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The Spot Removal tool is another one of the local adjustment tools in Lightroom 4. It comes in so handy for removing blemishes on a portrait, for removing distractions like this bird that flew into my photograph, or even for quickly removing spots caused by dirt on your camera lens or your sensor, for multiple photographs at once. So first let's see how it works and then I'll show you how to quickly apply it to multiple photos. I'll move over to the column on the right. And I'll click the Spot Removal tool which is here in the tool strip above the Basic panel and that opens the Spot Removal panel.
Here, I'll make sure that Heal is selected. In most cases, that works better than the other option which is Clone. What Heal is going to do is copy some content from one area of the photo and place it down on top of the thing that I want to remove, the bird, and then it's going to blend those good pixels in with the surrounding area so you won't see a scene. That works well most of the time. Sometimes the spot removal with heal selected may pick up some pixels that you don't want. In that case you can get a little more control by choosing Clone instead but the Clone option doesn't try to blend the good pixels in with the surrounding area, so I like to go with Heal most of the time.
I'll leave these other options as you see them and I'll move into the image. I'll put my cursor on top of the thing that I want to get rid of. I'm actually going to zoom in so you can see this better. I call this the target circle and I want that target circle to be just a little bit bigger than the item that I want to remove. So I'm going to press the Left Bracket key on my keyboard which is right next to the P key. The Left Bracket key makes the brush circumference smaller, the Right Bracket key makes the brush circumference larger just like the Adjustment brush tool that I covered earlier in this chapter then I'll click on top of this bird that I want to remove.
And that's all I have to do and it's gone. This other circle that has appeared is a source area from which the tool is taking the good pixels and then it's pasting those on top of the bad pixels, or the target circle. Now if there was something else over here maybe a white cloud I might want it to sample the good pixels from another area and then I could just click on the source circle and move it and the Spot Removal tool would resample from that new source area. So that's how easy it is to remove small bits of content. Now let's see what we can do about spots caused by dirt on a camera's lens or sensor.
I'm going to select another photo down here in the film strip and I'll zoom out so that you can see the photo and notice that there's a spot over here. And I've seen the spot show up on multiple photos in the series. To remove that spot I'm going to do what I just showed you. I'll just move over the spot with the Spot Removal tool and I'll click. And now if I zoom in, you'll see that, that spot is gone. Now I can close the Spot Removal panel by clicking the Close button and the target circles disappear. Now I'm really excited to share a technique that's going to save you a lot of time if you got a problem with your sensor or lens and that is how to quickly apply that fix to lots of photos at once.
I'm going to zoom back out. I want to show you the other photos that I have here in the film strip. This photo also has the same spot in the same location and here's another one, and another one. To get rid of that spot on all these photos at once, I'll go back and click again on the first photo, the one I already corrected. Then, I'm going to hold down the Shift key. And I'm going to click on the last photo in that series. Now, if you look at the film strip, you'll see that the photo that I already corrected is a little brighter than the other photos.
This is the most selected photo, the one that is the active photo. And now that I've selected multiple thumbnails over here in the column on the right this button has changed to now read Sync. If your button is labeled Auto Sync rather than sync, click the small toggle switch just to the left of the Auto Sync button and the button will change to read Sync. So I'm going to click Sync and that opens the Synchronized settings dialog box. Now here I can see a list of all of the effects that I could synchronize from this active photo to the other three photos.
So if I've made other corrections to this photo I could synchronize those other corrections as well but I don't want to. I just want to synchronize the spot removal so I'm going to Check None, and then I'm going to check Spot Removal only and then I'll click Synchronize. In just a moment, the work is done. I'll click off of all of those photos and now I'm going to click on each one of them in turn. The second photo now has no spot. The third photo has no spot and the fourth photo has no spot. So, you can imagine that if you shot a 100 photos with the same flaw in the same place, you can quickly and easily remove it from all of them using the Spot Removal tool in Lightroom 4.
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