PFB: The Odd Bunch, Healing, Cloning, and History

Hello and thank you for joining me again on this tutorial.

Today: The Healing Tools, Cloning Tools, and History Tools.



This odd mix of tools can come in quite handy when retouching photos or doing other kinds of fixes to your Photoshop documents. They can be used in conjunction with each other or separately depending on the outcome you wish to achieve. So let’s dive right into the first tool set, the healing tools.

Healing Tools

The healing tools are used mostly for retouching or removal of unwanted aspects of a photo. They can be a little tricky to use at first and require a bit of practice and patience. As you can see below they can be used to almost completely eliminate parts of an image. HealingExample

The above was just a quick example of the use of the tool sets we will be learning about today, it is by no means a perfect example but you get the just of it. They can do some pretty cool stuff.

HealingToolsBack to the healing tools. They can be found in the tools panel or under Window>Tools, if you don’t have it active. The hotkey for this brush set is ‘J’ as you can see on the left, as with any other hotkey in Photoshop pressing it will only call the last one you physically selected. There are 4 tools in this category which I will now break down for you including a before and after example of each one.

Spot Healing Brush: Every adolescent’s best friend, this is the blemish remover we wished existed outside of the computer world. This brush is commonly used for blending small marks into the background. It does this in one of three ways: Proximity Match, Create Texture, and Content-Aware. This can be set as per the menu bar for this tool as seen here. HealingSpotHealWe see some other tabs that we have come across with many other tools including; the Brush Setting, Mode, and Pen Pressure Button. You may also select the Type, this refers to the way in which the brush reacts to surrounding pixels when used. They are each fairly similar in their effect.

  • Proximity Match: uses pixels around the area you wish to change and re-organizes them into the spot that you are trying to cover. This in essence is like sampling all the surrounding colors individually and compiling them over the spot to make it disappear.
  • Create Texture: uses the surrounding pixels to make a textured brush that should hopefully match the area. This works fairly well on uniformly colored objects as there is not a large amount of other color variations to create a texture with. It can work well on skin as well for the opposite reason, skin has so many variations that it can help it look more natural.
  • Content-Aware: uses the information held in the surrounding pixels to fill in the spot. This one can by far be your best friend or worst enemy. For skin this one works wonders due to the variations in color but I wouldn’t suggest this one for anything that has sharp lines as it can blur or just plain mess them up.

Below is an example for each of the three ways in which the Spot Healing brush works. Yes that is me in my more adolescent years when my skin was not the clearest, move past it people, I have. I also used the tool on some of my beauty marks to show that a fairly big difference in color can be erased with this tool.HealingSpotHealEx

Healing Brush Tool: This tool uses a literal piece of the document to cover another. It almost works as a copy, paste tool. There are again a couple of options for the way in which this brush works. You can choose to use a pattern which can have an interesting effect depending on the pattern you choose, or you can set a source from the image. Setting a source can be done by holding the ALT key and clicking somewhere within your image. Then when you draw over the area you wish to cover you will see another small cursor appear where you set your source. Basically what you are doing is painting over the area with another area of the picture. This has its advantages and disadvantages; it works well for areas of general color but will also copy any color variation or image the secondary cursor goes over. Below is an extreme example of what I mean.

HealingHealExSay you set your source in the wrong spot and began drawing over the image. You end up with this freaky extra eye that you did not intend to be there. This can be one of the major problems with this tool, you can always reset the source by holding ALT and clicking somewhere else but you need to be watching the secondary cursor just as much as you are watching your spot you are trying to get rid of. If you draw too far you may end up with a freaky eye!

Patch Tool: This tool works similar to the Healing Tool but with this one you set your source by selecting an area to copy over. You can choose to either have what is selected be the source that you are moving to cover something else, or that when you move the selection whatever you land on fills it to cover what you want. It might be easier if I just show you.

PatchEx Image thanks to Mike Hofmaier and found here.

Red Eye Tool: Pretty self-explanatory the use of this tool, it is to get rid of the red-eye effect that using a flash can produce in pictures. The tool itself is very easy as well, simply click and drag the little box over the area where the eye is, don’t be afraid of going a little bigger than the eye, and the tool will do the rest for you. Image found here.



Cloning Tools

The cloning tools have some interesting properties but at their most basic they can allow you to paint in either a pattern or picture that you have set as the source. You can select different brushes just like with the brush tool but when you paint with the clone or pattern brush you actually paint with your source instead of a color. This tool’s hotkey is ‘S’ and like with the healing brushes this tool can be found in the tools panel.

Clone Stamp Tool: Once a source is set for this tool again using the ALT key, wherever you next click will be the start of the cloned stamp. As with the Healing Brush tool, the Clone Stamp Tool begins drawing from the source point and will have a secondary cursor that follows along with you as you draw.CloneStampEx As you can see in this example I set the source as the feather on the right, then proceeded to draw the one on the left. No, I did not just stamp another one and erase some of it, I drew in using the Clone Stamp Tool, cool eh?

ClonePatternExClone Pattern Tool: This tool will use your .PAT files or your pattern files as its source image. You can load the pre-made Photoshop patterns, your own patterns or download some from the good old interweb. Whichever you choose will be available to use with this tool. In the example to the right I used two patterns that I made to draw a smiley face. I compare this tool to the use of a layer mask. It’s almost as if you have the pattern layer down on top of your image and are only showing a small part of it through the mask. The image below stays static but as you draw more of it is revealed.


History Tools

The two brushes that are found here are still a little confusing to me but they are really quite fascinating in the effects they have. One is used to create an almost paint like effect that when used over the whole picture can look like a classical painting, or a more abstract one. The other almost works like a selective undo button that can not erase but restore a picture to its former state. I’ll show you what I mean.

Art History Brush: This brush uses a special effect that can turn an ordinary picture into a painting. It does this with the use of different styles of brush stroke. You can set the size of you brush and the art history brush will affect the pixels to make an abstract image. The menu look like this.ArtHistTool As you can see in the style menu there are a few options. Choosing one of these will affect the overall look of the picture when you are done. The image below was done with two different brush sizes a 3 px for the flower and a 24 px for the background. The Style and Area were kept the same for both; Tight Medium and 10 px.ArtHistEx

History Brush: Now say you really like a certain part of the above flower painting. You like the flower itself but not the background, but it took you too many times clicking to make the background to just use the step backward function. ( CTRL+ALT+Z ) This is where the History Brush comes in. This brush will allow you to return any part of the image back to its original state.HistEx


I hope this tutorial helped you out with these odd but fun tools.

Thank you again for joining me.


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