Retouch with the Healing Brush tools Photoshop Elements 11
Retouching with the Healing Brush tools
The Editor's Quick Edit mode has some retouching tools that you can use to try to eliminate dust spots from a photo or blemishes from a portrait. Let's open these photos into Quick Edit mode. And I'm going to start with this photo of the sunflowers which I will double-click in the Photo Bin. If your Photo Bin isn't open, then click the Photo Bin icon at the bottom of the Quick Edit workspace. I am going to zoom in on this so that you can see that there is a dust spot right here. This might have been a dust spot on the camera lens or maybe on the digital camera sensor.
In either case, you can try to eliminate this while maintaining the photographic quality of the image by using the Spot Healing Brush tool, which is over here in the toolbar. I will select the Spot Healing Brush and down here at the bottom of the workspace, I can now see the options for the Spot Healing Brush tool. I will make sure that Content Aware is enabled here. What this is going to do is make sure that the tool is aware of the content of the photo around that spot when it tries to cover the Spot up. Here I can change the size of my brush tip and what I want to do is have the brush tip be just big enough to cover that spot.
I see that it's a little bit too big. Instead of having to go all the way back to the tool options to change the brush size, I often like to do that on the fly, using the bracket keys on my keyboard. Take a look at your keyboard and look for the P key and right next to that is the Left Bracket key. Every time I click that, the brush tip gets a little smaller and if I were to click the Right Bracket key the brush tip will get a little bigger. I'm going to move the brush tip right over that spot and click. And Elements has done a pretty convincing job of getting rid of the spot, especially if I zoom back to 100%. Now let's take a look at that other image the portrait, I will go down and click on the Photo Bin and then I'll double- click the portrait in the Photo Bin and again I am going to zoom in.
There are several blemishes here that I would like to eliminate and I can use the Spot Healing Brush to do that just as I did with the dust spots on the other photo. I'll move my cursor over this spot, making sure it's just a little bigger than the spot and click and that blemish has gone like magic. I will do the same here and here and here and here. Now up here, I see kind of a scar, I could try to click and drag over that scar like this. Sometimes when you click and drag, that leaves a telltale path, I think in this case the tool did a pretty good job of covering up the scar without leaving a telltale sign.
And I will do the same here, here, here and here. Now I am going to get another related tool, the Healing Brush tool. I will go down to the Taskbar and I will click tool Options and in the Spot Healing Brush tool options, I will click on this related tool, the Healing Brush tool. This is very similar to the Spot Healing Brush except with this tool, I get to decide which pixels are going to be sampled to cover up the area that I want to fix. Now what I want to do here is to try to cover some of the bags under the subject's eyes. And I really just want to lighten this area.
So I'm going to go to the Mode option and change that from Normal to Lighten. Then I will move into the image, I will make the brush tip a little bigger. This time I will just use the Size slider. And I'm going to hold down the Alt key-- that's the Option key on the Mac--as I click right here on the subject's skin and that changes the cursor to a target. I will click with that target to sample pixels from here. And then I am going to move over the dark skin under the eye and just click and drag. The blue cross that you see is sampling pixels and it's movimg along with me as my brush tip moves.
Now when I release my mouse, the sample pixels are blended in and they do an okay job of covering up that area under the subject's eye. I will try the same thing over here. I think I want my brush tip a little smaller here, I will hold the Alt or Option key and sample pixels, I'll release. And then I will click and drag over this dark area and that covers that up pretty well. I also would like to remove some of the hairs here in the eyebrows, but when I hold down the Alt or Option key to sample pixels and then click and drag over those hairs, it tends to leave a little dark smudge like that.
And when that happens, I have one more option that I can try. Let me undo by coming down to the Undo button in the Task pane and clicking once and clicking again. And then I will go to the Mode option for the Healing Brush tool and I'm going to change that to Replace. What this will do is stop the tool from trying to blend in the good pixels with the surrounding area. And hopefully, I won't get that smudge this time. So now I will come up here, I am going to make my brush tip a little smaller, I will hold the key Alt key or the Option key on a Mac, I will sample from right here.
And I am just going to click on top of some of these hairs. And that's giving me a nice clean almost a shave along these hairs. Without creating that kind of smudge that we saw a moment ago. I might sample again from right here, Alt+click or Option+click and then move over these. So those are some ways that you can use the Healing Brush tool and its companion the Spot Healing Brush tool to remove unwanted content whether that's on a portrait or perhaps on a photo with a dust spot.
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