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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, I am going to show you the Spot Healing Brush, which has been newly enhanced inside of Photoshop CS 5. I've gone ahead and restored the original version of Patchy.tiff. And this is the Spot Healing tool right there. Go ahead and click on it to make it active. You may need to select it from a fly out menu as well. And I should note if you've loaded dekeKeys, I have gone ahead and stolen its keyboard shortcut. So that J, which is the default shortcut for this entire group of tools, just cycles you back and forth between the best tools. The Healing Brush tool and the Patch tool.
And I've also taken J away from the Redeye tool. In case you're wondering how this tool works, also derisively known as the Gray Eye tool. It's really easy to use, although it doesn't always work very well. What you do is you start with the photograph of a person who has read pupils. And then you get the Redeye tool and you click either inside or right next to that pupil. If Photoshop still can't find a pupil, you can drag around it as well. And then either Photoshop makes the pupil black and tries to retain its Highlights as well. It ends up making it kind of a gray, and then you had to turn it around and darken it with a Burn tool.
Anyway not really a pro-level tool, but just thought you want to know about it. I am going to switch back to the Spot Healing Brush. And there's few different ways to use this tool. By default, up here in the Options Bar notice that it's set the Proximity Match, which means that you can just click with this tool. You don't have to do anything else with it, just click or brush. Typically works best when you click as opposed to great big huge brush strokes. But if I click on this little thing on the girl's face right there, notice that Photoshop first turns my cursor gray, and then as soon as I release it goes ahead and fixes the blemish.
And what it's doing is its automatically sourcing information that's pretty close at hand, hence Proximity Match. It's looking for something nearby. The other way you can use the tool, and actually that worked out pretty great. And the tool does work well on smooth areas. Like it wouldn't have worked well on my face, because there's not very many smooth areas to choose from. That's why you'd want to use the manual Healing Brush tool, which I will show you in the next exercise. But on smooth faces like this one, it can work out pretty nicely, because there is a ton of decent source material all over the place.
All right I'll go ahead and scroll down here. Now let's say I want to heal away some of these little whiskers. By then I might switch over to Create Texture. In which case you're asking Photoshop to go ahead and match the texture in this region. But just gave you kind of an empty texture. Not try to fill in any volumetric detail or anything complex like that, just kind of smooth things over. And so if anything it's going to be overly smooth by the way. So if I paint over this little whisker, and I'll go ahead and zoom in, you can see that what I effectively have is a noise pattern.
And it's a fairly colorful noise pattern as well. I'll press Ctrl+H because I am seeing the pixel grid, Command+H on the Mac. A fairly colorful noise pattern, which I don't think looks good at all. And I haven't actually so far found this great Texture option to be all that useful. It would be better if they had made it monochromatic noise, but instead it's color noise, so we'll see how it fares. Anyway the other one, that you may want to take advantage of is Content-Aware, and that employees that same Content- Aware Fill strategy that we've seen inside the Fill dialog box.
So I'll go ahead and turn it on. Basically it's more complex technology. Let me show you how it fares compared with Proximity Match. I'll go ahead and select that first. I'll make my curser much larger by pressing the right bracket key a few times. And then I am going to paint over this hideous scar here and release. And then Photoshop goes ahead and find something nearby, like her eye. That doesn't look too good. All right I'll press Ctrl+ Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Let's try however with Content-Aware Fill, which is theoretically much smarter and capable of repeating areas.
Did you see how when we have the eye there, notice that it was one the region of the image repeated at a new location. And that's how the Healing Brush works. If you want multiple applications of different areas then you need to paint multiple brush strokes. Okay so I'll undo that. Compare that to Content-Aware scale, which is capable of repeating details, and warping the details as well. Again it happens automatically. So you have no control over it, but sometimes it does a pretty good job. So I'll just paint over this scar once again. Then I end up getting this result.
Well that is way better than having a distended eye repeated on her face. However I'll go ahead and zoom in. It's not great. So we have this obvious seam right there and the jaw line is not matching. And so even though I have to say it's quite commendable in this case. Unless it's really very close to perfect then it's really of no use to us. So sometimes Content-Aware Fill is going to be great for you, just in this case where this big scar is concerned, we are going to have to do the work manually. And I'm going to show you how to manually fix problems using the Standard Healing Brush in a next exercise.
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