Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Removing unwanted content with the Healing tool, part of Learning Lightroom CC.
- [Instructor] In the last chapter you learned how to improve an entire photo using global editing techniques, but sometimes you wanna fix just part of a photo and for that you have the local editing tools, which are over here on the right side of Lightroom CC. The first icon, the Band-Aid, is the Healing Brush tool. This tool is great for removing small distractions, like spots and power lines and even some small objects that you don't want in your photo. Let's give it a try on this photo that I shot in a museum where the window has lots of spots and lines from reflections and there's even a crack in the glass that we'll try to remove up here.
So go over to the column on the right and click the Healing Brush tool. That replaces the column next to the tool with these Healing Brush controls. Leave them at their defaults and come into the image and let's start by removing this small reflected spot here. Hover over the spot to check the size of the brush. You want the brush to be a little bigger than the spot. There are two ways to change the brush size. You can either go over to the Healing Brush controls and you can drag the slider there, but then it's hard to know where to put it. So what I like to do is to move into the image and hover over the spot I wanna remove and then I'll use the right bracket key on my keyboard to make the brush tip bigger or the left bracket key to make it smaller until it just fits that spot.
I'll click and the spot disappears. What's happened is that Lightroom made a patch by sampling some pixels from nearby and placing them on top of that spot. If you wanna see that you can press o on the keyboard and that brings up this overlay. The circle on the right is where Lightroom sampled the good pixels, the source, and the circle on the left is the destination. I'll press O again to hide that overlay. And let's remove this spot too the same way. Just click and it disappears.
Let's see if we can hide this line, this reflection in the glass. To do that I'll just click and drag over part of the line. I like that, but I wish I'd hidden the whole line, so let me show you how you can delete a patch and start again. I'll press O on the keyboard again, so that we can see the overlay. Make sure you have the overlay selected that you want to delete, that will be marked in blue. If you have the wrong one just click on one of the other overlays. And then press Delete or Backspace on your keyboard and off it goes in a puff of smoke.
I'll press O again to hide the overlay and I'll try to remove that line again. Now here's a little trick that you can use if you're trying to remove a straight line and you can't seem to draw a straight line very well with your mouse. Click on one end of the line and then hold the shift key and click on the other end and that will remove the straight line. You can even remove some small areas or objects that aren't spots or lines by painting over them with this tool. So let's say I wanna remove this uneven area of reflections here I can just paint over this and it's gone.
Now that worked great in this case, but you don't always get this good of result, especially in an area with more complex content or with a large object, but for small areas and small objects it's worth a try. Notice that over in the controls there's a Mode control that you can change from Heal to Clone. Let's see what that does by trying to remove something larger. Now I'll tell you in advance, this isn't going to work very well, I'm just using it for demo purposes. So let's say I wanna cut off the statue's head. I'm gonna make my brush tip bigger by pressing the right bracket key on my keyboard a few times, and then I'll click and drag over her head.
Notice that not only did Lightroom sample from the wrong place, it seems to be sampling from part of the column, but it also made a smudge down here. And that smudge is a result of Lightroom trying to blend in the patch with the surrounding area. And you'll sometimes get this kind of a smudge when you're working on something dark against a light background or vice versa. So if you do get a smudge and you wanna fix it try coming over to the Mode menu in the controls and changing that from Heal to Clone.
So now what's happened is that Lightroom has made the patch, but it's not trying to blend it in. Of course, it still doesn't work well in this case, but I wanted you to see that Clone is an option. If you're wondering what these other sliders do keep your eye on that patch and you'll see that Feather makes the edge of a patch softer and Opacity let's you see through the patch. You won't use those that often though. So I'm gonna put those back to zero and then I'm going to delete this patch. I'll turn on the overlay to make sure I've got the right one and then I'll press Delete or Backspace on the keyboard and I'll press O again.
Let's see how we can use Heal and Clone together as we try to remove this crack in the glass. I wanna try to avoid a smudge as I remove this part of the crack near the wall. So I'll leave the Mode set to Clone for now, so that there's no attempt to blend over here. And then I'll click and that hides that part of the crack. Now I'm gonna make a second patch by clicking here and dragging and that removes the rest of the crack, but you really can see that patch. And so with that patch selected I'll go over and I'll change the Mode from Clone to Heal.
And that does a better job of blending that in. So the Healing Brush tool is great for removing spots and power lines and small objects, but it's not gonna work as well on larger objects or objects in more complex areas. For that you'll need to take your image over to Adobe Photoshop. And the good news is that there is an Edit in Photoshop feature built into Lightroom CC that lets the two programs work together. Let me just show you quickly where that is. It's over here in the three dot menu.
And from here you can choose Edit in Photoshop and that will open this image in Photoshop where you can make use of any of Photoshop's powerful retouching tools. And then when you're done over in Photoshop choose File, Save, not Save As, and when you return to Lightroom you'll have another copy of the image with your Photoshop edits stacked right along with the original.
- Adding photos from your computer or phone
- Working with the editing controls
- Adjusting lighting and color
- Removing objects
- Getting great looks with presets
- Adding lighting effects
- Controlling colors
- Copying edits to other photos
- Organizing and sharing your photos