Skip to main content

photo & video

Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 52 of 118

Healing and Spot Healing Brush

Blake Rudis

Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Blake Rudis

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

52. Healing and Spot Healing Brush


Class Trailer

Bootcamp Introduction


The Bridge Interface


Setting up Bridge


Overview of Bridge


Practical Application of Bridge


Introduction to Raw Editing


Setting up ACR Preferences & Interface


Global Tools Part 1


Global Tools Part 2


Local Tools


Introduction to the Photoshop Interface


Toolbars, Menus and Windows


Setup and Interface


Adobe Libraries


Saving Files


Introduction to Cropping


Cropping for Composition in ACR


Cropping for Composition in Photoshop


Cropping for the Subject in Post


Cropping for Print


Perspective Cropping in Photoshop


Introduction to Layers


Vector & Raster Layers Basics


Adjustment Layers in Photoshop


Organizing and Managing Layers


Introduction to Layer Tools and Blend Modes


Screen and Multiply and Overlay


Soft Light Blend Mode


Color and Luminosity Blend Modes


Color Burn and Color Dodge Blend Modes


Introduction to Layer Styles


Practical Application: Layer Tools


Introduction to Masks and Brushes


Brush Basics


Custom Brushes


Brush Mask: Vignettes


Brush Mask: Curves Dodge & Burn


Brush Mask: Hue & Saturation


Mask Groups


Clipping Masks


Masking in Adobe Camera Raw


Practical Applications: Masks


Introduction to Selections


Basic Selection Tools


The Pen Tool


Masks from Selections


Selecting Subjects and Masking


Color Range Mask


Luminosity Masks Basics


Introduction to Cleanup Tools


Adobe Camera Raw


Healing and Spot Healing Brush


The Clone Stamp Tool


The Patch Tool


Content Aware Move Tool


Content Aware Fill


Custom Cleanup Selections


Introduction to Shapes and Text


Text Basics


Shape Basics


Adding Text to Pictures


Custom Water Marks


Introduction to Smart Objects


Smart Object Basics


Smart Objects and Filters


Smart Objects and Image Transformation


Smart Objects and Album Layouts


Smart Objects and Composites


Introduction to Image Transforming


ACR and Lens Correction


Photoshop and Lens Correction


The Warp Tool


Perspective Transformations


Introduction to Actions in Photoshop


Introduction to the Actions Panel Interface


Making Your First Action


Modifying Actions After You Record Them


Adding Stops to Actions


Conditional Actions


Actions that Communicate


Introduction to Filters


ACR as a Filter


Helpful Artistic Filters


Helpful Practical Filters


Sharpening with Filters


Rendering Trees


The Oil Paint and Add Noise Filters


Introduction to Editing Video


Timeline for Video


Cropping Video


Adjustment Layers and Video


Building Lookup Tables


Layers, Masking Video & Working with Type


ACR to Edit Video


Animated Gifs


Introduction to Creative Effects


Black, White, and Monochrome


Matte and Cinematic Effects


Gradient Maps and Solid Color Grades




Glow and Haze


Introduction to Natural Retouching


Brightening Teeth


Clean Up with the Clone Stamp Tool


Cleaning and Brightening Eyes


Advanced Clean Up Techniques


Introduction to Portrait Workflow & Bridge Organization


ACR for Portraits Pre-Edits


Portrait Workflow Techniques


Introduction to Landscape Workflow & Bridge Organization


Landscape Workflow Techniques


Introduction to Compositing & Bridge


Composite Workflow Techniques


Landscape Composite Projects


Bonus: Rothko and Workspace


Bonus: Adding Textures to Photos


Bonus: The Mask (Extras)


Bonus: The Color Range Mask in ACR


Lesson Info

Healing and Spot Healing Brush

The Healing brush and the Spot Healing brush are very similar to what you would see in Adobe Camera Raw, with the Spot Removal tool. They just work in a slightly different way, in that the regular Healing brush, the Spot Healing brush, I should say, is a lot like what you would see in Adobe Camera Raw. When you click it, it will find a spot that looks like it based on what you're telling it to look like and it will replace it. And what we have with that is we have a couple different options here. Breaking down any one of our tools that we click on is always a good habit to see exactly what it's giving you. We look up here, we can see that the Healing brush is technically a brush. Not a brush like a paintbrush, but it is a brush that has a selection ability to it that also has hardness in it, as well as size. So any brushes that you see in Photoshop are gonna give you that option to make it a hard-edged brush or a soft-edged brush. We have our blend modes here. There's actually blend mo...

des that can be applied with these tools as well. I don't use them that often. I pretty much just stick to normal. And then, if we go to Content-Aware, Create Texture, or Proximity Match, we can see exactly what this Healing tool is going to do, based on Content-Aware, meaning Content-Aware fill, so it'll find another spot that looks like it and fill it in. It'll create a texture, where it actually puts a texture in that healing spot. Or it uses what's called Proximity Match technology, which is pixels around the area that you tell it to to source what it's going to do to that. Another thing here is the Sample All Layers. I like to make sure that that's checked. And anytime I'm doing any blemish or spot removal on my images, I check that Sample All Layers and I do everything on a new layer. So on that new layer, after I've clicked that new layer, I can call this Spot Heal. So by default, over here on my toolbar, here is my Spot Heal and then, I have my regular Healing brush. The Spot Healing brush is unique in that when you click, it will replace what it finds in the image. If I'm saying Sample All Layers and doing Content-Aware, it will go ahead and fill in that spot, that cyan spot that we saw on this area. That's based on Content-Aware. If we say Create Texture, when we fill it in, it's going to fill it in and also, add a little bit of texture to that area as well. Not always something that I would consider doing. I tend to stay with things like Proximity Match or Content-Aware. Again, if at any time you need to step back in history, you can go up to your History palette, click one step back, or press Command or Ctrl-Z and step back a little bit. And now, we'll do Proximity Match. With an area like this, where it's all gray that we see in this test swatch, it's not really gonna make that big of a difference at all, because it's gray, it's one solid color. So Proximity Match and Content-Aware are gonna look very similar. But when we do something like this on a textured layer and we go ahead and click here with Proximity Match, you can see how it starts to fill in that area by what it is around it. Content-Aware will be a little bit smarter and find that texture that's around it and fill it in. One of the things that we do have here, if we go into Proximity Match is this thing called Diffusion. You see how that popped up over here when we went to Proximity Match? With Proximity Match set and with Diffusion set, Diffusion is how it's going to blend when you use that Healing tool. So if we change that to one and we click around here, it fills it in pretty well. What the Diffusion is doing there is that anything that is really gritty or grainy, use something between one and three. If it's not quite gritty, not quite grainy, but not quite a solid fill, use something between four and five. And then, if it's something that is really, that needs to be really smooth, use something like six or seven. So if I zoom over here to this side and I change this Diffusion over to seven and then, I click and drag around here, it should be a little bit smoother than what we see over here. It's a little bit harder-edged. And that's a little bit smoother. If we were to go over here on this side and really test it out. If we were to just paint around on this area, the Diffusion set to seven. And then, go over here, Diffusion set to one. It's gonna be a lot more difficult for this tool to find that. That's why certain tools are better than others. And if we have a patterned area like this, this is not something that I would suggest using the regular Spot Healing for. Because when set that to Proximity Match and have that Diffusion set at one, the settings there, it's trying to find something that's very similar to that and fill it in, it doesn't really work out very well with the Proximity Match. We could try this, however, if we go back, press Ctrl-Alt-Z and keep going back. If we change this to Content-Aware and did the same thing, brushed in around here, it's probably gonna be a little bit smarter at finding this and filling that area a little bit better, even though that's a pattern back there. These brushes are pretty smart. Now, just that brush by itself at this size is not gonna help us very much. If we make that brush a little bit bigger and then, click in there, it'll grab the area around it and even fills in that pattern pretty darn well. Now if you see here, there's no two layers here. There's no layer magic happening here. This is Photoshop looking at that pattern, assessing the area around it, and filling in that area with that Healing brush. Spot Healing brush, I should say, sorry about that. Let's go ahead and delete this and let's take a look at something called the Healing brush. Now the Healing brush is a little bit different. The Healing brush is gonna give you a couple different options for what you want it to do. Do you want it to be the current layer, the current and below layers, or all layers? Here's the really tricky thing about using this tool in conjunction with all layers. If you are doing your spot removal somewhere in the middle of your layer stack and you say All Layers and there's dark things happening up here on the top of the layer stack, and you use All Layers in the middle somewhere, it's gonna make that thing look really funky. So what you wanna do is you wanna set this to either Current Layer or Current and Below. Current and Below is probably the best thing to use for this because when we make a layer on top of this, it's going to be the one we heal. It will sample anything below that to then fill in that area. And then, anything we do on top of it will still remain dark but because those things might be things like curves adjustment layers, then you'll see how we can mimic that here in a second. So if I were to go ahead and add a curves adjustment layer on here. And do something like this. And then go here and add a layer that says Sample All Layers and then, with this tool, the Healing Brush is a little bit different. You press Alt or Option to make a selection of a different area on the image and then, you paint over it. So if I press Alt or Option and click here and then, paint over here, that might actually come up a little bit darker. And of course, it's not doing what I want it to do. The thing here is, is you wanna make sure this is set to Current and Below. 'Cause if there's other things that are happening above this layer that could alter, it could alter and grab all of the stuff that's happening within the layer stack within this area and then, it doesn't blend as well as it should. So I'm gonna just go ahead and delete this and I'm gonna change that to... Go back in my history and change that to Current and Below. And I'm gonna add a new layer here. So the way this works, I press Alt or Option and I click somewhere else on the photograph and then, I paint in. Alt or Option and then, I paint in. If I were to just try to click on here, it would give me an error saying, you haven't selected an area for me to patch, to use, to heal yet. And if you're familiar with something like the Clone Stamp tool, which we'll work with in the next segment, the Clone Stamp tool will assess an area when you Alt and click it. And as you move that brush, it will simultaneously move with you as you brush, selecting everything as you brush, it'll select from that area. The difference between the Healing brush and the Clone Stamp tool, they aren't the exact same thing. With the Healing brush, when I select this area and I start to click and paint around, it is laser-focused on this area. So I know that I want that gray to always be constant. It laser-focuses on this gray and allows me to blot out the spots that I want. So if I were to do that with the Clone Stamp tool, it'll be selecting different areas as I moved around. And we'll see how that works in a second. So if I press Alt or Option and click right here to fill in this gray, you see how it's starting to fill in those areas and it's all on its own layer. So I'm not destroying anything while I do this. Again, the Diffusion is still the same thing here. The Diffusion is set to four at this point. But it works the same way as the Spot Healing brush. If you have something that's a grainy, gritty texture, use something from like one to three. If it's kinda moderate, it's got a little bit of detail on it, do something like four or five. And if it's really smooth like skin, do something like six or seven. So I'll bring this down a little bit. If I zoom in here, press Alt or Option and click on something like this. and then, go over here, you start to see how this is affecting the image. And it's sourcing this data from right here and filling in the area on the photograph. So much so that it's almost an exact clone replica and it's not doing a whole lot of healing in the process. So if I were to also, the brush size here is set to a hardness that is really high. If I were to drop that brush size, the brush hardness down a little bit, we get a more feathered edge, 'cause these are really hard edges at this point. So it's always good to keep that in mind too. Again, unlike the Healing brush, which as we select in this area, it finds the pattern around it, fills it in. This, we have to literally click somewhere and then, as we go over here, we can see what we're grabbing and then, we have to be the ones that kind of fills that area in. And it might not be quite as smart or intuitive. So if we drop that down, again, 'cause it's up to us and what we select. Paint in. The pattern might be a little, little funky. We'll see. Looks like it's not doing so, it's not doing too bad there. If we had this set to Pattern, it would fill in that area with that pattern. So with whatever pattern we choose that's within Photoshop. A lot of times, I don't see a whole lotta use for that unless the object that you are cloning happens to have a pattern in it that looks similar to that. So we'll go ahead and delete that. And we'll look at this in a little bit of a practical application here. So if we look at this photograph, there are some things that I don't like that are happening way in the back of the image. So if I zoom in here to the back of this photograph. I don't like the signs that are put up around this schoolhouse. And I can very easily get rid of those signs. It doesn't seem like it's that big of a deal. But me, as a viewer, when I'm looking at this and I'm looking at the intricate details that are happening here, I see that little white spot there, I don't really like it. I don't really like this trail here, because I don't know where it goes or where it came from. So those are things that I would consider removing. Also, when we have things like telephone poles, especially near an old one-room schoolhouse. If I'm trying to make this look really old and maybe in the environment that it was built in, having modern-day signage and modern-day telephone poles around it, isn't gonna really help the mood and feel of the image that I'm trying to go for. So I'm gonna go ahead and zoom in right back here. Pretty close. I'm gonna make a new layer and I'm gonna go ahead and use the Spot Healing tool. Make this a little bit smaller. And just show you what the Spot Healing tool looks like on this area. If I use the Spot Healing tool, replaces it, makes it a little bit fuzzy, probably not the best thing to do. If I were to change that though. Go back up and change that, 'cause it's set to Content-Aware. Change it to Proximity Match. Drop that down a little bit, 'cause now I get access to Diffusion, right. Maybe I could click and drag on here a little bit. And modify that Diffusion, 'cause this was a gritty area. So when that Diffusion is set to one, it worked out pretty well. But if I set that Diffusion to something like seven and then, click on it and move it around, it might be a little bit fuzzier. It's actually not looking that bad there. Looks like we have a little bit of a spot right here that it's kind of dragged along with it and that's not that big of a deal. Go back into that Spot Healing brush, move this down a little bit, our brush size down a little bit and then, go ahead and brush back in there. Also, this rock pile back here, I just don't want it there. I'm sure the owner doesn't want it there either, but it's a lot harder to move than using something like the Spot Healing tool. And then, if I go over here, get rid of this signage by doing something like that. Brush that in. And then, this area right here maybe. These are all very nitpicky things, but they will make a difference in your image when you're done. Clone out that area, that area, that area. And by default, this tool actually works pretty well by itself and that's just the Spot Healing tool. It's automatically finding those areas for me. So if I zoom out, there's the after. Here's the before, here's the after. Here's the before, here's the after. You see what's happening there? There are three points on this image that are kind of drawing your focus into it and you're kind of bouncing around like a ping pong ball between them and you don't know that until you turn this off and you don't see them anymore. It's like we've given that area, we don't have this imaginary triangle surrounding that schoolhouse anymore. It was an imaginary triangle built from things that just feel like they didn't belong. And now that we've removed them, it gives more air around that object. So if I were to delete that and then, go to something like the Healing brush tool. This tool, again, is gonna do very similar, but I have to select the spot that I want it to select from. So I'm gonna go ahead and make a new layer. And I'm gonna drop this down a little bit. Press Alt or Option. And click, let's go to Sampled instead of Pattern. Alt or Option and click here. Now I can find different areas in here for it to Clone from. And I have to be the one to do that. Now if I click on this area right here again, it's gonna source all of that from that one spot right there. It's not quite as intuitive as something like the Clone Stamp tool, where it takes a literal selection, because what it's doing is it's not cloning. Just like in Adobe Camera Raw, this is healing. So when you heal something, it wants to find other areas around it and it wants to blend it in for you. It's not taking a literal selection from that. So that's one important thing to understand. So if we move over here to this side, I'm just gonna show you what bad kind of cloning looks like here and the wrong tool for the job. Then we zoom out. See that spot right there? Once you know it's there, you can't stop looking at it. It's fuzzy and doesn't look right. So there's certain tools that work a lot better than others. In this case, the Healing brush worked better than the Spot Healing brush.

Class Description

Adobe® Photoshop CC® is a valuable tool for photographers, but it can also be intimidating. In this all-inclusive 20 lesson course, you’ll go from opening the program for the first time to creating images that really stand out. Join Blake Rudis, Photoshop expert and founder of f64 Academy, as he shows you how to maximize your use of Photoshop. 

Topics covered will include:

  • Class Introduction & Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, Setup Interface, Cropping and Layers
  • Layer Tools, Masks, Selections, Clean-Up Tools and Shapes & Text
  • Smart Objects, Transforming, Actions, Filters, and Editing Video
  • Custom Creative Effects, Natural Retouching, Portrait Workflow, Landscape Workflow, and Composite Workflow

Don’t let the many aspects of Photoshop prevent you from maximizing your use of this amazing app. Blake will help you develop the confidence to use your imagination and create the images that you will be proud to share with your clients.


Adobe Photoshop CC 2018

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Photoshop Bootcamp Plug-In



Painted Backgrounds

1 – Intro to Photoshop Bootcamp

6 – Intro to Raw

11 – Interface and Setup

16 – Intro to Cropping and

22 – Intro to

26 – Intro to Layer

43 – Intro to

50 – Intro to Cleanup

58 – Intro to Shapes and

63 – Intro to Smart

69 – Intro to Image

74 – Intro to

81 –

88 – Intro to Editing

96 – Custom

102 – Natural

107 – Intro to Portrait Workflow.pdf

110 – Intro to Landscape

112 – Intro to

115 – Rothko and Interfaces (Bonus Video).zip

33 – Intro to Masks and

106 - Frequency

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


a Creativelive Student

Amazing course, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a beginner's course for photographers. The problem isn't Blake's explanations; they're top. The problem is the vast scope of this course and the order in which the topics are presented. Take layers for example. When I was first learning Photoshop (back when we learned from books), I found I learned little or nothing from, for example, books that covered layers before they covered how to improve/process photographs. These books taught me how to organize, move, and link layers before they showed me what a layer was actually for. Those books tended to teach me everything there is to know about layers (types of layers, how to organize them, how to move them, how to move them two at a time, how to move them two at a time even if there are other layers between the two you're interested in, useful troubleshooting tips, etc. ) all before I even know (from a photographer's point of view) what it is the things actually do. The examples of organizing, linking, and moving mean everything for graphic designers from Day One, but for photographers not so much. Blake does the same thing as those books. Topics he covers extremely early demand a lot of theoretical imagination for a photographer who doesn't already know quite a bit about what he is talking about. Learning about abstract things first and concrete things later only makes PS that much harder to understand. If you AREN'T a beginner, however, this course is amazing. I thought it would be like an Army Bootcamp, taking you from zero and building you into a fit, competent Photoshop grunt. Now I think it's more like Army Bootcamp for high school varsity jocks. It isn't going to take you from the beginning, but the amount you'll get out of it is nonetheless more than your brain can imagine. I've been using PS for years to improve my photographs, and even to create the odd artistic composite or two. The amount I've learned in the first week is amazing, and every day I learn something -- more like many things -- which I immediately implement to improve my productivity and/or widen the horizons of what I can achieve. If you ARE a photographer who's a Photoshop beginner, I'd take very seriously the advice Blake gives in the introduction: Watch one lesson, and practice the skills and principles you learn in that one lesson for two weeks. THEN watch the next lesson. You can't do that of course without buying the course, so it's up to you to decide whether you'd like to learn Photoshop and master Photoshop all from the same course. Learning it first and mastering it later will cost more money, but I think you'll understand everything better and have a much more enjoyable ride in the process. As for me? I'm going to have to find the money to buy this course. There is simply way too much content in each lesson for me to try to take on all at once, but on the other hand I don't want to miss anything at all that he has to share.

Robert Andrews

Blake Rudis is the absolute best in teaching photoshop. His knowledge and how he presents the instruction is clear and concise - there is NO ONE BETTER. Yes, his classes require some basic skills, and maybe I'd organize the order of (or group) the classes in a different order, but, let me be clear - if anyone is to be successful or famous in the Photoshop world, it should be Blake Rudis. I strongly recommend his teaching. I started photography and post processing in 2018, and because of this class, I'm know what Im doing. The energy you get when you create something beautiful is profound, it makes you bounce out of bed (at 4AM) like a 5 year old, to go create. It's a great ride! Thanks Blake, & Thanks Creative live.

Esther Gambrell

WOW!!! I've been purchasing CL classes for several years now and have watched HOURS of "How-To Photoshop" classes, but this is the first one I've actually purchased because of the AWESOME BONUS content!!! SERIOUSLY??!!?!? A PLUG-IN??? But not only that, Blake is SO easy to understand, and he breaks down concepts in different ways to connect with different people's learning styles. I REALLY appreciated this approach because I am a LEFT-BRAINED creative that has an engineering background, so I really connected to what Blake was saying. THANK YOU FOR THAT! There are TONS of Photoshop courses out there, but I found this one to be the most helpful in they way Blake teaches concepts so that you know WHY you're doing what your doing. I feel like he taught me how to fish with Photoshop to feed me for a lifetime instead of just giving me a fish to feed me for one day. This is the BEST overall PS course out there!!! Thank you!!!!