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Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 40 of 58

Spot Healing Brush on Blemishes


Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 40 of 58

Spot Healing Brush on Blemishes


Lesson Info

Spot Healing Brush on Blemishes

Let's take a look at doing some healing retouching. So I'm gonna pop back over to the organizer and we're gonna open, I think, three more images. And this time we'll be working on skin stuff, so this is really applicable, I think, a lot of people will relate to this. And there's one more photo while we're here. We'll get this, OK. Open these up. Oh yeah, Photoshop's acting much more normally now that we trashed those preference files. All right. Let's start with the baby over here. So, this is the thing about retouching, is that it's not isolated to teenagers who are dealing with acne issues or aging people who might have lines that they're not fans of. Even brand new babies, they actually end up getting a lot of retouching. And it's not just skin, babies can have little baby bumps and things too, but a lot of times, I know with my own son, when I would take pictures of him, somehow it would escape me, I was more worried about when he was learning to sit and I'd try to photograph him, ...

for example, I'd be worried more about him tipping over while I was trying to take his picture, so I was overlooking things like the drool that had dropped down his shirt or what have you. So those are the other types of things that you can retouch with the same tools I'm gonna show you now. So keep that in mind as you're looking at your own images and struggling to figure out, "How can I fix this funny thing that happened?" It's the same technique. So, in this case, we're looking at these little blemishes on this little babe. And there are several tools for dealing with this. I'm gonna show you this one up here, there's two tools in this, this is the healing brush, and it comes in two flavors. The spot healing brush, they're both band-aids, right? So that's where the healing comes in, they're both band-aids. And this one, the spot healing brush, has a little marching ant circle coming out of it. The other healing brush is just the regular healing brush. So we're gonna start with the spot healing brush, this is the most simplistic to use and really quick and easy, and it's perfect for little spots like these little marks that the baby has. So I've zoomed into my image, and now that I'm here, I can use the space bar to drag around. So no matter what tool is active, if I press and hold the space bar, it gives me the hand tool. So I can just scoot around my image very quickly. And you really wanna make use of those keyboard navigation shortcuts, because I think part of feeling in command in Photoshop is not being clumsy and stumbling around your photos, so this is very empowering, to be able to just move around where you want. So we'll start up here on her forehead. So that we can keep track of our work and see what we're doing, I'm actually gonna create a blank layer. Not a duplicated layer, although you could do that too, but to show you something special about how these tools work, I wanna work on a blank layer. All right. So go ahead and make a new blank layer if you're following along, and with the spot healing brush tool active, I need to come down here and make sure that there is a check mark next to this button that says, "Sample all layers," OK? The reason is if I don't have a check mark here and I'm working on a blank layer, I can bring my cursor into the photo and click and drag as much as I want, and nothing will happen. Because I'm healing nothing, right? This checkerboard pattern represents transparency, so without the background layer, there's nothing here. So, we want the tool to sample all the layers, not just the empty one that we currently are on. The way this tool works is it performs basically like a transplant surgery of sorts. So, when I click my mouse on this dot, and I kinda just rub a little bit, I'm holding the mouse button down while I tell you this, the tool is sampling all the layers, so it's reaching through layer one and sampling the background, and then when I let go and release my mouse, look at that. It healed the area of her skin but it put the healthy tissue on layer one. So now if I hide the background, you can see that there's this little blob of healthy looking skin on layer one. If I turn the background on and hide layer one, we can see the original blemish on the skin back in the background layer. What this does is just gives us a lot of flexibility, so if we make a mistake or if Photoshop has what I call a misfire, it's really easy to fix. Because this is all a sort of, like a smart tool, I guess you could say, so it's analyzing the surrounding area and it's deciding what to paint over this blemish. And sometimes, it doesn't make a good choice. It usually does pretty well but sometimes not. And that's what I call a misfire. So we'll go through this and see if any misfires happen. I have a feeling it'll just do a great job on this image because it's pretty simple. But I just click in and that's it. Click, dab, click, dab, all of those little blemishes are going away. Here, I can even click and just draw a little line and it'll just heal all of that. So you can do dots but you can also do like a little bit bigger area, if you need to. I'm gonna just go through this, I'm trying to get it to make a mistake, so I'm retouching more than I maybe normally would to see if I can get it to trip up a little bit. Let's try this little hair that is sort of just streaking down her face right here, I'm gonna click and just drag that whole big area and when I let go it renders a flawless heal. Maybe if she had some, sometimes I notice when I take my son's pictures, he'll have like, breakfast still on his face and I didn't wipe it all off after breakfast, so maybe I can kind of paint over this area. It's still doing pretty well. Or this large area of her cheek, maybe I can just try to blend that and get more of a misfire. Oh, there we go. Finally, it gave me a little bit of a misfire because what it did was it actually tried to replace this area of her cheek with this, which included a bit of the smile line, I think that's what it's pulling in. So, here's an example of just not a good blend that's happening. When you use these healing tools, they're different than the clone stamp that we'll talk about shortly, but the healing tools work by blending, so it's sampling information from our background and then it's trying to blend that with the surrounding area. And so it's a very calculated thing, and sometimes it just doesn't know where to go and it reached over here and grabbed her smile line. So, because this is in its own layer, I can actually just grab the eraser and just erase this whole area, and I don't have to worry that I've messed up my background or any of the other healing spots that we've already done. So I could just try it again. Maybe instead of one big scribble, I do smaller bits here. That looks pretty good. And then I'm not worried about pulling this area in. So that's also part of the strategy when you use this tool, sometimes shorter strokes, especially with the spot healing brush, the shorter strokes are gonna work a lot better. If I try to paint her whole face all in one big stroke, when I let go, you can see it caused all kinds of problems. So, shorter strokes are gonna be a better choice with that spot healing brush.

Class Description

We all have hundreds of images on our smartphones and cameras that we never do anything with. Adobe Photoshop Elements is the perfect tool for beginners to use for organizing and editing those images. Khara Plicanic will show you the practical ways to use this software by using step-by-step projects you can follow along with at home. You’ll get hands-on practice at making selections and working with layers, doing simple retouching, and adding text to your images.

You’ll also learn: 

• Basic adjustments to color and adding contrast to photos 
• Understanding resolution and image resizing and how to use the crop tool 
• Simple retouching and image compositing

No Photoshop Elements class would be complete without shedding light on file saving and organizing your images for a complete workflow! By the time you’re finished with this class, you’ll be creating beautiful images to share with your family and friends.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Understand How Elements Works
  3. Importing Images
  4. Workspace Basics: Organizer
  5. Workspace Basics: Editor
  6. Tonal Adjustments in Quick Fix
  7. Color Adjustments in Quick Fix
  8. Apply Black & White Filters
  9. Sharpen an Image
  10. Fix Red Eye & Pet Eye
  11. Straighten an Image in Quick Fix
  12. Explanation of Photoshop Elements
  13. Basic Cropping in Quick Fix
  14. Guided Edit Overview
  15. Guided Edit: Tilt Shift
  16. Ways to Save Files
  17. Layers & Simple Selections
  18. Combine Images with Layers
  19. How to Use Layer Styles
  20. Make Selections with Layers
  21. Make Selection with Lasso
  22. Compositing with Multiple Images
  23. Refine Edge Selection on Image
  24. Use Refine Edge on Images
  25. Create Gradient in Image
  26. Gradient Map Differences
  27. Options for Saving
  28. Brushes Overview
  29. Creatively Use Brushes
  30. How to Change Brush Settings
  31. Use Shape Tool with Brushes
  32. Work with Multiple Shape Layers
  33. Finish Image with Custom Shape Tool
  34. How to Load Brushes into Elements
  35. Add Layer Style to Image
  36. Clip Image to Shape & Use as Template
  37. Retouching Overview
  38. How to Use Content-Aware Fill
  39. How to Use Content-Aware Move Tool
  40. Spot Healing Brush on Blemishes
  41. Remove Frown Lines with Retouching
  42. How to Remove Tattoos
  43. Remove a Gap in Teeth
  44. How to Whiten Teeth
  45. Adjust Facial Features
  46. Working with Type Overview
  47. Match Type for Image
  48. How to Manipulate Type Layers
  49. Create Postcard with Type
  50. Add Type on a Path
  51. Organizing Images in Elements
  52. Add Keywords to Images
  53. Smart Tags Overview
  54. Using Albums in Elements
  55. Places Workspace Overview
  56. Use Event Tags on Images
  57. Timeline for Image Organization
  58. Recommended Workflow


a Creativelive Student

Just watching this class live. It's my first class with Khara; she is a wonderful teacher, moving at a steady speed but always being careful to let us know what she's doing in the moment. I would classify myself as intermediate in terms of PSE but I've learned lots of little things that will make further use even easier and more fun. I really appreciated her descriptions of the difference between PS and PSE and her encouragement in using Photoshop Elements and all that it can do.


I have only been able to watch portions of this class but every single part that I have watched has been technically clear and inspiring to me. Based on this experience and the thorough, 58 item list of lessons, I will surely be buying this class soon! Thank you Khara and Creativelive for making a class on this topic and making it be super!!

Ven S

Great course. You can tell she knows the programme inside out.