The Patch tool
Video: The Patch toolIn some cases, you might find that it's easier to create a selection to identify an area that you want to repair, rather than to paint into that area. And for those types of situations, the Patch tool is an ideal solution. Let's take a look at how we can use this tool in order to apply fixes based on a selection. I'll start off by creating a new layer. I'll click on Create New layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. And then I'll double-click on the name for that layer and give it a new name. I'll just call it clean-up in this case. And then I'm going to choose the Patch tool. That's found underneath the Spot Healing tool on the toolbox.
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No matter how careful you are when capturing your photographic images, there are going to be issues that you find later—whether it's little spots or blemishes, or bigger problems like color casts or chromatic aberration. In this workshop, Tim Grey shares his techniques for cleaning up your images with Adobe Photoshop. After getting an overview of image-cleanup concepts and tools, learn how to remove spots, correct color problems, eliminate noise, fix red eye, and much more. Tim also shares advanced techniques like making gradient adjustments, extending the frame, and using multiple exposures to remove people from an image. This course covers all you need to know to remove distractions in an image that keep your genius from shining through.
- The ethics of cleanup
- Reviewing the image
- Nondestructive cleanup
- Cleanup tools and techniques
- Removing strong color casts
- Gradient adjustments
- Extending the frame
- Using multiple exposures to remove subjects from an image
The Patch tool
In some cases, you might find that it's easier to create a selection to identify an area that you want to repair, rather than to paint into that area. And for those types of situations, the Patch tool is an ideal solution. Let's take a look at how we can use this tool in order to apply fixes based on a selection. I'll start off by creating a new layer. I'll click on Create New layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. And then I'll double-click on the name for that layer and give it a new name. I'll just call it clean-up in this case. And then I'm going to choose the Patch tool. That's found underneath the Spot Healing tool on the toolbox.
And so, I'll click on the button for the Spot Healing brush tool and then choose the Patch tool from the fly-out menu. In almost all cases, I work with the Patch tool using the Content Aware option. The normal mode, generally speaking, will cause too much blending where areas are not cleaned very well. For example, here I want to clean up the bottom left corner of the image. And if I use the normal mode in order to clean up that area, what you'll see is that the correction essentially just causes a blurring. I'll go ahead and choose my background image there for just a moment. And I'll click and drag.
And you can see that the correction is not very good. So, I'll go ahead and undo with a Ctrl+Z on Windows or Cmd+Z on Macintosh. And then I'll change the option back to the Content Aware setting for Patch. I also want to make sure that the Sample All Layers checkbox is turned on. I've created a new cleanup layer. I'm going to place my cleanup work on to that layer and in order to do so, I need the Sample All Layers option turned on. I can also think about the adaptation method. Basically, this determines how strictly the source pixels will be copied into the destination.
I'll show you an example of that in a moment. In many cases, it really won't make much of a difference unless you have some very strong objects and shapes within the area that you're cleaning up. It shouldn't be too big of an issue. I'll leave it set to medium at the moment. And now, I'm ready to take the source area, the area that I have identified as the area that I want to cleanup. And drag it to a new area of the image, an area that represents a good source of pixels to cleanup the area that I have identified. You'll notice that within my original selection, I have a preview of the correction but a preview without all the blending.
So, it wont be a 100% accurate but it gives me a very good sense of how closely the pixels might match. I'll go ahead and release the mouse. Photoshop will then process that area and you can see that we have a great clean up. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+D on Windows or Cmd+D on Macintosh in order to remove that selection. And I can continue in this manner creating additional selections in areas that I want to clean up as well. Note, by the way, that since this is a Selection tool, essentially a Lasso tool, I can also add to my selection, subtract from my selection, or create an intersection with an existing selection using the Option buttons on the options bar.
So, for example, I could switch to the Add to Selection option and then I can add an additional area to my cleanup. I'll go ahead and add that portion of the image, and now I can simply drag that entire selection into a new area. I'll go ahead and take it up a little bit higher here where I have a larger source area and I will release the mouse. And you can see that I get a reasonably good cleanup in that area as well. Now in some cases you might find that you need to apply additional clean up. I'll go ahead and deselect here. And you can see that I have some blending that's a little less than ideal.
So, I'm going to select the area with the not so great blending. And I'll drag that into a different area of the image and release. And that gives me a much better result. Now for sake of argument, let's assume that we wanted to duplicate some of the tape here. And that will give us an opportunity to test out the Adaptation option. I'll go ahead and deselect. And then, I'm going to create a selection of an area that I want to clean up. And then, I'm going to choose a source of pixels that I would like to blend. I'll go ahead and set the option to Very Strict first. Now, this is not going to be a good cleanup by any stretcher. I just want to illustrate the behavior of this Adaptation option. I'll go ahead and drag my selection over to this round object in the image, and then, I will release the mouse and you'll see that that object is placed essentially exactly as it was, with just a little bit of blending. And that's with my very strict adaptation.
I'll press Ctrl+Z on Windows or Cmd+Z on Macintosh to undo that last step. And then, I'll choose the Very Loose option and repeat the exact same correction. Or at least as close to exactly the same as I can possibly manage. And when I release the mouse, you'll see that things get altered a little bit in order to try to match the surroundings a little better. Basically, Photoshop is trying to interpret what's going on here and so it has freedom to change the shape of my source pixels in order to try to get them to blend in the way it thinks they should.
So, that gives you sense of the Adaptation option. In most cases, if you don't have a very clear texture or structure, then just using the medium option will work just fine. But sometimes you might need to make sure that the shape of the pixels is retained. Or that it is altered in order to blend in a little bit better. And so, that Adaptation option gives you the flexibility there. I'll go ahead, of course, and undo that last change as well and deselect my selection. But you can see that using the Patch tool, especially in conjunction with the Content Aware option and the ability to work on a new layer, allows us to use selections as the basis of a variety of image clean up tasks.
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