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How to Use Spot Healing Tool in Photoshop

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There are editing software programs that offer you the world. Photoshop is an all-inclusive machine that lets you complete any editing your images need.

Sometimes, you don’t need something really powerful. Sometimes, you just need to remove that tiny spot in your scene, giving it the power it deserves.

Read on to find out how to use the Spot Healing Tool in Photoshop.

Why Is the Spot Healing Tool Useful?

From birds in the sky to pesky dead pixels, the spot healing tool is the answer. This is a tool that you’ll find comes in handy in all sorts of situations.

You can use it for portraits, where blemishes ruin a potentially great image. That tourist in the background of your almost perfect shot of the Eiffel Tower is gone in a flash.

Personally, I use it for a range of things, especially with interior photography. Here, I can remove unsightly marks from couches, scuffs from a wall or remove whole items if I wish.

Where Can I Find the Spot Healing Tool in Photoshop?

The spot healing tool is located in the Tools panel, under the Spot Healing Brush tool in Photoshop.

Here, you can adjust the size and strength of the Spot Healing Brush tool to fit the situation.

How to Use Spot Healing Tool in Photoshop

There are a few ways you can use the Spot Healing tool, not to mention a few different modes.

If you are unsure how each works, it is best to try them out. Use Ctrl + Z (PC) to go back and try again if need by. Sometimes you only need a ‘zap’, and the issue has gone.

At other times, it might call for a little more time and patience, especially with larger items.

Here are the three types.

Proximity Match

This type looks at the area around the spot and analyses it. This way, the tool is able to identify and locate the best sample to take the information from.

The data from this sample is then applied to the tool, allowing you to replace the blemishes or marks by painting over it.

This is great type to use for small spots, such as dead pixels. But, it isn’t the best type to use for larger areas.

The larger the area, the more data the tool has to analyse and draw its information from. This could mean not getting the colour or texture exactly right.

It is best to use a small sized brush for this, getting great results when the brush is smaller than the area you are trying to fix.

As it is a brush, and will constantly re-evaluate the area, you can paint over something rather than just zapping it away with one click.

Create Texture

Proximity Match is great for colours and exposure, but what about texture. This is where the Create Texture comes in.

It works in a similar way, in that the tool in this mode pulls information from around the spot’s area. But, it will create a texture or pattern based on what it finds from the surrounding area.

This allows you to blend in, and repair using textures, otherwise, the area would stick out like a sore thumb.


The content-aware type is the most intelligent system to use. This works out, from analysing the surrounding area, the best way to fill and cover up the spot.

Something like this is great to use as a brush, rather than a quick zap. This is because the brush keeps re-evaluating the areas surrounding what you are fixing.

I have used this on wires, cables, and all sorts of things found in rooms that clients want to have photographed.

As this has the most complicated way of spot healing, it is, therefore, the most complicated to use. You need to be a little deft to use this type to its full potential.

You might not get it all in one go, and as the area changes, you’ll notice that the brush size and strength also plays an important role. The direction of the brush is also important, so try different directions.

Take your time. Use the ‘undo’ button as much as you need to, and try again until it looks right. Use short strokes.

NB: With this type, you want to stop and start many times – don’t try and do it in one go. By clicking on the undo button, you go back to the last time you took your finger off the mouse or trackpad. If you spend a long time doing it in one go and make a tiny mistake, you’ll need to do it all over again.

There is nothing from stopping you from using all three types if you need to. I have worked on images in the past where I tried with the first two brushes and then ended with the Content Aware type.

Why Not Use the Photoshop Healing Brush Tool?

The Photoshop healing brush tool is a great way to blend in areas that contain blemishes or marks. So why don’t we use this instead?

Well, they both do a similar thing, yet they sample the surrounding areas differently.

For example, the healing brush allows the user to choose a source from which to take the information from. This can be chosen and then re-designated again and again.

The spot healing brush looks beyond the strokes and texture, incorporating colours, shapes and anything else it feels fit to include.

With particular shapes, the spot healing brush places what it thinks you want to go there. The Photoshop healing brush is a little more intuitive but comes with a higher skill level.

Why not check out our articles on how to use the clone stamp tool or patch tool, or how to replace a face in Photoshop next!

Retouch and repair photos

某些 Creative Cloud 应用程序、服务和功能在中国不可用。

Using a variety of Photoshop tools, you can easily touch up blemishes, whiten teeth, correct red eye, and fix many other imperfections in your images.

Photoshop doesn’t support opening or editing banknotes or currency notes. See Counterfeit Deterrence System (CDS).

About the Clone Source panel

The Clone Source panel (Window > Clone Source) has options for the Clone Stamp tools or Healing Brush tools. You can set up to five different sample sources and quickly select the one you need without resampling each time you change to a different source. You can view an overlay of your sample source to make it easier to clone the source in a specific location. You can also scale or rotate the sample source to better match the size and orientation of the cloning destination.

For timeline-based animations, the Clone Source panel also has options for specifying the frame relationship between the sample source video/animation frame and the target video/animation frame. See also Cloning content in video and animation frames.

Retouch with the Clone Stamp tool

The Clone Stamp tool paints one part of an image over another part of the same image or over another part of any open document that has the same color mode. You can also paint part of one layer over another layer. The Clone Stamp tool is useful for duplicating objects or removing a defect in an image.

You can also use the Clone Stamp tool to paint content on video or animation frames. See also Cloning content in video and animation frames.

To use the Clone Stamp tool, you set a sampling point on the area you want to copy (clone) the pixels from and paint over another area. To paint with the most current sampling point whenever you stop and resume painting, select the Aligned option. Deselect the Aligned option to paint starting from the initial sampling point no matter how many times you stop and resume painting.

You can use any brush tip with the Clone Stamp tool, which gives you precise control over the size of the clone area. You can also use opacity and flow settings to control the paint application to the cloned area.

Day 15: How to Use Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop

Hey, guys! Welcome to my another tutorial from 30 Days to Learn Photoshop Series. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to use Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop. For the demo, I’ll be removing wrinkles from this beautiful lady’s face.

Unlike Spot Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop, Healing Brush is a tool is not only for minute flaws but also works for removal bigger imperfections. To demo this, let’s remove the wrinkles together.

Before I go further, let me show you the final image. Note that I could have easily taken the whole wrinkles out but that would’ve made the image looks unnatural.


Let’s begin with the tutorial.

What is Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop?

Healing Brush tool in Photoshop is a brush tool that creates a pattern on the brushed area either by using Photoshop’s Content Aware technology or by matching its nearby pixels.

Where is Healing Brush Tool located in Photoshop?

You can activate this tool either by grabbing it from the tool panel or pressing Shift+J again and again until it comes.

How to Use Spot Healing Brush Tool

It’s pretty much simple to use Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop.

Step 1: Activate Healing Brush Tool

As shown above, you need to activate it by either grabbing from the tool panel or press Shift+J again and again until it comes.

Step 2: Select Source

To use Healing Brush Tool, you need to select “Source” first. By choosing the source, you are telling Photoshop that you need this area to be used on the flaws.

In the below image, I need to use the area on which I have placed the cursor. Now, when I remove the wrinkle, Photoshop will know that it needs to take this part as a reference to remove the wrinkle.

To select source, you need to hold down Option/Alt key.

Step 3: Brush on the Flaw

Create a new layer so that you are doing non-destructive editing. Now brush on the flaw. In the below image, the blue rectangle shows our brush and yellow rectangle shows our source.

Photoshop calls the brush that is surrounded by:

  • Blue color as “Target”
  • Yellow color as “Source”

Step 4: Decrease the Opacity

Let’s decrease the opacity to 45% to keep this image looking natural.

Option Bar of Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop

As soon as you activate this tool, you might have noticed that the option bar has changed. To make this tool even more effective, we can make use of this option bar.

Let’s understand each tweak one by one.

  1. Mode: This is something that we had already discussed in details on Blend Modes . This option lets you choose blend mode of the picture.
  2. Source: If we choose Sampled, Photoshop lets us choose the source that it can use as a reference to remove the flaw. This is what I chose the demo the above tutorial. If we choose Pattern, Photoshop will create a pattern to remove the flaw. In my opinion, it makes the image even more of flaw.
  3. Aligned: This is what I keep turned on most of the time. What this keeps is that it keeps the Source brush and Target brush aligned. In case you are having difficulty understand this feature, simply turn it off and try to use Healing brush tool.
  4. Sample: This lets you dec > Time to wrap up this tutorial. I hope that you have enjoyed it. If you have any doubt, don’t forget to ask it in the comment section below.

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How to Use the Healing Tool in Photoshop


We all have those moments in our photographic careers where things just don’t pan out exactly how we imagined them. Our image is almost exactly as we imagined it to be, but perhaps there are some spots, blemishes, marks or distractions that just don’t fit in the frame.

In most cases, all the elements of the image tend to work together to tell the story, but sometimes we just to clean the image up a tad, to get rid of some of the distracting elements that take away from that story. Luckily, most editing software, including Photoshop, have very easy, yet powerful tools, that you can use to clean up your image and get rid of the distractions.

The Healing Tool in Photoshop

This article provides a basic explanation of the Healing Tool in Photoshop, that is very effective in removing or cleaning out distracting elements in an image. For the purposes of this article, I am using Photoshop version CS6. The Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop is made of three parts. These are probably the most used tools in the healing tool family, and 90% of the time they get the job done.

  • Spot Healing Brush Tool
  • Healing Brush Tool
  • Patch Tool

The Healing tool in PS has the bandaid icon. When clicked, it opens up this menu. You can also click the J key on your keyboard to access this tool.

Here is an example of a simple landscape image that was cleaned up using the Spot Healing Brush Tool, and the Healing Brush Tool.

Original Image – SOOC. I am looking to clean out some of the distracting elements here like the ‘Road curves’ sign on the right, the dead bushes on the left and the little tree on the top of the hill to the left of the image.

The first step, before any cleanup is done, is to perform any basic edits to the image. I consider adjustments in exposure, contrast and temperature to be basic adjustments. For this image, I increased the exposure and added some contrast, to highlight the browns in the hillside. This image was taken from a stopped car because I really liked the curve in the road along the small hill on the top right side. But I wanted to get rid of the road sign and the dead branches on the sides of the road leading up to the hill.

Once I brightened and adjusted the contrast of the image, I created a new layer in PS to add my cleanup edits. I called it, “Clean up layer” for easy identification. This keeps all the cleanup elements together, so I can toggle between the On and Off to see the affects of the cleanup at any time (toggling a layer On and Off is done by clicking on the eyeball symbol to the left of the layer.)

The Spot Healing Brush Tool is used for quick, easy cleanups. Once you select the it, and adjust the size of the brush (use the left square bracket key [ to decrease size of the brush and right square bracket key ] to increase the size), you simply click on the blemish to remove it. Also set Sample to “Current & Below” or “All Layers” so it will pull pixels from your base layer (otherwise you’re just healing with a blank layer).

The Spot Healing Brush automatically selects the source area from which to clone. So sometimes it might not be completely accurate, because the software is making the judgement on where is the best source to take a sample. A good tip is to zoom in to the specific area and watch the pixels closely while making the adjustments. The Spot Healing Brush works best on small areas and easy cleanups.

The Healing Brush Tool

I use the Healing Brush Tool is for slightly more complex cleanups, especially areas that have sharp edges, curved, or straight lines that separate areas of different textures and color. As you can see here, the top of the hill has a small tree which sticks out against the overcast sky. For more accurate editing, zoom in to the area that needs to be edited, so as to eliminate any errors. It is hard to be completely accurate if you are not zoomed in accurately to the specific area that needs to be edited.

Once selected, theHealing Brush Tool requires you to set a source point from which to heal the affected area (that is the easiest way to think about the healing action, in my opinion). I set the right size of the brush (use the [ ] keys to increase or decrease brush size, OR click on the slider as shown in the image below), then I select the edge of the line closest in texture to the source area. Holding my cursor down (holding down the mouse button), I drag the cursor from start to finish over the object to be removed.

The Patch Tool

I use the Patch Tool in Photoshop for any bigger areas that need to be adjusted. For example, in the image below, there are many sign posts along the road that are larger. I could use the healing brush tool but it would be a little bit more time-consuming as I would have to go over the adjustments several times, to clean it out completely. Instead I used the Patch Tool to fix the affected spot, and replace it with another area sampled from the surrounding landscape. Using the Patch Tool, select the area to be cleaned up, then select the area close to it to sample from, to do the patch.

Notes about the Patch Tool:

  • To do your editing non-destructively use the patch tool on a duplicate layer (it cannot be an empty layer).
  • You must select a Patch type as Normal or Content Aware. For most things Content Aware does a better job, so try that first and resort to Normal if it doesn’t work.
  • If you select Normal you have to choose either Source or Destination. The difference is that when Source is highlighted, the area you select will be Patched with the area you drag it over to. When Destination is highlighted the area you select will be cloned over to the area you move it to.

Final image where all the posts, signs and snow measurement sticks have been removed using a combination of patch tool, spot healing brush and healing brush tool.

As you can see, the healing tools in Photoshop are quite effective. With such a wide variety of options, any cleanup is easy and effective. One tip that I have learnt from experience is to do all the adjustments while zooming in to the affected area. This ensures that right amount of cleanup is done to all the pixels. If you find that the cleanup effect is too stark and harsh, an easy fix is to adjust the Opacity (i.e. visibility) of the cleanup layer. Especially when cleaning up blemishes on the face, this gives a more natural, blended effect. There is no right opacity percentage, simply choose the value that seems more natural to the eye.

How do you use the Healing Tools in Photoshop? Please share in the comments below.

Photoshop Healing Tools: Spot Healing and Healing Brush Tools

Cleaning up a photo is one of the first things I do when bringing a photo into Photoshop. I want to remove all the imperfections so they are not pronounced by any other editing I may do. Below I’m going to cover the Spot Healing Brush and the Healing Brush, great tools for clean-up work!

Spot Healing Brush Tool

The Spot Healing Brush Tool is great for removing ‘spots’ – pimples, crumbs, flakes, small scratches, and other blemishes on your photo that are spot-like in nature.

The Spot Healing Brush Tool is available in the Tools panel or by using the shortcut ‘J’ (hit shift + J to cycle through the healing tools):

In this example, there is a small scratch on her chin we are going to fix with the Spot Healing Brush Tool (we will fix the stray hairs later):

1. With the Spot Healing Brush Tool selected, zoom into the area at 100%, adjust your brush size, and place the cursor over the area:

2. Simply click! The spot is gone like magic.

Just like with the Brush tool, you can vary the brush size and opacity as necessary.

Healing Brush Tool

The Healing Brush Tool is great for stray hairs, longer scratches, and other irregularly-shaped areas where you want to replicate texture from another part of your image. It is located under the Spot Healing Brush Tool (or hold down Shift while tapping J until it comes up).

The Healing Brush is similar to the Spot Healing Brush, but you must first select a Source before using the brush. In other words, you must first tell Photoshop the texture with which you want to ‘heal’ the problem area.

Using the same image as above, we are going to clean up the stray hairs.

1. To select the Source, hold down the Alt key and click on a nearby area of ‘clean’ skin. Holding down Alt will bring up a target-like cursor

2. Now that your Source is selected, click and drag the cursor over the hair in small strokes. That way, if you mess up, you can undo a small section instead of an entire area. To make the edit more believable, it’s also helpful to select a new Source as you go by Alt + clicking on fresh areas every few strokes. (Your cursor is the circle, and the ‘Source’ you selected is shown as crosshairs. The crosshairs will move as your cursor moves).

Here is the affected section of the image after we have used the Spot Healing and Healing Brush Tools:

If you are on a computer, rollover the image below for a Before and After:

Again, like the brush tool, the opacity and brush size can be modified as necessary.

I want to point out that the Healing Brush Tool does not clone the area of skin from your Source, but it will take the texture from the Source and blend it with the color of the area you’re fixing. If you truly want to duplicate the pixels from another area of your photo, you’ll want to use the Clone Stamp Tool. 😉

Happy editing!! And thanks so much for stopping by, I appreciate you being here!

How to Use the Spot Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop


Like Einstien and the Healing Brush Tool had a baby! Remove blemishes from portraits using the power of Content Aware!

In this tutorial, learn when to use the Spot Healing Brush to remove pimples, stray hairs, and goobers from photos.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

What is the Spot Healing Brush?

One of the best healing brushes in Photoshop is the Spot Healing Brush. This is a touch better than the traditional Healing Brush because it doesn’t require a source to work. Whether you want to remove blemishes on the skin or paint over large areas of an object during a manipulation, you can use the spot healing tool. It’s a easier to use than the regular Healing Brush too.

Features and Modes of Operation

  • Proximity Match: This option reads the pixel data around the blemish and matches based on what’s closest. Imagine you’re fixing a pimple on a model’s face. The Spot Healing Brush will literally zap the blemish using the skin tone next to the blemish for reference. This mode is the easiest to use because you don’t have to do anything extra.
  • Create Texture: This mode will take a look at the surrounding pixels and create a texture map of the data it finds. It will use this map to approximate the colors that should be used to repair the spot you’re trying to fix. It’s an automatic way to fill in the blemish, line or spot you’d like healed.
  • Content-Aware Fill: If you’re not quite sure which option to use, you can let Photoshop make that decision for you. The Spot Healing Brush is basically a blending mode that allows you to take colors from the nearby pixels to replace the spot or blemish.

The Best Uses of the Healing Brush

It’s simple to use this tool for your workflow to fix a wide range of problem areas on an image.

  • Removing lines: It doesn’t matter what method or mode you choose as much as the way in which you apply the fix. For example, you can remove telephone lines from an image quite easily with the Healing Brush. Lines in a person’s face can be fixed with this healing tool too.
  • Imperfections in the image: If you’re taking images outdoors, you can’t always control the wind or the model’s hair. The spot healing tool makes removing stray hairs incredibly simple. Imperfections in the image like those from candid shots can be fixed too. Baby photographers use this to get smooth skin on their tiny models.
  • Blemishes: When you’re fixing blemishes and imperfections on a model’s skin, the Spot Healing Brush is one of the easiest to use. It’ll take pixels from the surrounding image and make the fix.

The Spot Healing Brush might seem like a clone tool, but it has to be applied strategically to get the best result. You’re leaving much to Photoshop’s ability to be intelligent and pick the right pixels for healing.

To see more tips on using this and other Photoshop tools, be sure to check out our tutorial video.

How to Use the Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop


Got a Boo Boo? We’ll make it feel all better with the Healing Brush Tool.

In this tutorial, learn to quickly remove blemishes from portraits with the all powerful Healing Brush Tool.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

What is the Healing Brush

One of the first tools included with Photoshop was the Clone Stamp tool. The tool was one of the most versatile and useful in the Photoshop toolbox, and it has since spawned a host of similar tools that work on the same principle but accomplish slightly different tasks. One specialized version of the Clone Stamp tool is the Healing Brush. Here is an overview of the Healing Brush, along with a breakdown of what it does, what it’s used for and when you want to use it.

How the Healing Brush Tool Works

Like the Clone Stamp tool, the Healing Brush takes pixels around the area you select and “clones” them so that you can apply them to another part of the image. The Clone Stamp tool is generally the best tool for replacing large areas of pixels, such as if you want to replace a person standing behind the main subject in a beach photo. The Healing Brush, however, is better for smaller, finer work such as removing scars, large tattoos or a stray strand of hair blowing across someone’s face, particularly when you want the finished look to blend in smoothly and seamlessly with the original background.

The Clone Stamp tool will replace an exact arrangement of pixels, but the Healing Brush is a much more elegant and intuitive tool. This tool actually analyzes the area around your selection to match hue, balance, saturation and tone. This creates a smooth and seamless “patch.”

When to Use This Tool

In modern vernacular, when someone talks about a model or public figure being “photoshopped,” what they are often talking about is the use of the Healing Brush to remove wrinkles, cellulite, freckles, spots and other unsightly blemishes or signs of aging. If you are a little too heavy with the tool, it can leave you with a smooth, almost airbrushed look that doesn’t appear at all natural but does look good on magazine covers. For much finer-detail work, such as removing spots or blemishes from someone’s face, you can also use the Spot Healing Brush.

Enhancing faces and skin is not the only use for the Healing Brush. If you have a wide, scenic, panoramic picture with an ugly dead tree or car marring the view, you can remove it with the Healing Brush. This tool is best for detail work, however, due to the way it analyzes adjacent pixels to fix a small spot. To fix a larger section, you should use a different tool like the Patch tool. When you use the Patch and Healing Brush tools together, you can come up with a far smoother and more seamless look than you would with Clone Stamp alone.

For more tips, trick and helpful Photoshop hints, check out our wide selection of video tutorials!

What is Spot Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop?

Welcome to Get to Know: Photoshop series. Today we’ll be discussing one of the most important tools in Photoshop, Spot Healing Brush Tool.

You might have seen Photoshop doing some magic tricks like removing some object, removing blemishes, removing scars etc. All those things are basically done by Spot Healing Tool. To get the perfect result, we sometimes use Healing Brush Tool and Clone Stamp Tool as well. Anyways, Healing Brush Tool and Clone Stamp Tool will be discussed in coming tutorials.

As the name says, Spot Healing Tool is a perfect healer. It really heals your image from all those distracting things. I remember a wrote an article about Removing Blemishes using Photoshop where I used Spot Healing Brush Tool as well as Healing Brush Tool years ago. You can check that tutorial out to estimate the power of this tool. In fact, this tool will surely be your best friend if you are a portrait or wedding photographer.

As usual, this tutorial will be divided into two parts. In the first part we will see how this tool works and in the second part, we’ll go to the advanced techniques.

Section 1: Spot Healing Brush Tool Basics

Look at the below image. Suppose in this image I want to remove the right spaceship.

For this task, lot of options are there in Photoshop to remove the unwanted spaceship. But for the sake of the tutorial, I am going with Spot Healing Brush Tool.

Now to activate Spot Healing Brush Tool, you need to either grab it from the tool panel or press Shift+J again and again until it comes.

Now all you need to do is to click on the unwanted object (spaceship here) a few times until it is completely gone. You can also drag your mouse from the top of the spaceship to the bottom of the spaceship but the result may not be perfect. That is why it is better not to drag the mouse and click on the object multiple times until it is completely gone.

After clicking 19 times, here’s the result. Almost perfect, isn’t it?

So I think it’s a good time to tell how Spot Healing Brush Tool works as you have just seen the final result of this brush. Whenever this brush is used, it looks at the nearby pixels and tries to fill the objects with the nearby pixels. In this image, the Spot Healing Brush Tool tries to take the sample from the nearby pixels, that is the clouds, and try to fill the spaceship with the nearby sampled pixels. This is why the spaceship is just replaced with the clouds.

I think we have done enough to understand the basics. Now let’s move to section 2 where we will deal with some advanced techniques.

Section 2: Spot Healing Brush Tool Advance

Like any other tools in Photoshop, Spot Healing Brush Tool also comes with its own option box. Your option bar should also look like the one shown below. I am going to explain each and every option one by one.

1: Mode:

This deals with the blend mode of the brush. This is something that we have never talked about in Get to Know: Photoshop series. Anyways, I have already written an article on Blending Modes in Photoshop a while ago.

Generally, Replace mode works fine for soft round brush because it preserves some textures as well as details around the brush. But it should be perfect if you go with Normal mode always. I think that I have never used any other blending mode for Spot Healing Brush Tool in my 6 years Photoshop experience.

2: Proximity Match:

As I have already given a brief idea about the working of Spot Healing Brush Tool in Section 1 so I guess you should have already guessed the function of this option. This setting tells Photoshop to look just at the edges of the brush to match the pixels.

3: Create Texture:

Use this option if you want to put a lot of details in your object. If this option is turned on, instead of looking outside, Photoshop will look inside the object to fill the object.

4: Content-Aware:

This is something like sorcery. When this option is turned on, Photoshop automatically creates the pixels by analyzing the nearby pixels and tries to fill the object. If you are using an old version of Photoshop, you may not see it.

The only way to see the power of Content-Aware is to try it out again and again.

5: Sample All Layers:

If you are following Get to Know: Photoshop series from the beginning, you might have encountered with this option several times. All the time, this option performs the same work.

If it is turned on, Photoshop will take all the layers into consideration while healing your image. If it is turned off, Photoshop only considers the active layer.

6: Always use Pressure for Size:

This option is only for those people who use graphic tablets.

If this options is turned, Photoshop will enlarge the brush size depending upon the pressure you are creating on the tablet’s screen with your stylus. More the pressure, more will be the size.

Using The Healing Brush Tool In Photoshop [Tutorial]

Table of Contents

Using The Healing Brush Tool In Photoshop [Tutorial]

Photoshop is a photographer’s best friend. Have you ever taken what you thought was a perfect photo only to realize afterwards there were a bunch of distracting spots or blemishes? Fortunately, there’s a handy tool that can magically eliminate these annoying distractions. Keep reading to learn how to use the healing brush tool in Photoshop, a phenomenal editing software.

Check out how much better the second image looks than the first.

Here’s the original image:

There are five different tools in the healing tools toolbox. In this post, I want to talk about the first two tools; the spot healing brush tool and the healing brush tool. They are two of the most used tools in the Photoshop tool bar. They’re awesome for smoothing skin, and removing unnecessary elements from the background of an image.

The Spot Healing Brush Tool

The spot healing brush tool is the 7th tool from the top in the toolbar, and the first of the healing tools. The shortcut key is the letter “J” on the keyboard. You’ll always see the short command to the right of the tool. See below:

Before I start editing with the healing tools, I complete all my basic edits, such as cropping, correcting exposure and color balance, and dodging and burning. To begin using the spot healing brush tool, first create a new layer so you can toggle your layers on and off to see your progress.

Go to “Layer,” “New,” and “New Layer:”

You’ll see this box pop up. Name your layer. I’m naming mine “Blemish Removal.”

Open an image you want to edit. I chose the one below because it’s the perfect type of photo for using the spot healing tool. As you can see, the girl’s complexion needs some work!

Learn Photo Editing

To begin editing, I select the spot healing brush tool while working on my new layer. To make the brush bigger or smaller, press the [ ] keys. To remove each blemish, I’ll I need to do is place my brush, using my mouse cursor or stylus pen, on the area I want to remove.

Simply click this area with your brush, and presto the blemish is gone. To change the brush size, hardness, angle, and pen pressure, go to the brush icon on the top, left hand side of the screen. Now press the drop down area to see these controls, and adjust them accordingly.

Here’s what the edited image looks like:

Much better, right?

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Healing Brush Tool

The spot healing brush tool is the default healing tool, and is similar to the healing brush tool, however it does not require a source point. Both brushes are adept at fixing imperfections in an image, but the healing brush tool does so by sampling the surrounding area, in order to blend the edited area, into the rest of the image. It is more applicable for editing larger areas that require more complex editing.

Unlike the spot healing brush tool, when using the healing brush tool, you’ll need to press the “Option” key to sample a source point before editing. It behaves quite similar to the clone stamp tool.

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Watch the video below for how to use the spot healing brush tool and healing brush tool in real time:

Key Points

Photoshop is the premiere editing software for photographers, developers, and graphic designers. The healing brush tools are indispensable for eliminating distracting spots and marks from an image. Because I’m a portrait photographer, I use them extensively for removing blemishes and smoothing skin tone, and rely heavily on these tools to transform a good image into a great one!

What’s your favorite tool in Photoshop? Let me know in the comments:)

Healing brush

Figure 14.96. The “ Heal tool ” in the Toolbox

This tool was once described as “ The healing brush looks like a smart clone tool on steroids ” . And indeed the Healing Tool is a close relative to the Clone Tool, but it is more smart to remove small failures in images. A typical usage is the removal of wrinkles in photographs. To do so, pixels are not simply copied from source to destination, but the area around the destination is taken into account before cloning is applied. The algorithm used for this, is described in a scientific paper by Todor Georgiev [GEORGIEV01 ].

To use it, first choose a brush with a size adapted to the defect. Then Ctrl -click on the area you want to reproduce. Release the Ctrl key and drag the sample to the defect. Click. If the defect is slight, not very different from its surrounding, it will be corrected as soon. Else, you can correct it with repeated clicks, but with a risk of daubing.

3.13.1. Activating the Tool

There are different possibilities to activate the tool:

From the image-menu: Tools → Paint tools → Heal ,

or by clicking the tool icon: in the Toolbox,

or by clicking on the H keyboard shortcut.

3.13.2. Key modifiers (Defaults)

The Ctrl key is used to select the source. You can heal from any layer of any image, by clicking on the image display, with the Ctrl key held down, while the layer is active (as shown in the Layers dialog). If Alignment is set to “ Non-aligned ” or “ Aligned ” in Tool Options, then the point you click on becomes the origin for healing: the image data at that point will be used when you first begin painting with the Heal tool. In source-selection mode, the cursor changes to a crosshair-symbol.


Once the source is set, if you press this key, you will see a thin line connecting the previously clicked point with the current pointer location. If you click again, while going on holding the Shift key down, the tool will “ heal ” along this line.

3.13.3. Options

Figure 14.97. Heal Tool options

Normally, tool options are displayed in a window attached under the Toolbox as soon as you activate a tool. If they are not, you can access them from the image menu bar through Windows → Dockable Windows → Tool Options which opens the option window of the selected tool.

See the Common Paint Tool Options for a description of tool options that apply to many or all paint tools.

Hard edge : this option gives a hard contour to the healed area.

If you enable this option, healing is not calculated only from the values of the active layer, but from all visible layers.

See Section 3.12, “Clone” for using Sample Merged in non-destructive image editing.

This option is described in Clone tool.

3.13.4. Healing is not cloning

Although the Heal tool has common features with the Clone tool on using, the result is quite different.

Figure 14.98. Comparing “ Clone ” and “ Heal ”

Cloning on the left. All colors are transferred.

Healing on the right. Colors are much less transferred, especially on borders where surrounding pixels of destination are taken in account.

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