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One of the nicest things that you can do for your family and friends is to make them look better in the photos that you take of them. There are a couple of special tools in the Elements' Toolbox that will help you with that. Those are right here in the slot with the band- aid: the Spot Healing Brush and the Healing Brush. These tools will help you eliminate blemishes, wrinkles, freckles, and other imperfections from your subjects. Let's see how they work. I'm going to start with the Spot Healing Brush tool here and before I work with it, I'm going to go over to the Layers palette and I'm going to make a new layer from the Create New Layer button. I'm going to double-click that layer name and I'll name it blemishes and I'll make sure that layer remains selected.
Then I'm going up to the Options bar for the Spot Healing tool and I'm going to check All Layers. This setup will ensure that the corrections that this tool is going to make will live on the blemishes layer rather than directly on the photo layer. That will give me the freedom later on to throw them away if I don't like them or to lower the opacity of the blemishes layer, to make the corrections look a little more natural. Now, I'm going to come into the boy's face and I'm going to find a blemish I want to remove. Let's start with this little freckle right between his eyebrows. I'm going to move my brush tip over that freckle and I want the tip to be just big enough to cover it. So, I'm going to make the brush smaller by pressing the left bracket key and then I'm going to click and when I move away, that freckle is gone. That is pretty amazing. Now, I'm going to go to another spot. How about down here where we have this scar? For this, I need to make the brush bigger. So, I'm going to click the right bracket key, make it a little bit bigger and click and it's gone. Now, if I go over to the blemishes layer and I click the eye icon to make that layer temporarily visible, you will see both those blemishes return, because what the tool has done is it has sampled good pixels that are near by the blemishes, put the sample pixels on top of the blemishes and blended it all in, so that it is seamless.
So that is the Spot Healing Brush and it does really well on tiny spots like I showed you. But the one downside of the Spot Healing Brush is that it selects the good pixels on its own; you don't get to decide where it takes the good pixels from. So, sometimes you get an error. For example, if I come in here and I try to clean up the hairs here at the edge of the eyebrow, really what this brush is going to do is copy hairs from other parts of the eyebrow and just put them down there and that, of course, doesn't look right. For this sort of problem, I like to use the Healing Brush tool that is located under the Spot Healing Brush tool over here in the Toolbox. I'll click on that tool and now I'll select Healing Brush tool, I'm going to make another layer in my Layers palette by clicking the Create New Layer button and I'll call this one, eyebrows. With the eyebrows layer selected, I'll go to the Options bar for the Healing Brush tool and I'm going to click all layers. I also like to click Aligned and I'll show you why in just a minute and now, I'm going to come into the boy's face and I'm going to click in some nice clear skin up here holding down the Alt key. When I Alt-click, that samples good pixels and now with the healing brush, I'll click on top of the area that I want to clean up.
As I do that, the brush is taking good pixels from the cross and placing them inside the circle. And because I have Aligned checked, the cross that indicates where the good pixels are, is moving with me as I move my mouse. So even if I go up here to get rid of this scar, the cross comes with me. So, if you like to take pictures of people, experiment with the Spot Healing Brush and the Healing Brush; it will make all of your portraits look a lot better.
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