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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this Project, I'm going to show you how to use the Healing Brush, which is absolutely one of the most remarkable features in all of Photoshop. If you saw my Photoshop Top 40, which began life as a Series of Video Blogs, now it's part of the Online Training Library, then you may recall that feature number 22, is the Healing Brush and I mention this, because I'm going to be documenting that same technique inside these next few Exercises. With a few variations that you might find illuminating, but I just want you to know, you're in familiar territory.
The name of this image is Patchy. tif and it comes to us from Simone Vandenberg of the Fotolia Image Library and I'm going to zoom in on this image a little bit. Every one, regardless of age and this happens to be a 10-year-old girl at a Halloween party, we all have things on her face, it's just that as we get older, we tend to have more things and so this kid has got a few little marks here and there, as well as something uniquely kid, and then she's got this wicked, tragic scar, that we're going to heal away as well, which is a big area that we have to heal, so we're going to have to take a little care.
Now before we dig in and start using the Healing Brush, I want to understand how it works. So I have a little demo put together inside of this file, if you go to the Channels panel, you'll see that there is an Alpha Channel called Brushstroke right here, just waiting for us to load it up. So press the Ctrl key or Command key on the Mac and click to load it as a Selection Outline and then I'll switch back to the RGB Image here. Now this simulates the Brushstroke that you might apply with the Healing Brush, because it is fundamentally a Brushing tool and it is set by default to a hardness of 100%, which is generally a good idea.
Now the reason I'm expressing it as a Selection Outline instead of a Brushstroke, is because I want you to understand that there's two pieces, to the Healing Brush Stroke, one is the Interior and one is the Edge. So essentially what the Healing Brush is doing, is it's cloning one section of an image onto another section of the image and then based on the details that Photoshop sees around the edge of that brushstroke, it merges that information together, it merges the source along with the destination.
And the best way to understand that is to work with the selection and the Patch tool, which is a very close cousin to the Healing Brush tool. So I'll go ahead and select it and rather than working with a default setting of Source up here, I'm going to switch it to Destination, meaning that, I am going to patch this section, on to another section inside the image. I'll press Shift + Tab, so I can stay zoomed in, and I'm going to go ahead and scroll the image over a little bit and now I'm going drag this Brushstroke. So imagine that I am cloning from this area and this is my Brushstroke drawn onto the destination area, and notice how the two don't match the source, which I'm holding in my hand right now, does not match the destination, which is immediately under it.
However, what Photoshop is going to do is its going to examine that perimeter of the brushstroke, which right now is expressed as a dashed line, and it's going to try to figure out how to merge all of the detail around that Brushstroke, with the source information inside the Brushstroke and it comes up with this, which is fairly darn miraculous when you come right down to it. It isn't perfect, however I'll go ahead and press Ctrl + 'd' or Command + 'd' on the Mac and on then I'm going to go ahead and zoom in, so that we can see and you need to have to very closely, to see this, or look at it inside of your own image, but you'll see that the source and destination, don't exactly go with each other.
For example, we have these tiny little hairs, that are going down into the right, whereas one hair exist inside of the cloned area, are going down in to the left, but they're barely visible inside of the clone region inside of that Brushstroke. So we have a difference of texture going on, I'll tell you how to workaround that in the future, but what you need to know, is Photoshop is fairly true to this healing metaphor. So in other words, if you were to cut yourself and heal, you would be left with a scar, and so when you heal inside of Photoshop, you can anticipate having some scar tissue as well, there's ways to deal with it, generally healing over and over again, however some scarring is going to happen.
What's more important is that you watch out for repeated details. That is you have a detail right here let's say and it ends up being duplicated just a handful of pixels up and to the left. And that kind of stuff can be a real giveaway, so anyway, I'll show how to avoid those pitfalls in future, but I just want you to know what's happening, with this absolutely amazing brush here inside Photoshop. In the next exercise, we'll begin to use the Healing Brush to retouch this image.
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