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Go beyond the automatic editing features in Adobe Photoshop Elements and find out how to make sophisticated edits using the program's Expert Edit mode. In this course, author, teacher, and photographer Jan Kabili explores the core features of the Expert Edit mode, from making exposure adjustments, retouching, and compositing images, to adding text. The course also takes a close look at adjusting photos with Adobe Camera Raw, included with Elements 11.
One of the easiest ways to make someone look good in a photo is to take a minute to cover up any blemishes using the Spot Healing Brush Tool in the Expert edit workspace, which is tailor-made for just that job. In the Toolbar I'll click on the Spot Healing Brush Tool, making sure in the Options bar for this tool that I do have the Spot Healing Brush and not the Healing Brush this time, their icons look very much the same. So I want that Band-Aid icon with the little dots over it. I like to do my retouching on a separate layer whenever possible for maximum editing flexibility.
So I'm going to start by making a new layer in the Layers Panel, clicking the Create New Layer button and naming the new layer by double-clicking its default name. I'll call it heal, and press Enter or Return. With that new blank layer selected, I'll go down to the Options Bar for the Spot Healing Brush Tool, and I also want to make sure that Sample All Layers is checked. If it isn't I'll add a checkmark there. I'm also going to make sure that the Content Aware button is selected in the Type menu here. This gives me the best chance of getting a good blend between the healing pixels that I'll use to be covering the blemishes on this girl's face and the rest of the photo.
Using this tool is as simple as coming into the image, and holding the tool over a blemish, and sizing the tool, so that it's just a little bit bigger than the blemish that you want to remove. In this case, I think it needs to be a bit bigger, so I'll go to the Size slider and I'll drag to the right. Then all I have to do to cover this blemish is click on top of it, and it's gone. What the Spot Healing Brush Tool does is look for good, unblemished pixels nearby, sample those, and then place them on top of the blemish, blending them in with the color texture and lighting of the surrounding skin, and it often does just this good a job.
I'll quickly continue, removing some of the other spots on her face, like this one, and I'll come up here. Now here I want to be sure that my brush tip is small, because I don't want to run into her eyebrow or I may end up covering the blemish with some dark pixels by mistake. So I'll make my Brush Tool a little bit smaller, either by going down to the Size slider in the Options Bar, or I can use the left bracket on my keyboard, that's the key just to right of the P key. And then I'll click with this brush tip and that blemish is gone too, and I see a small blemish over here, I'll remove that one as well.
Now let's take a look at the Layers Panel. The reason that I used that separate layer for healing is so that I would have more flexibility if I didn't like the results. If I turn off the background layer that contains the photo for a moment you'll see that all the little healing pixels have been laid down on the heal layer. If I turn the photo back on and turn the heal layer off by clicking its icon, you can see that on the photo those blemishes were still there, I haven't directly impacted the photo, all of my retouching is done on the heal layer. I'm going to turn that layer on one more time, so that I can show you what I would do if I didn't like these results.
One thing I could do is take the whole heal layer and drag it to the layer trash, but I'm not going to do that because I really do like the results in this case. But if I just wanted to erase some of the healing patches that I'd added, what I would do is go to the Opacity slider at the top of the Layers Panel and drag it to the left until I can just barely see the blemishes on the layer below. And then I would get the Eraser Tool in the toolbar and move into the image, and if I wanted to bring back this particular beauty mark, I would click and drag over the healing patch that I'd added on the heal layer, to erase the patch and bring the blemish back into view.
Hiding blemishes like these is quick and easy using the Spot Healing Brush Tool. But if you have a larger flaw that you'd like to hide or reduce, like the circles that you often see under a subject's eyes, then you might try the related Healing Brush Tool, which I'll show you how to use in the next movie.
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