Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Healing Brush tool, part of Photoshop CS4 Essential Training.
When you are removing blemishes from skin, you'll often be able to use the Spot Healing Brush, which I covered in another movie. But sometimes the Spot Healing Brush doesn't work for you. In that case, the next tool that I reach for is the Healing Brush, which I'll show you in this movie. I have two copies of the same image open, face_2.psd, and I opened the second copy, which I'll just use as a reference, by going to the Window menu at the top of the screen, choosing Arrange and choosing New Window for, and the name of the image. And then, I used the Two Up view from the Arrange Documents menu to get them both showing on the screen.
I would like to remove this rhinestone from the model's nose. I am going to try to do it with the Spot Healing Brush, which I have selected in the toolbox here. I'll click on the image on the left to make that the active one and then I'll zoom in and I'll use my Hand tool to move to the area around this nose jewelry. With the Spot Healing Brush, I should be able to just click on the spot and have it disappear. And it kind of does, but I still can see a part of it. At this point I might try to change the brush size for the Spot Healing Brush.
Sometimes a very hard brush will work better with this particular tool or I could try to use the Healing Brush instead. I am going to do the latter. So I am going to press Command+Z on a Mac or Ctrl+Z on a PC, to undo that last action. And then, I am going to go over to the toolbox again and I am going to choose the Healing Brush tool. The Healing Brush tool works just like the Spot Healing Brush, except there's one more thing that I have to do. I get to decide from where the brush is going to sample good pixels.
So I'll have to target the good pixels. With the Spot Healing Brush, the tool itself finds the good pixels. The first step with the Healing Brush is to go over to the Layers panel, and to click the Create New Layer icon at the bottom of that panel. And I am going to double-click the layer name, and call this one healing. Now I want to be sure to select the healing layer and then I am going to go up to the Options bar for the Healing Brush and I am going to choose from the Sample menu, either Current & Below or All Layers.
When I choose Current & Below, the Healing Brush is going to sample good pixels, not just by looking at the currently highlighted healing layer, but looking at the layer below as well, the Background layer, and that's the one I wanted to look at, but then it will lay down those good pixels on the healing layer. The advantage of working that way is I am not permanently impacting the photo on the Background layer, and I can then edit or throw away the healing layer if I don't like the result. One other choice I am going to make in the Options bar is to click Aligned.
When Aligned is selected, the source of the pixels will move along with me as I move the Healing Brush, and you'll see that as I work in this image. So I am going to now come into the image and I am going to choose the good pixels that I want to sample. To sample the pixels I'll hold the Option key down on a Mac, that's the Alt key on a PC. The cursor changes to this target symbol and I'll click. Then I will just move over the nose jewelry and Photoshop actually shows me a preview of those good pixels inside of the brush tip. So I know that looks like it's going to work.
I'll click there and when I move away, I have done a pretty good job of covering up that area. And the pixels that are laid down are automatically blended with the pixels on the layer below, in terms of color and tone and shading. I might click one more time there, with a bit smaller brush. I'll make my brush smaller by pressing the left bracket key. I'll go right next to what remains of that spot. I'll hold down the Option key on a Mac, the Alt key on a PC, click to sample some good pixels and go over the rest of that spot and click.
And now it looks great. You can never know that there had been some nose jewelry there. Now I am going to go over to the Layers panel and show you where those good pixels live. If I turn off the Background layer by clicking its eye icon, you can see just what's on the healing layer and there is that little patch that I just made with those two clicks. Because this patch lives on its own layer, I can throw it away or I can lower the opacity of the layer if I wish. I even could move these pixels. I am going to turn the Background layer back on and I am going to heal something else here. I see in the reference image that there's a scar on the forehead.
I am going to hold down the spacebar to change my cursor to a hand temporarily. And then I'll click and drag and go up there to that discolored area, and just as before I am going to hold down the Option key to target some good pixels and release my mouse and then come over the area to be healed. And then I am just going to drag over this area and if you see that little crosshair that's going with me, that is the source of the good pixels. And because I checked Aligned in the Options bar, that source is moving with me as I lay down the good pixels.
Rather than staying in one place, I will be sampling from the same spot, great. And I'll do that one more time. I'll sample from the left side this time and then I'll go over and release. Now sometimes, if you click and drag like that, you end up with a repeating pattern. So you want to be a little bit careful about clicking and dragging. Sometimes it's better to do a succession of little clicks instead of one click and drag. The Healing Brush works on all kinds of areas, not just blemishes. So to show you that I am going to scroll down to her lips.
And you can see that there is a crack in her lips here. I'll hold down the Option or Alt key, I'll click and then I am just going to do a succession of little clicks here. And when I get up to this lighter part, I am going to target some different pixels and then move over and cover there. So as you can see the Healing Brush gives you a little more control over retouching than the Spot Healing Brush does and I'll often use one tool, the Spot Healing Brush and then the other, the Healing Brush, to get to the point where the model's face is completely blemish free.
- Learning and customizing the interface and workspace
- Utilizing various manual and guided selection techniques
- Working with Adobe Camera Raw
- Adding special effects with layer styles and Smart Filters
- Creating Photomerge panoramas
- Optimizing photos for the web and creating web galleries
Skill Level Beginner
Q: How can artwork be transferred from Photoshop CS4 to Illustrator CS4 without the background?
A: Save the image in Photoshop’s native PSD format. The background in Photoshop must be transparent, meaning there should be no background layer. (To remove a background layer, move your artwork to a separate layer by selecting and copying the content, minus the background, to a new layer, and then delete the background layer. A checkboard pattern behind your image indicates transparent pixels.)
Q: How do I retouch an image I have of an old photograph I scanned?
A: There are a few courses that address image restoration. Check out the Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training course, and for problems dealing specifically with old photographs, watch the Restoration movies in chapter 15 of the Enhancing Digital Photography with Photoshop CS2. Additionally, learn how to research and date photos with our Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree course.
Q: A client has asked for artwork to be delivered as JPEGs or BMP files in 16-bit format. In Photoshop CS4, there does not appear to be an option to save an image as a 16-bit JPEG. Is there a way to save JPEG files as 16-bit in Photoshop?
A: Unfortunately, JPEGs cannot be saved in 16 bit. JPEGs, by nature, are 8-bit. So if you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS4, you will see no option in any of the save dialog boxes to save the file as a JPEG. You would first have to convert the image to 8 bit (by choosing Image > Mode > 8 bits/channel) and then save it as an 8-bit JPEG. If you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS5, you will see the option to save it as a JPEG in the Save, Save As, and Save for Web dialog boxes. But the JPEG will not be saved as 16-bit. Instead, Photoshop will downsample it to 8-bit for you before saving it as JPEG.