Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Illustration by Richard Downs

Using the Spot Healing Brush


Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Using the Spot Healing Brush

In this movie, I'll show you how to use the Spot Healing Brush, which allows you to paint with Content-Aware Fill. Notice this second section of tools inside the toolbox, these are Photoshop's painting and editing tools, which allow you to brush in and, otherwise, apply permanent modifications to the active layer. If you click and hold on the first tool on the second section, you'll see the Spot Healing Brush right at the top of the flyout menu. Notice that all these tools have a keyboard shortcut of J even though the letter J never appears in any of the tool names.
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  1. 19m 15s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 27s
    2. Opening from the Windows desktop
      4m 7s
    3. Opening from the Macintosh Finder
      4m 9s
    4. Opening from Photoshop or Bridge
      2m 45s
    5. Opening an image from Mini Bridge
      1m 16s
    6. Opening through Camera Raw
      2m 32s
    7. Closing one image and Closing All
      1m 59s
  2. 38m 14s
    1. Navigating your image
    2. The dark vs. the light interface
      3m 12s
    3. Navigating tabs and windows
      4m 32s
    4. Panels and workspaces
      4m 27s
    5. Zooming incrementally
      4m 29s
    6. Zooming continuously
      2m 43s
    7. Entering a custom zoom value
      2m 25s
    8. Scrolling and panning images
      2m 31s
    9. Rotating and resetting the view
      2m 11s
    10. Cycling between screen modes
      3m 10s
    11. Using the Navigator panel
      3m 38s
    12. Adjusting a few screen prefs
      4m 16s
  3. 45m 58s
    1. Digital imaging fundamentals
      1m 45s
    2. Image size and resolution
      3m 3s
    3. The Image Size command
      3m 27s
    4. Common resolution standards
      3m 20s
    5. Upsampling vs. real pixels
      4m 36s
    6. Changing the print size
      6m 16s
    7. Downsampling for print
      4m 12s
    8. Downsampling for email
      3m 11s
    9. The interpolation settings
      5m 22s
    10. Downsampling advice
      4m 36s
    11. Upsampling advice
      6m 10s
  4. 53m 18s
    1. The layered composition
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing the Layers panel
      4m 13s
    3. Adding, scaling, and aligning layers
      5m 27s
    4. Dragging and dropping layers
      4m 36s
    5. Stack, reveal, and rename
      2m 58s
    6. Opacity, history, and blend mode
      6m 5s
    7. Duplicating a selected portion of a layer
      5m 32s
    8. Applying a clipping mask
      3m 58s
    9. Blending inside a clipping mask
      4m 10s
    10. Finishing off your artwork
      3m 13s
    11. Creating a new layer and background
      4m 24s
    12. Layering tips and tricks
      7m 2s
  5. 26m 19s
    1. The art of saving
    2. Four things to know about saving
      6m 0s
    3. Saving layers to PSD
      6m 38s
    4. Saving print images to TIFF
      4m 48s
    5. Saving an interactive image to PNG
      3m 41s
    6. Saving a flat photo to JPEG
      4m 18s
  6. 19m 36s
    1. Honing in on your image
      1m 43s
    2. The new and improved Crop tool
      3m 35s
    3. Editing your last crop
      3m 1s
    4. Straightening a crooked image
      2m 29s
    5. Filling in missing details
      6m 44s
    6. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      2m 4s
  7. 42m 6s
    1. First, there is brightness
      2m 12s
    2. How luminance works
      4m 18s
    3. The three Auto commands
      3m 27s
    4. Automatic brightness and contrast
      3m 19s
    5. The Brightness/Contrast command
      2m 47s
    6. The dynamic adjustment layer
      4m 5s
    7. Editing adjustment layers
      3m 52s
    8. Isolating an adjustment with a layer mask
      3m 31s
    9. Introducing the histogram
      4m 58s
    10. Measuring an adjustment
      3m 34s
    11. Using the Shadows/Highlights command
      6m 3s
  8. 44m 34s
    1. And second, there is color
      1m 31s
    2. Identifying a color cast
      3m 34s
    3. Correcting a color cast automatically
      3m 57s
    4. Changing the color balance
      6m 10s
    5. Compensating with Photo Filter
      3m 11s
    6. Adjusting color intensity with Vibrance
      3m 29s
    7. Correcting color cast in Camera Raw
      5m 46s
    8. The Hue/Saturation command
      5m 26s
    9. Summoning colors where none exist
      4m 9s
    10. Making more color with Vibrance
      4m 27s
    11. Making a quick-and-dirty sepia tone
      2m 54s
  9. 55m 47s
    1. Making selective modifications
      1m 11s
    2. The geometric Marquee tools
      6m 1s
    3. Aligning one image element to another
      4m 59s
    4. The freeform Lasso tools
      3m 59s
    5. Polygonal Lasso tool and Quick Mask
      5m 19s
    6. Cropping one selection inside another
      6m 15s
    7. Creating rays of light
      4m 44s
    8. Quick Selection and Similar
      4m 11s
    9. Making it better with Refine Edge
      4m 56s
    10. Integrating image elements
      2m 39s
    11. Magic Wand and Grow
      5m 17s
    12. Refine, integrate, and complete
      6m 16s
  10. 53m 49s
    1. Your best face forward
      1m 0s
    2. Content-Aware Fill
      6m 11s
    3. Using the Spot Healing Brush
      5m 36s
    4. The more capable "standard" Healing Brush
      5m 55s
    5. Meet the Clone Source panel
      3m 53s
    6. Caps Lock and Fade
      4m 57s
    7. The Dodge and Burn tools
      5m 1s
    8. Adjusting color with the Brush tool
      6m 35s
    9. Smoothing skin textures
      5m 58s
    10. Brightening teeth
      4m 0s
    11. Intensifying eyes
      4m 43s
  11. 51s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
6h 39m Beginner Apr 26, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals is a concise and focused introduction to the key features in Photoshop, presented by long-time author and Adobe veteran Deke McClelland. This course covers the image editing process from the very beginning and progresses through the concepts and techniques that every photographer or graphic designer should know. Deke explains digital imaging fundamentals, such as resolution vs. size and the effects of downsampling. He explains how to use layers to edit an image nondestructively and organize those edits in an easy-to-read way, and introduces techniques such as cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast, correcting and changing color, and retouching and healing images. These lessons distill the vast assortment of tools and options to a refined set of skills that will get you working inside Photoshop with confidence.

Topics include:
  • Opening an image from Photoshop, Bridge, or Camera Raw
  • Navigating, zooming, panning, and rotating the canvas
  • Adding, deleting, and merging layers
  • Saving your progress and understanding file formats
  • Cropping and straightening
  • Adjusting brightness and contrast
  • Identifying and correcting a color cast
  • Making and editing selections
  • Enhancing portraits by retouching skin, teeth, and eyes
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Using the Spot Healing Brush

In this movie, I'll show you how to use the Spot Healing Brush, which allows you to paint with Content-Aware Fill. Notice this second section of tools inside the toolbox, these are Photoshop's painting and editing tools, which allow you to brush in and, otherwise, apply permanent modifications to the active layer. If you click and hold on the first tool on the second section, you'll see the Spot Healing Brush right at the top of the flyout menu. Notice that all these tools have a keyboard shortcut of J even though the letter J never appears in any of the tool names.

Here is how I try to remember that. When you're healing an image, you're applying a kind of surgery to it. And if you were to misspell the word surgery, the most logical way to do it would be to replace the G with a J. So if that works for you, great. I'm going to switch back to the active image. And I want you to make sure up here in the Options bar that your mode is set to Normal. And then notice that you have three different radio buttons that you can choose from, so three different behaviors that you can associate with the Spot Healing Brush. Let's start off with Proximity Match just so you can see how it works.

I'm also going to increase the size of my brush, which I can do in one or two ways. The less convenient way is to right-click inside the image and then increase the Size value. You will almost always want the Hardness value to be a 100% so that you get clean transitions. You might want to reduce the Spacing value, however, to something like 10% that will give you smoother brush strokes. And then you can decide whether you want to change the angle around this on your own. Now I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac to hide that panel.

The other way to change the size of the brush is to press one of the square bracket keys to the right of the P as in Paul key on an American keyboard. If you press the right bracket key, it'll increase the size of the brush. If you press the left bracket key, you'll decrease the size of the brush. I'm going to increase the size of the brush a little bit and then just paint over the eye, so that you can see what Photoshop does. It goes ahead and duplicates nearby pixels into that painted region and it does so with one pass.

So for example, where this brush stroke is concerned, Photoshop has duplicated this region in the forehead right about over here, I think, and repeated the entire length of this region. So it's not repeating details, it's not grabbing from different areas and so forth. All right, I'll go ahead and undo that brush stroke. Then I'll switch to Create Texture, which generates a texture on the fly and overlays it on to the original image which can be useful for smoothing out details, but there's better ways to work in my opinion.

And then finally, we've got Content- Aware, which is the best option of them all, because it allows you to paint a brush stroke, and then Photoshop goes out and samples different regions, and creates a kind of collage of details and repeated details inside your brush stroke. So that's how the options work. Obviously we don't want to paint away the eyes, so I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac to undo that brush stroke. And let's try Spot Healing away a few blemishes. I'm going to reduce the size of my brush by pressing left bracket key and I'll click there in the center of the nose.

I'll click over this spot, this one here. You can see when you're just clicking, I'm not dragging with this tool at all, that you can get rid of blemishes very, very quickly inside of the image. Sometimes it's going to work great and sometimes it's not. If it doesn't, just press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. You can either try again if you want to or you can come back to the detail later using a different tool. All right, I'm going to zoom in on this a little bit right there, reduce the size of my cursor, so it's pretty tiny and click to get rid of that.

And you want to think of your brush cursor, where the size is concerned, as being a kind of selection outline. So its perimeter defines a good area around the blemish upon which Photoshop can base its Content-Aware Fill. And I'm going to increase the size of my cursor a little bit and paint right about there. We need to get rid of some of the roughness around that first area that we heal. And then I'm going to paint this little area. Can you see it? I'll zoom in some more. If these were a scanned image, I would say it was something in the glass, but it's not. This is a digital photograph.

So my guess is this is a little bit of mascara. And so, I'm going to paint along at this time as opposed to just clicking, and then I'll paint up a little bit on that guy. Let's zoom back out and see what else we have to deal with. There are some little hairs underneath the eyebrows that you could click on to get rid off. And we have a few freckles and moles up here in the forehead that you could work on, if you like. Let's go ahead and zoom out. Now there's also this little bump or whatever this is just down into the left of the first eye. I'll go ahead and increase my cursor so it's just bigger than it and then I'll click in order to get rid of it.

If that doesn't align quite properly, in other words, you can see that the crease along that ridge doesn't quite line up with the other creases; again, we can come back to that later with another variation on this Healing Brush. Go ahead and click there on that detail as well. And then I'll zoom all the way out in order to take in the entire image. I just want to make sure that I got everything that's worth dealing with right now. It's actually quite a bit better. I've made a big difference using this one tool. It's one little detail right there that I think I'll paint away.

And there's also this tiny little item right there. Let's check our progress. I'll turn off the retouch layer. This is the original version of the image. And when I turn the layer back on, this is the retouched version so far, thanks to the swift and speedy results you can achieve using the Spot Healing Brush.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals .

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Q: Where can I learn more about graphic design?
A: Discover more on this topic by visiting graphic design on
Q: When I double click the welcome.psd file included with the exercise files, I get the following error message:

"Some text layers contain fonts that are missing. These layers will need to have the missing fonts replaced before they can be used for vector based output."

Unlike the TIF and JPEG files which display and open correctly, all the icons for PSD files are blank but other than the welcome.psd file, they seem to open correctly without the error message. Is this a problem that I should address (perhaps re-download the files or find the missing fonts)?
A: The TIFF and JPEG files are flat, so they don't contain fonts and the operating system can interpret them (and generate thumbnails) without help from Photoshop. The PSD files have two issues:

First, they may contain editable text complete with font info. The files are designed with fonts that ship with Photoshop, so you don't get error messages, but Adobe sells some versions of Photoshop without fonts. This may be your issue.

Second, the PSD files contain no flat previews. This makes for smaller files, but it means the operating system, Mac or Windows, cannot generate previews. That won't effect your experience in Photoshop, but it does mean you can't see the file until you open it.
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