. I think that would fix it. Otherwise I would have to see what image you are editing to be able to help you.

  14. ok this is amazing!! but can anyone explain to me the procedure of how to install? ^^; I kinda get lost... thanks! :)

    ps. sorry my bad spelling, I'm Spanish...

  15. Apparently, resythesizer has a bug on Windows machines which causes it to reproduce texture from the top of the texture source only. See the following site for a patch / fix:

  16. Quite informative post..It was great trick and worked very well for me. It was just like a magic that I really liked. Thanks for such a informative tutorial.

  17. I just downloaded the Resynthesizer v1.0 plugin from the GIMP Plugin Registry ( and installed it with GIMP 2.6 on Ubuntu 10.04, copied some of the example pictures used in this tutorial and tried it. It doesn't work. I also tried some of my own high-resolution photos, thinking it might have something to do with the pixel count in the images posted here being too low. Still no-go. All the plugin seems to do is make pixel salad of what's within the selection area, but it doesn't remove anything. The results are absolutely ghastly, resembling a Picasso abstract. Oh well, into the bitbucket it goes!

    1. It seems that this is the case for the newer versions of Gimp. Now you have to go to Filters>Enhance>Heal Selection. Please see the top of this page for a link to a tutorial I did for Heal Selection and Heal transparency.

  18. OMG...thank you so so so very much!!!
    it's amazing, i tried it and it blows me away... perfect!!!
    thank you so much for sharing b>_<d

    1. Glad it worked for you! Your reaction seems to be the same as mine the first time I tried it.


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