Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop CS5

The Spot Healing Brush tool in Photoshop CS5 (available from CS2 onwards) is an amazing photo retouching tool. There are 4 retouching tools available in Photoshop CS5 (Spot Healing Brush Tool, Healing Brush Tool, Patch Tool and Red Eye Tool). Essentially all the retouching tools replace areas of images with sampled pixels from the image or pattern and matches the texture, shading and light. While the Healing Brush Tool retouches images by sampling an area of the image just like the Clone Stamp Tool (pixels are sampled by holding ALT button) and Patch tool uses the same technique to replace patches.

The Spot Healing Brush Tool automatically samples from around the retouched area. Hence is very useful is getting rid of imperfections like blemishes from a facial picture. Let us see how to use the Spot Healing Tool.

1. Select the Spot Healing Brush Tool from the Toolbox.

spot_heal_icon

If the Spot Healing Brush Tool is not visible, it may be hidden under Healing Brush Tool or Patch Tool or the Red Eye Tool.

NOTE: If you need to retouch a larger area you can use the Healing brush or the Patch tool.

2. Now the Options bar gives you some options to choose from;

shb_options_bar

Brush Size – Choose a larger brush size to cover a larger area and vice versa.

Mode – are the blending modes.

Type – are the different healing techniques determines how the pixels are selected to heal the spot.

Proximity Match uses the pixels around the edge of selection and fills the patch.

Create Texture uses all the pixels in the selection to create a texture and fill the area.

Content-Aware is a new feature introduced in CS5. With content-aware Photoshop analyses the contents of the image and figures how it should look and finds out the best way to remove the unwanted area.

Sample All Layers – Select the option to let Photoshop sample data from all the visible layers and deselect if you want to sample it using only the active layer.

NOTE: You may need multiple clicks and a combination of different types of healing techniques to get a desired effect.

3. Now just click the smaller area or click and drag to repair imperfections in a larger area.

Here is our original image:

pic_pole

And here’s the image after we healed the spot of black pole.

pic_pole_rem

There are lots of other unwanted areas in this picture that I need to heal, the final picture looks like this;

final_pic

TIP: Where the area is larger you can also use the Patch Tool.

Filed Under: Adobe Photoshop

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About the Author: Minal is a freelance web and graphics designer. She specializes in designing Logos, Stationery, Graphics and Icons as well as website templates using graphical tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Expression Web. Twitter @saffronstroke

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