Attached is a photo of a harmonica. I want to remove the engraved text and symbol except for the hole numbers. I want to keep all the reflection highlights. The dust specs and fingerprint can be ignored, my sensor was coated with fine dust when I shot it.
I'm looking for a cool way to go about it. I shoot and retouch reflective stuff fairly often and preserving reflection highlights is always a problem because of the gradients and striations.
I've actually finished this job doing it the hard way on a different shot with the clone and healing tools and some selective layer nudging with the darken and lighten blending modes. The work was just too picky, choosy, tedious. I didn't come up with anything in Katryn Eismann's book though I could've overlooked it.
I'm guessing there are some creative folks in this forum who have a better way... an elegant way. That's what I'm after here more than a fixed picture. I need a technique.