Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements


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.

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 2015.5.1


Class Introduction
Understand How Elements Works
Importing Images
Workspace Basics: Organizer
Workspace Basics: Editor
Tonal Adjustments in Quick Fix
Color Adjustments in Quick Fix
Apply Black & White Filters
Sharpen an Image
Fix Red Eye & Pet Eye
Straighten an Image in Quick Fix
Explanation of Photoshop Elements
Basic Cropping in Quick Fix
Guided Edit Overview
Guided Edit: Tilt Shift
Ways to Save Files
Layers & Simple Selections
Combine Images with Layers
How to Use Layer Styles
Make Selections with Layers
Make Selection with Lasso
Compositing with Multiple Images
Refine Edge Selection on Image
Use Refine Edge on Images
Create Gradient in Image
Gradient Map Differences
Options for Saving
Brushes Overview
Creatively Use Brushes
How to Change Brush Settings
Use Shape Tool with Brushes
Work with Multiple Shape Layers
Finish Image with Custom Shape Tool
How to Load Brushes into Elements
Add Layer Style to Image
Clip Image to Shape & Use as Template
Retouching Overview
How to Use Content-Aware Fill
How to Use Content-Aware Move Tool
Spot Healing Brush on Blemishes
Remove Frown Lines with Retouching
How to Remove Tattoos
Remove a Gap in Teeth
How to Whiten Teeth
Adjust Facial Features
Working with Type Overview
Match Type for Image
How to Manipulate Type Layers
Create Postcard with Type
Add Type on a Path
Organizing Images in Elements
Add Keywords to Images
Smart Tags Overview
Using Albums in Elements
Places Workspace Overview
Use Event Tags on Images
Timeline for Image Organization
Recommended Workflow


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