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Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush

From: Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

Video: Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush

One of the most common retouching tasks, especially when you're dealing with portraits, is getting rid of skin blemishes, things like acne, or pimples, or spots, or pores, or whatever. And here is a good example of this. We want to remove these blemishes off this boy's portrait, and we can do that very quickly. Before we jump into that task, let's just do a real quick overview of the various retouching tools in Photoshop's toolbox. The bulk of them are under this little band-aid icon, over on the left. That's called the Spot Healing Brush. That's the default top tool in this tool slot. If we click on that tool, you will see there's actually four different tools in the slot.

Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush

One of the most common retouching tasks, especially when you're dealing with portraits, is getting rid of skin blemishes, things like acne, or pimples, or spots, or pores, or whatever. And here is a good example of this. We want to remove these blemishes off this boy's portrait, and we can do that very quickly. Before we jump into that task, let's just do a real quick overview of the various retouching tools in Photoshop's toolbox. The bulk of them are under this little band-aid icon, over on the left. That's called the Spot Healing Brush. That's the default top tool in this tool slot. If we click on that tool, you will see there's actually four different tools in the slot.

There is the Red Eye tool, the Patch tool, the Healing Brush tool, and the Spot Healing Brush tool. The original retouching tool was the Clone Stamp tool. We'll go ahead and click on that, and it's still kind of the most common tool people think to jump to because it's just been around for so long. But quite honestly, the Spot and regular Healing Brush tools are actually the better tools to start with. Just a review, real quick, the Rubber Stamp tool, as it's also known, or the Clone Stamp tool, is literally a tool to copy pixels from one portion of an image, or even another image, and replace them, or use them again, in another area.

Now, the way it works is you take a sample, you source an area that you want to copy and then you paint with that source somewhere else in the image. Let's go ahead and put this image into Full Screen mode. I'll press the letter F to do that. I'll hold down my Spacebar to just kind of pan an image around there to the left, and then I am going to do Command+Plus or Ctrl+Plus twice just to zoom it up a little bit. Okay, so the way it works is you hold down the Option key or the Alt key, and you'll see your cursor turns to a little target, and we'll just do some cheesy little retouch here. I am going to source the middle of this boy's eye here, by Option or Alt clicking, and then you'll see as I move my cursor, after letting go off the key, the pixels that I clicked on with the Option or Alt Key down are now showing up in that cursor.

If I make the brush a little bit larger by hitting my Right Bracket key, you can see a preview of what would be laid down if I were to start pressing and dragging with my Clone Stamp tool. So, I will go ahead and do that, click and drag, and you'll see the cursor is a little crosshair over on the left eye there showing you where it's sourcing from, and as I click and drag, I am giving this person a third eye. So, not something you wouldn't probably want to do, so I am going to go ahead and Undo that. Just to show you that the Clone Stamp tool is literally for copying pixels from one area and putting them somewhere else. The advantage of the Healing Brush tool - so the default one is the Spot Healing Brush - the original Healing Brush was the Healing Brush tool itself.

The difference between the spot and the regular healing brush tools are that with the Healing Brush tool, very much like the Clone Stamp tool, you have to tell Photoshop what you want to sample. So, Option+Click or Alt+Click in area of clean skin, so smooth skin with no pores or blemishes, and then everytime I move my cursor somewhere else, it's always going to be painting from that source that I clicked on, very much like the Clone Stamp tool. The Spot Healing Brush tool, which is the tool that I am going to recommend you always start with because it's so much easier, what's great about that is that Photoshop will sample and replace, or retouch, at the same time without you having to constantly Option or Alt+Click to take a source.

Photoshop will guess an area in the image that's appropriate to replace the blemish that you're going to paint over. So, with no sampling, I am just going to start clicking and dragging on top of these blemishes. And you can see, very instantly, Photoshop does a great job of figuring out where to source from to replace those blemishes. Now you'll see that I've been doing this on the original Background layer. I typically do not like to do retouching that way because I can't change my mind. So, I am going to go back and revert this image, File > Revert, to get it back to where we were.

And I always recommend that you create a retouch layer. Now if you click the New icon at the bottom of the LAYERS panel, you'll just get a New layer 1. I am going to hold down that 'make better' key, the Option or Alt Key, and we'll click on that button, and that will give us the ability to name our layer as I create it. I am going to go ahead and name it Retouch. And you can name it blemishes, or pimples, or whatever you want to call this layer, something that makes sense. Go ahead and click OK. Now you have this new layer where all your retouching is going to end up on so you can turn it on or off or change your mind, delete the pixels, mask it, change the opacity, whatever you need to do.

The trick here is to make sure that the Sample All layers check box is turned on in the Options bar, when you have the Spot Healing Brush tool selected. If you don't, then it's just going to be sampling from nothing because there's nothing on this layer, so you are not going to get any effect. So, you'll turn on Sample All layers. The other thing that you might want to turn on, the default type of replacement for when you would be using the Spot Healing Brush is actually set to Proximity Match. What Photoshop tries to do with this default option is look within the image as close to possible of the original area that you're sampling from and take a source nearby.

Content-Aware is a new option in CS5 that for now, let's say, it's going to give you much better or more accurate results and also pay attention to the areas that you're replacing. I'll cover a little bit more of that in detail later on, in a different video. For now, I've got Sample All layers turned on. I have got Content-Aware chosen, and let's just start painting by clicking and dragging right over the blemish, like I was doing before. But because I created a blank layer first, and named it a Retouch, turned on that Sample All layers check box, you'll see that the retouching that I have done can be turned on and off just by turning off the visibility of that layer.

So, you can see I am doing this in a non -destructive way, just in case I overdo some particular area, and I want to get back to the original pixels underneath that original Background layer. So, you can see this does not have to take a lot of time at all. I'm doing a lot of talking and showing. But if I were just to grab that tool and start going, this is a 30 second retouch at the most, and you see that I am never having to actually Option+Click or Alt+Click somewhere in the image to take a sample from. Photoshop is able to figure that out and do the work for me.

So, here is before. Turn off that Retouch layer. There is after, and there you have it, very quick retouching with the Spot Healing Brush tool on a separate layer. Call it something that makes sense to you. Make sure Sample All layers is turned on. The good news is that this is a sticky setting, so if I open up a different image and choose the Spot Healing Brush tool again, these options will stay that way, so I don't have to keep remembering to do that. It will just stay that up until I change it again, and then you can see that Spot Healing Brush tool makes it really easy to quickly do retouching projects just like this.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

154 video lessons · 94103 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      50s
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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