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Throughout these lessons on retouching, we're going to focus on removing the distracting elements in a photograph, so that the viewer can focus in on the person in the image. We want to be subtle in our retouching, so that we enhance the portraits without compromising the character of the person. In this lesson we are going to take a look at the variety of tools that are available to remove things like acne or blemishes, including the Clone Tool, the Spot Healing Tool, and the Spot Healing Brush. So we'll start with the Clone Stamp Tool, and I'll also want to zoom in. So I'll use Cmd+1 on the Mac or Ctrl+1 on Windows in order to the zoom into 100%.
Now the Clone Stamp Tool was one of the first tools in Photoshop, and the Clone Stamp Tool is an excellent tool, but it makes an exact duplicate of one area and another area. So although its great for somethings its not always the best tool for retouching an let me show you why. I'll use the right bracket key in order to get a larger brush, just to make sure that we can see this. An then you have to tell Photoshop, where you want it to sample from. So I'll just sample from the cheek area here.
So I'll hold down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows and click on the cheek. And then I let go of the Alt or the Option key, and then I can move my cursor to replace a blemish. But as you can see in the center of this tool, it's showing me the content that it's going to clone stamp. So when I click and drag in order to get rid of the blemish, you can see that I've actually made it worse, and that's because the tonal values change quite significantly between the sample point and the point where I clicked.
And I'll just place my cursor there again and click you can see up in the cheek there's those little cross hairs, and as I move around those cross hairs follow exactly where I'm painting. So what Photoshop is doing is its making an exact duplicate. Of one area in another area, and obviously we don't want that so we can use Cmd+z, that will take us back one step, and then we can use Cmd+Opt+Z on the Mac or Ctrl+Alt+Z on Windows. Of course we could always just use the Edit menu in order to set backwards if we wanted to. So instead of using the Clone Stamp Tool, I am going to switch to the Spot Healing Brush.
Now there is a Spot Healing Brush and the Healing Brush. The difference between this two is that the Healing Brush needs you to tell it where to sample the information from to heal, so its similar to the Clone Stamp Tool. The Spot Healing Brush Tool you don't need to tell Photoshop where the sample point is. Photoshop is going to do it's best guess by analyzing the image, and then gives you the best option for replacing that information. So we'll start with the spot healing brush. And one other thing is you might want to make sure, is that you've got the Content Aware Option turned on. This technology is available in the Spot Healing Brush, but it's not available in the regular Healing Brush.
The one where you have to Option or Alt click to set the source point. Alright so with Content Aware oOption turned on, all I need to do is click and drag over the area that I want Photoshop to fix. And it will try to not only grab information from a source area that has the same texture and the same content, but it's also going to try to heal or blend in the edges where you paint with the cursor. If we use a Cmd+z and undo and redo, we can see that there's a little bit of a discrepancy there. So what I'll do is I'm going to zoom in once more time, and then I'll hold down the space bar to get my hand tool.
That way we can pan around the image. You can see I was using a rather large brush, so let's just get a little bit smaller of a brush. And, this brush that I'm using, it can even be smaller than the size of the blemish, because I can click and drag with the brush, and then have Photoshop correct that whole area. So now I did a much better job in my opinion. Just because of the area that I sampled it was a little smaller. And we can see how easy it is to move through our image, and just correct all of these little blemishes and obviously wouldn't be there all the time.
So I'm going to to hold down the space bar, and that way I can navigate to another area. Now I see this little piece of fuzz over here on the left-hand side. This kind of correction. I'm actually better off using the Clone Stamp Tool. So I'll tap the s key. That gives me the Clone Stamp Tool. And you can see it's giving me that preview from when I option clicked before in order to set my sample point. But I'm just going to use a little bit smaller of a brush, and then I'm going to hold down my Option or my Alt key in the hair area and click Release the Option or the Alt key and just kind of match up that hair right up here. And then click in order to make an exact duplicate of it. So the reason that I haven't used the Healing Brush, let's go ahead and return back to it by tapping the j key.
The reason I didn't use it is because, if I'm in an area that has a lot of contrast or there are a lot of variations of shades, sometimes when I use this tool, it doesn't always do a great job blending the edges. It seems to have done an okay job there, but I'm still going to use Command or Ctrl+z to undo that. So that's just the reason I went to the Stamp Tool. Alright now with the Spot Healing Brush selected again, we can just move around the image and just remove any of the little blemishes that I know aren't always there.
Alright and I'll use the space bar again in order to temporarily access the Hand Tool. And we'll just scoot around. Now, you'll notice that I'm not removing any freckles or any moles. Obviously, that is going to be up to you, whether or not you decide to remove those. If something is really distracting, then what I would recommend instead of removing it, is we will just kind of tone it down in a minute. So I'm just looking at, she's got a few little teeny blemishes here.
She's just a darling girl, but she just has a few little pieces of acne. So that's all I'm really concerned about right now. We're going to go back in a minute and we will work on those moles there. Just keep going right here, where the moles or the little freckles. And just a minute more, and we'll have this done. So here I'm actually going to skip over this for a minute, and we'll come back to that. And just really quickly, a few little rough spots on her cheek. Alright. Excellent.
So this little area right down here, let's see if we can get it right away with the Spot Healing Brush. Or if I need to move to another tool, look at that, it's a really a nice job. So this is what I am talking about with the contrasting areas. Sometimes we'll get a little bit of bleeding, meaning that this pink area here of her lips we go over into the skin tone, in which case I might want to actually go in and set the Healing Brush tool. Set down the source for it to clone from. But it seemed to have done just a great job.
So we'll return back to the Spot Healing Brush. Just give this one more check. I think this might actually be a little blemish, so we'll get rid of that. And other than that, I think she is looking great. All right, so I'm going to use the keyboard shortcut Cmd+minus to just zoom out one level. And you'll notice that this entire time, when I've been removing the blemishes. Because they are blemishes, I know that I want to remove them like a 100%. I don't want to just tone them back a bit. Now you might have noticed that I've been doing all the retouching on a background layer, and that's because I wanted to remove the blemishes 100%, I didn't want them at all in the image. Now if you're not comfortable working on a background layer. Because obviously what I've been doing was destructive, you can actually create a new layer and you can use the Healing Brush to clone to that new layer. So let me show you how you would do that.
I'm going to click the New Layer icon in the bottom of the Layers Panel, and that just adds a blank layer. Now if I start trying to use the Spot Healing Brush right now nothing's going to happen, and that's because I'm on this blank layer and I'm telling Photoshop to heal nothing, basically, because there's nothing on that layer. What I need to do is come up to the top here and tell Photoshop to sample all of the layers and then heal those layers. So, let's just say that maybe this is a blemish and not a freckle, so I will paint over that and we'll paint over this, and here, and here, and maybe even this one too, to make it obvious. So if I decided that I've made a mistake you can see that I can toggle on and off the opacity of that layer to hide and reveal what I've just changed. And in fact, if we toggle on the layer and I hide the background those are the changes that Photoshop has made.
So it's used the Spot Healing Brush with the Content Aware Option to sample all of the layers including the background. And then it places its results on the top layer, the layer that we were working on. Alright, since those were freckles and not blemishes, I'm going to tap the Delete key in order to delete that layer. If you realize at any point in time when you are working on the background layer that you made a mistake, and you want to undo that, I think the first thought would be to go to the History Panel, and then see if you could go back in time far enough in order to undo that mistake. The problem with that, of course, is that then you're going to lose all the rest of these other states.
So here's a little shortcut. Instead of going back in time, I'll go ahead and close that panel. What you can do is you can select say with like the Lasso Tool an area of your image where you might have made that initial mistake. And then you can go underneath the Edit menu and you can actually fill that area with history. When you fill with history Photoshop's going to fill with the initial snapshot that it created when you first opened the document. So, if I click OK it would fill this area from the original image.
Now, I don't actually want to do that so, I'm going to use Cmd+z or Ctrl+z to undo that and then I'll use Cmd+d or Ctrl+d to deselect but, I just wanted you to know that that option was there. So, as you can see, not only the Spot Healing Brush, but also the regular Healing Brush, and the Clone Stamp Tool can be quite helpful when retouching blemishes and other distracting elements in Photoshop.
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