Thursday, May 15, 2014

Photoshop Tips: Spot Healing Brush

Editing Tips

I have become so accustomed to using the clone stamp that I overlook the spot healing brush way too often.  So I thought I’d provide a little plug for the spot healing brush today in case some folks have overlooked it as well. 

The spot healing brush works much like the clone stamp, but there are a few key differences.  First, it is much quicker and easier to use.  With the clone stamp, you have to first select the area that you want to clone from, but the spot healing brush makes that decision for you based on the surrounding area.  (You can change how the tool decides this by adjusting some of the settings if you want).  Another way that the spot healing brush is easier to use is that you don’t have to worry about setting opacity like you do with the clone stamp.  Finally, a difference worth mentioning is that whereas you can clone stamp large areas of a photo, the spot healing brush is meant more for small spots (hence the name).

Below is a shot of the Photoshop Elements screen.  The spot healing brush is along the left hand side, circled in red (just above the clone stamp too).  Also circled in red (at the bottom) are other important factors to help you…the size of your brush and different settings by which the tool matches the surrounding area. 


Because the spot healing brush is meant for small spots, I find it most useful when I’m working with people, particularly editing faces.  Below is a before/after example of using the spot healing brush to minimize some acne. 


The above example is a great time when the spot healing tool comes in so much handier than the clone stamp.  I think I did start out trying to use the clone stamp in this picture but still ended up with spots due to differences in skin color/shading of where I was pulling from.  With the spot healing tool, I just clicked on each individual acne spot and didn’t have to worry about opacity, color, texture, etc. 

The spot healing brush is an amazing tool for skin blemishes and other small spots that you want fixed.   The tool is also so simple to use.  I encourage you to keep it in mind the next time you have an editing job like the one above instead of going for the clone stamp.

Next week we’ll discuss some other useful editing tricks in Photoshop Elements that might make your life a little easier.

Do you have any success or horror stories?  Feel free to post your comments and questions to this post and I’ll be happy to discuss them.  Happy shooting!


Bryan Rasmussen owns Chiseled Light Photography and is also a freelance photographer for a local newspaper.  Follow him at www.facebook.com/ChiseledLight.  He is also on Instagram, Flickr, and Fine Art America.

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