Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Patch tool, part of Photoshop CS4 Essential Training.
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When you're retouching, there are times when it doesn't make sense to use the Healing Brush or the Spot Healing Brush. For example, when you have a large area to do a way with, like these long strands of hair. I could try to eliminate those with the Healing Brush, but it would probably take a while and I run the risk of leaving the marks of brush tips as I do that. So, instead I'm going to use the Patch tool, which is the subject of this movie. You'll notice I've two copies of this image open. The one on the right is just a reference copy, so that I can see how my changes look in a complete view of the model's face when I am zoomed in and working on the image on the left.
And I got the reference copy by going to the Window menu at the top of the screen and choosing Arrange and then choosing New Window for face_3.psd ,which is the image I'm working on here. Now if you look in the Layers panel, you can see that I have already done some work on this image. The bottom layer is just the photograph. The next layer is a layer on which I did some work with the Healing Brush. I'm going to hold down the Option key on a Mac or the Alt key on a PC as I click on the Eye icon to the left of the Healing layer.
That turns off all the other layers, because I just want to show you what's on the Healing layer. These few patches that I'd already made with the Healing Brush. I'll Option+Click or Alt+Click again on that eye icon to bring back the other layer. My tool of choice for the next bit of retouching is the Patch tool and that's located here behind the Healing Brush. From the flyout menu, I'll choose Patch tool. Now I'm going to look in the Options bar and I see that I have no option for healing onto a blank separate layer as I do with the Healing Brush and the Spot Healing Brush.
So if I look in the Layers panel, I realize that I could use the patching tool directly on this photo layer, the Background layer, but since there is no way to sample the pixels from that layer without actually having that layer selected, my other choice is to make a composite of both layers together and use the Patch tool on the composite. To make that composite, I'll first select the top layer in the layers stack. Then I'll hold down the Option key on a Mac or the Alt key on a PC and I'll go to the Layers panel menu here and I'm going to choose Merge Visible.
That stamps the content of all the layers below onto this new Layer 1. I'm going to rename Layer 1 by double- clicking its name and I'll call this merged patch and hit Return or Enter on the keyboard. Now with this new merged patch composite layer selected, I'll go over to the document window on the right and I'll click there to make that window active and then I'm going to take my Patch tool and I'm just going to drag around these hairs right here. I'm leaving the little cowlick at the top out of this.
I don't mind having those in the image, but I don't want these long strands hanging in the model's face. And I'll come back to the beginning of the selection and now I see the marching ants of the selection. You don't have to use the Patch tool to make the selection. You can use any of your selection tools, and then select the Patch tool in the toolbox. Now that I have that selection, I'm going to check my Options bar and I see that Patch is set to Source and that's exactly the way I want it to set when I Lasso the bad pixels in an image, rather than the good pixels that I want to use to cover the bad pixels.
If I wanted to start by lassoing the good pixels, I would click Destination first. So, I usually leave this at Source, lasso the bad pixels, and then I click inside of the selected area and I drag to an area of good pixels. So I'll drag here to my right and as I do, I can see on top of the strands of hair, a preview of what the good pixels are going to look like when I release my mouse. So I will release my mouse and I have patched right over the strands of hair. I'm going to press Command+D on a Mac or Ctrl+D on a PC to deselect that selection, and that's the result.
The Patch tool not only covers up the bad pixels, it also blends the patch in to the surrounding pixels in terms of color, tone, and shading. Pretty amazing! Now I'll just go on and do that with this other long strand of hair. I'll come down here and I'll get around the bottom of it, and I'll come up. I don't want to take everything away up there, because that won't look real anymore. We'll do something like this and then I'll drag all of that over to a clean area of good pixels and release, and I've healed that other area as well.
I'll press Command+D on a Mac, Ctrl+D on a PC, to deselect. Then I could come in with the Healing Brush or the Spot Healing Brush, clean up this other strands, and maybe fix this area here which looks a little bit like she had a whack job of a haircut there. So that's the Patch tool, which you use to clean up larger areas when you're doing retouching.
- 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