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The Spot Removal tool in Lightroom 5 can be used to hide two kinds of content, circular spots and non circular elements in the photo. In this movie I'll show you how to use the Spot Removal tool to hide spots caused by dust on your lens or in your cameras sensor. Which is does by applying circular patches. And after that, we'll look at how you can use the same tool to add non-circular content in a photo, by just brushing it away. So, let's hide some dust spots. I'm going to select the Spot Removal tool, which is in the toolbar, just under the Histogram in the Develop module.
The shortcut for this tool is Q. And that opens this panel with a couple of options for this tool. There are also some options down here, in the toolbar underneath the preview area. If your toolbar isn't showing, then press T on your keyboard. Now, if you look closely at this photo, you'll see a couple of spots here and here. Let me zoom in a little so you can see those better. These spots were caused by dust on this camera's sensor. An so all of the photos that were taken that day, have the same dust spots. But depending on the content of the photos, those spots aren't always easy to see.
Here, you can clearly see this darker spot, but there's also a really light spot down here. So, to help you visualize spots in an image, in Lightroom 5 there is a Visualize Spots option in the toolbar. I'm going to check visualize spots in the toolbar and now we get this contrast mask on top of the image that shows up those dust spots over here and over here as white dots. If you're not seeing those dust spots then you can drag the Threshold slider just to right of the visualized spots check box. So, if that sliders over to the left you may not see those spots, but as you drag it to the right, they come into view pretty clearly. And you could use the Spot Removal tool here in this Mask view to remove those spots.
But I'm going to uncheck Visualize Spots to go back to the Regular view, so I can show you more about how the spot removal tool works. I'm going to leave all of the options at the defaults here in the panel for this tool, and move my cursor into the image. What I want to do is make this circle, that represents the Spot Healing Brush tool tip, just a little bit bigger than the spot that I want to cover or hide. To do that I'd like to use the left and right bracket keys on my keyboard. Because then I can do it when I'm right on top of that spot. So, I'll press the left bracket key a couple of times. That's the key right next to the P key on my keyboard. And each time I do that makes the brush tip circle smaller. And when it's just a little bit bigger than that circle, I'm going to click once.
Now I have two white circles in my photo. The one down here is the source circle. And what Lightroom is doing is taking pixels from inside this source circle and patching over that dust spot up here under the second circle. And when it does the patching, it blends the patch in nicely with the surrounding area. Now, sometimes you may not like the result that you get, so there are a couple things you can do. For one thing, you can move the source circle. So, let's say that the source circle has landed in an area that doesn't really match these clouds, maybe down here. Well, then the patch wouldn't match, obviously.
So, I can just move my cursor inside of the source circle and drag, putting it somewhere that's a better match for the patched area. The other thing that I can do is change the size of these circles, and to do that, I'll hover over the outside of either circle and drag. So as I drag the source circle, you can see the patch getting bigger, too. And then I'll go back the other way, because that's obviously not right. You can have more than one circle too, so that you can cover up all the dust spots in your image. So, if I come over this circle, I'll click, and that dust spot is gone, and let's do that one more time over here.
Now, you can delete any of these circles, so if I really don't want that last one, I'll click on that spot to make sure it's selected, and then I'll press the Delete or Backspace key on my keyboard. Like that. Now, if you want to see the results of your patchwork without the circles in the way, come down to the Tool Overlay menu here. If it's set to Auto, then when you move your cursor out of the Preview window, those circles disappear. And we can see that the tool did a great job of hiding those two dust spots in this photo. When I move back over the photo, those circles appear again.
And there other options in this Tool Overlay Menu that you can use. Now you remember I said at the beginning of this movie. That all the photos that were taken that day ended up with the same dust spots on them. So, here's a little trick. You can take one photo from which you've removed dust spots. And if those spots are in the same location on other photos, you can synchronize that adjustment to the other photos. So, here for example, I have one other photo from the same shoot, that same day. And you can see that it has those two spots on it. So, I'm going to come down to the film strip and click off of both of those photos so neither is selected. Then I'll click right in the image thumbnail on the first photo and then I'm going to hold the Cmd key or the Ctrl key on the PC and click on the frame of the second photo.
And that assures that the first photo is the most selected, the active selection. The other photo is selected to, but as you can see, the frame around the first photo is brighter. An that's important because I want to use the most selected photo as the source of these changes, an apply them to the lesser selected photo. So, now I'll go over to the big sync button at the bottom of the column on the right of the Develop module, an I'll click. An you can see that my synchronize settings box, is set to synchronize all the settings on the first photo to the second.
Well, I really don't want to do that. For example I had cropped the first photo, maybe I don't want to crop the second one. So, I'm going to click check none, and then I'll come up and just check spot removal, and then I'll click synchronize. Now let's deselect both photos in the film strip. I'll click on the first one, this is the one that we changed a moment ago using the spot removal tool. And now I'm going to click on the second one, and as you can see the spots are gone from that one too. Now sometimes when you synchronize spot removal like this, you may have to move the source circles, particularly if the second photo has different content than the first.
But this can be a real time saver. So, as you've seen, clicking with the Spot Removal tool is a quick way to hide dust spots or any content that you can cover with a circular patch. Next, we'll see how to use the same tool to hide non-circular content in a photo.
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