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The Healing Brush is very much like the Clone Stamp tool and that it borrows pixels from the surrounding area to repair damaged areas. But it goes one step further and that it blends the new pixels it's borrowing into the newly healed area. Begin by duplicating your original photo by using keyboard shortcut; Ctrl on a PC or Command on a Mac plus J. Double-click on your layer name to rename it. We will name this happy, and click next to it to accept the change.
Go to the toolbar and click the Healing Brush tool; this icon that looks like a band aid. There are actually two Healing Brush tools; the Healing Brush and the Spot Healing Brush. The difference in these two tools is the simplicity of use. We will see that in a minute. We will select Healing Brush tool for right now. I want a smaller brush because I'm going to zoom-in close. So I will need to go back and adjust the diameter again. To zoom-in your screen, use Ctrl on a PC, Command on a Mac, plus the Plus key; zoom-in nice and tight so you can see all the damage up close and personal.
You want it really, really close. Now see how big the brush is relative to the screen. So go back up to your Brush Engine and change the Diameter slider, bringing that Brush down to about 7 pixels. We'll try that. Click here; don't click in your screen, if you do, you're going to get this pop up, because you have to Alt+Click on the Healing Brush. The Healing Brush like the Clone Stamp tool requires an Alt+Click or an Option+Click to select the area of pixels you want to heal with.
Choosing an area as close as you can to the area you are healing will help ensure a good match. So get as close as you can to the area you're going to heal. I am going to hold down the Alt button once to click the reference area and click in it. Change your reference point often; you want a randomness. You don't want to click in the same area all the time or it will be too repetitive and they'll be a pattern. The Spot Healing Brush tool doesn't require you to Alt or Option+Click on the surrounding area to set a source area from.
Again, we want to adjust our brush size and this time we'll do so with our Left and Right-bracket keys. Hit your Left-bracket key to lower the diameter of your brush, go up a little more, and let's keep this one at about 5. A huge advantage to the Spot Healing Brush tool is the Content-Aware setting; new in Photoshop Elements 9. This setting automatically uses pixels from the surrounding area based on the content of the area you're healing.
So make sure this Radio button is selected. With the Spot Healing Brush, you can just click to heal without selecting your reference point. This does a good job most of the time, but it won't all the time, and if you find an area that doesn't look very good, you can always go back to your Healing Brush tool to select your reference point. Content-Aware is a wonderful high powered tool that does a great job most of the time.
For the best result, keep your brush size slightly larger than the area you're healing. If the area of damage is smaller, simply lower the size of your brush. If you need it a little bigger, adjust the size accordingly. When working on a large or long area of damage, don't try to fix it all at once. Let's go over here to this area of damage that's a long line. Keep your work area small; healing just a small portion of the damage at a time.
If you try to do too much damage at once and bring this sliding down like this, it could come up blurry. Sometimes it'll work and sometimes it won't.If you do find it getting a little blurry around the edges, simply click to blend the areas better or go back to your Healing Brush tool so you can select your point of reference.
Click around the edges as well as on the damage to get a good blend. Let's just see a before and after of the areas we've just healed, so you can see how well the Content-Aware Spot Healing Brush can work for you. Often running second to the Clone Stamp tool, the healing brushes especially the new Content-Aware feature in the Spot Healing Brush will make your exacting detail spot removal work much easier, faster, and better than ever.
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