Wire Worm: A free plug in you can’t do without

If I ever wondered why I spent the time to put in the plug-in support to Sagelight, the Wire Worm — and, really, just about all of Martin Vicanek’s plug-ins — makes me realize why.

All of Martin Vicanek’s plug-ins support 16-bits per-channel.  In addition, he as updated a number of them recently, and the quality, speed, and usefulness of his plug-ins are fantastic.

Most free plug-ins are free for a reason, if you know what I mean.  But, Wire Worm (and, again, other Martin Vicanek’s plug-ins) is free and it’s one of the best plug-in’s I’ve seen even among purchased ones.

What is Wire Worm?

Wire worm is a plug-in that allows you to very quickly replace elements in your picture you don’t want.  Telephone wires, for example, are much more easily and accurately replaced than with the clone brush.  You can simply select the area, move the mouse to get sample area, and then Wire Worm takes care of the rest.

Far from being useful only for wires, Wire Worm also works for larger objects.  It works for finely-detailed objects, as well.  It adjusts itself to the surrounding environment and blends in the new area based on the brightness level of the original area.  The result is often a seamless, undetectable replacement, even in areas with a lot of detail.

An Example.

Original Image

Image after using Wire Worm Plug-in.

Wire Worm vs. Cloning

Wire worm works much better than cloning to remove objects, and is much faster.  The above image was done in just a couple minutes, where using the cloning brush it would have taken much longer, and the results wouldn’t be nearly as precise (however, see the section, “Wire Worm and Cloning” below).

Here is a closeup of the previous example:

In the example to the right, you can see it looks very seamless.  I made a couple mistakes in a rush to get this article out, but even then it looks very natural.  This was accomplished easily and in very little time with the Wire Worm Plug in, plus some cloning touch-ups afterwards.

Wire Worm and Cloning

Wire Worm works excellently to replace the details and blend in the replacement seamlessly.   But, it’s not perfect, as nothing is.  When you’re done, you can use the cloning brush to touch up areas that were a little off, or to subdue areas that have a cloned, repeated look to them.

Original Image

Image after using the Wire Worm, Undo Brush, and Cloning

The wires were removed from the above image with the Wire Worm plugin, and you can see how detailed the result in by the bricks and building structure.

When finished with the Wire Worm, I then used the Undo Brush to bring back areas that looked better in the original, and then used the cloning brush to touch up edges.

Not just for small objects

Original Image

New Image after using the Wire Worm, with the Undo Brush and Cloning touch ups. Click here for a larger version that shows how well it came out.

You’ll never get away with this by using the cloning brush!  But, using the Wire Worm makes it a fairly quick process, but also possible where it otherwise would be too complicated and messy.  After using the Wire Worm, I used the Undo Brush and Cloning brush to touch it up.  Then, I went back into the Wire Worm to address some of the smaller elements.

Notice, for example, that even though the paint stripes in the road become thinner due to perspective, they are actually seamless, though they abruptly change width on either side of the trash can.  This is because I want back into the Wire Worm and was able to define an area that aligned on the lines and replace it seamlessly with part of the road — and that’s as easy as dragging the mouse.

So, now, I’m ready to do some interesting effects, such as a public-service announcement:

“Keep New York City Clean!”

Where to get Wire Worm

Wire worm is available from Martin Vicanek at http://www.vicanek.de/plugins/wireworm.htm

You can download the plug in and put the .8BF filter wherever you wish. Just add the directory to Sagelight’s plug-in directories and it will find it and list it automatically.

Other Must-Have Plug-in’s from Martin Vicanek

All plug-ins listed support 16-bit per-channel

Perspective Transformations.

From the site:

“Sometimes you cannot choose the optimum angle to take a picture. If the object is essentially planar (e.g. a painting on a wall) or the angle is not off by much then there is hope that you can correct the perspective afterwards.

The opposite may also be of interest if you want to make a composition and place objects at different angles, e.g. pep up screenshots for a brochure.

The Perspective plugin lets you carry out both active (“Modify”) and passive (“Rectify”) transformations. You can rotate the image around three axes, then reposition and resize it. Grid lines can be displayed both before and after transformation.”

Find it here

Vignette Corrector

From the site:

Vignetting is the brighness fallof at the corners of an image. This is a rather universal phenomenon, however it is more pronounced for wide-angle lenses.

Vignetting can be very disturbing if you want to combine a set of images to a panorama (panorama stitching). You want to compensate that unwanted effect on the individual frames before stitching. On the other hand, vignetting is sometimes deliberately used as a nostalgic style element in portray photography.

Vignette Corrector offers you a number of controls to adjust the size and brightness of the vignette. In addition you can modify the tint and saturation. I found this useful for scanned negatives, where I could not compensate vignetting with  brightness modifications alone. I have also implemented a 3×3 mirror tiled view to enhance the vignette visibility. Use the tiled view for accurate vignette correction prior to panorama stitching.

Find it here

Hue Restorer

From the site:

This filter is designed to compensate the hue shift in overexposed images, a phenomenon which occurs due to color clipping in RGB space. Overexposed areas often suffer a hue shift towards yellow, cyan or magenta, whichever is closest to the original hue. For example, skin tones turn yellowish when the flash was too close to the model. This is because the red channel – the dominant color in skin tones – is clipped resulting in too much green and, to a lesser extent, blue in proportion. Likewise the sky in otherwise correctly exposed images sometimes may look greener than in reality. In this case it is the blue channel which is clipped, leaving too much green.

Hue Restorer will find overexposed areas in an image and let you choose the hue to be restored. Correctly exposed regions will not be altered. Easy-to-use presets are available for restoration of skin tone and blue sky, respectively.

Find it here

More Plug-Ins

You can find all of Martin Vicanek’s plug-ins as well as links to other great plug-in sites at http://www.vicanek.de

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5 thoughts on “Wire Worm: A free plug in you can’t do without

  1. My wife will love the wire worm to remove the rope from her climbing pics … yeh I know it’s cheating but it beats me having to do it by cloning.

    • If you could send me the picture, I’d like to try it — “it gives very poor results” may be a lot different than having experience with it, and since I’ve been playing with it, maybe I’ll have some insight.

    • Here’s an example I found on the web. I have some comments about the before/after below:

      original image

      Image after using Wire Worm

      I also used the “Hue Restorer” plug-in to move the top-right area of the sky to the color in the left.

      Is this the sort of picture you’re talking about?

      Here are some notes:

      1. For large areas (i.e. a higher radius) with a lot of definition, set the Capture Range Slightly higher. This will lead to some soft edges, but deal with those later.
      2. For large and small areas, if one movement doesn’t work out, press control-Z and try a different source. For very defined areas like this, it can take a couple times — and some overall experience using the plug in.
      3. Go back over the soft edges (created with the higher Capture Range) with a smaller radius and the capture range set to its default. This will blend in the edges back to their sharpeness.
      4. Use the Before/After views, and then the undo brush to paint back in areas you wanted to keep.
      5. Then use the Wire Worm again to adjust the remaining areas.

      It’s a simple procedure, and the overall time is much faster and more accurate than cloning — most of the time, anyway, unless you’ve got a nice wide space to deal with with very similar features, which doesn’t happen very often.

      I probably spent about 10 minutes or so on the above picture, but then I’m not able to devote a lot of time to it (and it’s not a picture I took, so I’m not so involved with it).

      Rob

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