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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.
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