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Dust Spot Removal

Lesson 37 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

Dust Spot Removal

Lesson 37 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

37. Dust Spot Removal


Class Trailer

Day 1


Adobe Bridge Basics


Sorting Images in Adobe Bridge


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 1


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 2


Image Processing Q&A


Contrast and Color


Adjustment Brush and Auto Mask


Lesson Info

Dust Spot Removal

Retouching for me, I think of removing stuff. I don't want my picture if there's trash in my photo and I want to get rid of it if there's a problem with somebody skin I want to get rid of something. That's, my retouching here. I just happen to have an example. Image open. Uh, if I see you up on this image if anybody's ever been to this particular location you know there's always people here and and this shot I happen to have none. Sometimes you can get a shot like that by using a neutral density filter on your lens. Some people cheat. If you put a dark enough filter in front of lens of your camera, you get a long enough exposure where if the people are always walking around the become a blurry blob and if you need an even longer, they pretty much blending of what's around there, but then the clouds in the sky there would also look different because they would be moving over that time could look really cool, though, but that's. One thing some people do when they're in certain situations...

. If you put a dark enough neutral density filter on your lens so you could duel long enough exposure, sometimes you can get rid of some people because they will move around enough and just blend into the scenery but I couldn't do that in this case, and so here's what it would look like without retouching, and you could see the people that are there and there's a little trees on the edge anytime there's detail on the edge of the photo, it's something your eyes going to flick down there and look out and that's pulling you away from where I want you in the photo, so I'll end up re touching that out as well. And so this is just one example of some retouch now we can't start with this one, though we have to work our way up because we need to know some stuff before we're able to get rid of these people. So let's, close this image will open it later on and let's start at a more basic level and then ramp are way up. So of course we start and camera you guys are all like fan well, kamerad, usually this is where I get rid of the majority of sensor dust specks. If you ever see dark little round things that primarily show up in the sky, it's not that they're they show up in this guys that they're easy to see in the sky, they're hard to see everywhere else, and so you notice them in the sky, but their l elsewhere then we're going to get rid of most of those in camera wrong. The reason why I want to get rid of most of them and camera is because if there's any dust on your camera sensor it's usually going to stay there in the same location as you shoot until you change lenses. When you change lenses, you might get more dust in there because that's when you get the dust, uh, happens and but because they're consistent theirs sticking their it's dust on your lens it's not going to be moving around usually when you're out shooting, the dust will be in the same location in all your pictures. So you know member how we could adjust multiple images at once with camera remember how with the panorama we could select more than one image choose opening camera raw and we'd see them as thumbnails down the left side when there is a select all button and when we moved the sliders, all the images could change at the same time. Well, if I do something to get rid of a censor dust back on one image, what if I happen to have thirty pictures loaded and I hit the select all button when I get rid of the sensor dust beckett on one image it's going to remove it from the other thirty pictures that I have a swell at the same time the only thing is I'll have to review those pictures when I'm done just to ensure it did a good job on all of them because the way it gets rid of camera dust specks is by copying from another portion of the picture and moving it over to cover that up well in one photograph I might have blue sky in that area where could choose from just about anywhere the surroundings but in another area that same spec might have been on the edge of some important detail and it needs to be able to copy from another edge that looks just like that in order to look appropriate. So after I do this to thirty pictures at once, I do need to review the thirty pictures just to confirm that it did an okay job of where it copied from from each one. So if it messed up I can touch it up just on those images. So anyway let's take a look. This is a really bad image because I was in russia shooting in russia. I did not have my camera cleaning gear with me at the time and this was many years ago before cameras had sensors that could shake the dust off. Nowadays, whenever you change the lens and most cameras, the sensor has this little ultrasonic shaking it goes through which tries to make any dust fall off of it and there's a little adhesive strip just below the camera sensor where if the dust falls it gets stuck on that little and he's a strip and before that time any little is dust that would hit your sensor would just stay there and it would keep adding up and when I was in russia I changed the lens one time in a bunch of dust got in mind so this one was it is terrible uh if you can tell or not but we'll see in a minute so if you ever zoom up on especially a sky in your photo and you see these little circles of darkness those air camera dust specks they're on their sensor and so it means when you change the lens in your camera a little bit of dust got in there and landed on the sensor and the censor really needs to be cleaned you can have it cleaned professionally or you could do it yourself and let's see how you can get rid of up here the top in our toolbar got a bunch of different tools they're one of which though it looks like a brush with them specs around it and that's the one we're going to use it's called the spot removal brush and with it on the right side we're gonna have a size setting and you can also change the size using the square bracket keys on your keyboard just like we can in photo shop hit the bracket keys there look like half squares and you can change the size of you don't feel like moving this slider when we're in here we're gonna have two choices on the little poppet menu hell or clone I'm going to leave it set to heal the entire time if you ever try to get rid of camera uh dust backs and you notice that when you d'oh you can see a perfect circle of where you tried to remove it. That means that got switched from hell to clone he'll means match the brightness and the color of the surroundings so that if it doesn't match the brightness or color of the surroundings it's not set the hell so that means you changed it for some reason and forgot to change it back anytime we see hell it means match the brightness and color of the surroundings whereas clone means just copy something and move it over here but don't adjust it just put it there. And so if the area we copied from was the littlest bit brighter little lisbet darker not gonna mash when it gets in there where is healing is going to match the brightness and the color of the surroundings so we want healing. The other thing is when that's set to healing we want this setting called feather usually to be set at zero feather means how soft should the edge b if we turn that down when it's set to hell, then we're forcing it to fade out on the edge and therefore the healing control doesn't have it doesn't have control all the way out to the edge of your brush because you're forcing the brush to fade out on the edge. I wanted to be able to precisely match that surroundings, so I wanted to have control all the way out to the edge of my brush and I need to have the ahh feather down to zero to get that now if I ever have this not set to heal, then I'll be adjusting the feathering all the time because it's not going to try to match the surroundings and so I need it to somehow slowly fade out. Otherwise it will be obvious where the edge waas so it's on ly when that set the hell that I usually a feather turned down to zero in opacity most of time it's at one hundred because the only time I'd have opacity turned down is if I was trying to not remove something I was instead just tryingto lessen its appearance uh, it's trying to make it not be his prominent, so I'm not going to completely remove it it's just go! I don't know it's like covering up, then lowering the opacity of what you used to cover it with eso so I'm going to come in here and I want this brush to be just a little bit larger than whatever spec it is that I'm going to remove what I'm thinking about is wherever that circle is just think about that circle is being what it should match when it does it's healing if it's going to match the brightness and color of the surroundings it's going to match the brightness and color of what that circle is touching ignore the middle of the circle just think about its edge and say okay, this is what it's gonna match when I let go so I need that circle to be bigger than the dots so it's touching the material it's supposed to match if it was just the size of the dot then if the little bit of that dot is touching the outer edge of the circle when it heals it's goingto try to match the color of the dot that I'm removing so I needed a little bit bigger and I click and let go and when I do I see two circles the red one is where I'm removing something the green one is what it copied in order to cover it up it's copying from this area and pacing it over there and it automatically pick that for me I didn't have to do anything to tell it where to copy from and so I just go to the next one click it automatically finds something in the surroundings to copy from now with this, if I use a brush this small, I have to be so precise because the brush is just the tiniest bit bigger than that speck. When you're in a sky, you can use it larger brush because there is not, uh, there's, not any important detail up there where I'd have to be overly precise and so it's okay to use a a bit larger of a circle and therefore you can go faster because we don't have to be is precise, but I'm seeing these little sense or dust specks. Some of these are rather subtle, so I don't know how easy they are to see on the feed the video feed, but there is something can help us find these in newer versions of photo shop. There is a check box on the right side called visualize spots, and I'm gonna show it on when I d'oh, I'm gonna get the same her I should say, I'm going to get a similar preview to the one that we got when we were working with sharpening do you really work with sharpening their was a slider that was called masking, and when we did it, you could see this, the white stuff on the image, and it would put little white lines around where all the detail wass well people had a trick where they'd say wow, this is cool because if I do that it would actually make it easier to see sensor dust specks because it was detail in the sky you see it so they moved it over to here and put it in and you turn on this visualize spots check box and you see this preview there is a slider and if we turn it down far enough where we see just blackness where our sky used to be and we move it around you should be able to get to a point where you'll be ableto better visualize where the sensor dust specks are all zoom out so you can see it on the the whole image and I'll go back to my tool here and with that turned on do you see how I can get to a point where the sky as the hole gets rather dark but I can see circles in the sky and there's no birds flying in this picture anything like that so I know that those circles that you can see prominently circled and white here are the sensor dust specks he and so I can just go right now and come in here with the brush and just click on them and only after I get rid of him in this view am I going to inspect those areas to make sure that it copied from appropriate places but and be careful if you get close to an edge like this one if the censor dust back, if there's a gap between it in that object tried to, uh, utilized the gap meaning don't bump into the object either that or blatantly bump into the object don't like kiss the edges of the object. Don't make your brush to come up in like what I called kiss the edge, making either overlap or avoid, but try not to get it to kiss uh, if you get to kiss, what happens is the color of that object gets spread across the area, its healing because healing means blend in. We're matched the brightness of in color of the surroundings, and if the edge of that circle bumps in chest kisses the edge when it looks around the ash, just say, what am I supposed to blend into? It sees the color of that object, and it pulls it across a smooth blending across your little healing. It doesn't look good, so either blatantly bump into that thing or blatantly avoid it don't just kiss the edge now here I'm hoping I have enough space that I'm avoiding it, I hope there's a little gap there if there's not will have an issue there uh, so here, if I can't get the gaff all blatantly overlap because if I blatantly overlap photo shop will usually be smart enough to say hey there's some details sitting there that extends beyond this circle and therefore I need to copy from another area that looks similar to that and you see that copied from the same edge it but if I just kiss the edge, it probably won't notice that all right there's a bigger blob my camera sensor was terrible and I remember what something happened when I was changing lenses and it was not a good thing now there it didn't copy from a good area I don't if you saw it or not but if I zoom up can you see like a little piece of detail in there that I can also see there it just it looks distinctly different than the surroundings in some ways, if you ever see a copy from a bad spot like it copies from a sensor dust spot to try to replace a sensor does spot it can happen after all it's a computer trying to do it not a human then what you want to dio is press the the ford slash key on your keyboard at least on a macintosh right next to the shift key is the ford slash key the one that leans towards the right side it's on the same key is the question mark uh if you press that it forces photoshopped to find a different place to copy from and you press that as many times as you want, so if let's say I was copying our eyes, trying to get rid of a censor dust spot, that was up against that thing that's on the right edge of my photo, where I can see the blatant detail, the white stuff over here on the edge and it didn't copy from something appropriate, I'm just going to hit that slash key ford slash, and if it didn't do, it still didn't do good, I'm gonna hit forward slash again, I'm going to give it three strikes before I, uh, I think of it as three strikes and you're out, that means three strikes, and then I'll do it manually. I got one more here, like right there might have copied from the edge of the area with detail it's hard to tell, but I could say, no, no, okay, all right, now I'm going to turn off visualize spots, but before I turn off visualize spots, what I'd usually do is when I think I've gotten them all, and I still have some stuff down here in the corner. There is terrible dust down there is I would usually move it again to see is there more because you might have just had the preview of this that a particular stage where the they weren't as prominently popping out but I'd moving around again and see is there any stage when the sky doesn't look consistent instead I see interruptions in that general texture of the sky then I can see that right there hear those probably sensor dust spots if I knew there was no birds or no clouds in that sky now if there are clouds in the sky, you're going to see little shapes that look like the edges of clouds and I wouldn't need to fix those what when I'm done I turn off visualize spots and then I can see my end result and there is a choice down the bottom called show overlay if I turned show ever lay off, then it hides the circles and therefore I could just look at the end result and if you want to see what you've done you remember that icon the one in the lower right fight tap it and see before tap it again and I see after I could see what I've done now I can see other things that's a terrible sensor there's ah a bunch of stuff down here in the corner with this in newer versions of photo shop, you can click in drag like that to cover something that's not doesn't easily fit within a circle and then when you let go it copies from the same shaped area somewhere else so if you do have anything that is not a uh doesn't easily fit within a circle you can in the newest versions click and drag an older version she couldn't do that I hope you don't ever need to return to remove this many sensor despots from an image but I opened a really old picture that was one of the worst times I could remember and grab that now if you don't remember the ford slashing it actually tells you right here you see it says press on forward slash to auto patch the selected spot all that means is press that key to have it selected different spot to copy from if it ever copies from a bad area let's say that I I told it to remove a little thing here and let's just say that it copied from the edge of his foot it doesn't look right well first I would use that ford slash key to force it to try something else, but if I did that three times in all three times I picked a bad spot then I just moved my mouth's on top of the picture I click within the part there's green will be a green if a circle it'll be a green circle clique within it and just drag it to wherever it is I want a copy from and when you're choosing an area to copy from it doesn't need to be the same brightness it needs to have the right texture or detail because we have a choice called hell turned on and remember, healing always means match the brightness in color of the surroundings so that's where the colors coming from. So if I were to take this black patch and move it up here to a dark part of the sky, it can still use it because it's healing healing means match I might not certain, but I might be able to even get it to heal from here. But it's gonna have the wrong kind of detail there. Can you see it got noise put in there because dark parts of your picture have noise in them, bright parts don't. And so there is the wrong kind of detail wrong kind of texture, it's not though the brightness of color that mattered it's that I need to get the right kind of texture or detail whatever word used for that, um in there. All right, see if there's anything else here? Also, if you have an older version of photo shop where you don't have the visualize spots, check box, then as an alternative to it, get out of this tool and go to the detail tab and you remember in the detail tab there was that slider called masking just hold down the option key start bringing it up this is the same view and the dough we only added that because they noticed people doing this you're like all that smart makes it easier to see specs you see the one speck of the statue there's just a blatant white speck near where the sward shaped thing intersex it right like there there's a chance that that is a sensor dust back but in this case I think it's actually an opening what you're looking at a case you can't tell is a sculpture he and usually that would be ahead on the sculpture but I'm at an angle where you can't see the head you come too low and I think this might be an opening between somebody's arm uh where light would come through not a sensor dust back but this is the same view so you have an older version of photoshopping your kind of bummed out that you don't have the choice called visualize spots you do you just need to go to the detailed tab to find it you hold on the option key and you bring in the masking slider in the only problem with that is I can't have this view at the same time that I'm in the retouching tool so you do this and just see where are all my sensor dust specks then just for memory you go back and we touch him out you come back here to confirm that you got him all but in the end, use your eyes because that view doesn't always make it easy to see every single sensor dust speck it's just a very convenient feature er so was clicked done then that same feature can be used not just for, um getting rid of sensor dust specks it could be used for getting rid of darn near anything you just need to keep in mind that when it's set to hell it means match the brightness and color of the surroundings and so whatever the edge of that circle is touching is what it's going to match, so make sure the edge of the circle isn't kissing something instead it's blatantly overlapping it or there's a gap I don't have a kiss um is there a better word than kiss? I don't know it's just what I came up with uh so I could come into the same tool and this image has already had a bunch of retouching applied as you can see here when I go to the tool I saw these circles appear there is a button when you go to this tool called clear all and that would get rid of all the retouching you've applied, I'm going to do that on this and cassandra won't like that I do it because this is cassandra, but if I clear all you can see uh what we would have started with so any time I have acne and in similar stuff usually the surrounding areas, the proper colors, the proper brightness and everything, and so they're relatively easy to get rid of me just come in here and click on each one I do. You have to be careful on the forehead, especially the older the person is usually, the more wrinkles they have on their forehead in the wrinkles on her forehead are often horizontal, and you have to make sure that if you re touching something like a pimple, that is right near one of those that you copied from another one of the horizontal lines and you get to line up perfectly so the line looks continuous when you're done, um and remember, you can click and drag to paint over an area there, it just copied from a line on her forehead, and she doesn't need a line on her forehead down that low, so I hit the ford slash key to say, pick a different area, pick a different area, and I give it three strikes if it doesn't do a good job, I click manually until it to copy from something, and then I can continue. You can even have these overlap and it's just whichever one was done first will literally be done first, and so then retouching can overlap retouching usaid and, uh it's just a matter of deciding what should be re touching what shouldn't to me if it's something that's temporary on their skin if it's a pimple of a scratch or something else that if I saw them six months later wouldn't be there then I'm almost definitely going to retouch it out if it's something that's always there if it's a birthmark or something then I'm mainly going to retouch it out if they ask because then if otherwise people say you know why? Why did you do that if you see gorbachev without his birthmark on his forehead and you're going to say what what the heck is that? And so it's mainly things that are temporary that I'm thinking about retouching out remember that we can drag is well to reposition uh if you need to retouch out something more prominent, you're going to run into some issues I needed to get rid of let's say her uh, necklace doing that camera raw is not as convenient it is doing it and photo shop but it doesn't mean it can't be done. The problem is if I use something set to heal and I try to heal over just part of this it's gonna have to find an area that big somewhere else to copy from and if I extend that way up here now where is it going to find something of this shape somewhere else in this picture to copy from I'm making the task of retouching this out almost impossible for photo shop because it needs to find something that big somewhere else and I'll try, but you know, when I found it on her neck but that's not quite appropriate for that, is it hit delete if I do it in a smaller portion, the problem is we're using a tool that is set to hell in hell means blend in to surroundings and if it looks all the way around the edge, it's going to try to match it all way around when I let go, it notices gold chain and other things on the edge, and therefore it incorporate some of that in the end result. So if you ever wanted to do something like this in camera raw, I'm not necessarily suggesting you do. But if you want to know how, because sometimes it is appropriate because you need teo let's say your job is retouching someone else's job has come a correction and other things in that color correction is always done in camera rocks. It looks better when it's done there and you're supposed to retouch this picture in next it's going to the person that's going to adjust it. Well, it's got to be done in here because they only know how to do their changes in kamerad. It looks best if you do it there, so we just needed to be done. So how could I do it? Well, I changed this to clone to say don't blend into the surroundings, don't blend in and when you set it to clone, I'm korver here and just break the chain and copy from an appropriate area. It'll be an area very close by because you need the brightness too, be close. So what I just did right now because I broke the chain into pieces, what I did is I isolated the bottom part of the chain from the rest that's going around her neck by grabbing from an area really close by had to be close by because I need the brightness in the color to look right, and if I move too far away, one of those things is going to be wrong. Something sounds now I'm going to come back in and I'm going to set this teo heel in a moment. I can't do it right now, though, because if this point is active right now, do you see the blacked out in the middle? That means if I change, it would update this one, so I'm going to paint now across this that bottom portion and I tried to break it up into a small enough piece that needed to be replaced where photoshopped confined an area in the surroundings that big to copy from I'm gonna let go, it'll find an area in the surroundings, but if I turn off show overlay, can you tell he can see it? Can't you? It's too dark police? I can see it, so I turn on a heel, which means blend into surroundings, and now if I turn off show overlay, it blends in. So what you'd have to do is if you need to get rid of something big in the, uh, camera is breaking into small chunks, break it into small chunks by getting a small chunk to be surrounded on all sides with good material with right brightness, the right color, that's what I did when I broke the chain in two little spots, so here I could break the chain right where it touches their hair, I'd break the chain, maybe down, another little ways down. I'd break the chain again down here using clone, which means just blatantly copy or break the chain again there, so I have little bitty chunks of chain to get rid of, then I would come in to get rid of those chunks I would use healing. And therefore, I can copy from a wider variety of areas, because it's going to make the brightness in the color match after I've broken it up in the little chunks. I'm not gonna do that here, because kind of ridiculous to retouch out things like that in kamerad. So much easier in photo shop. But I just wanted to mention it because it's something that is rarely covered in. Sometimes it just for some reason, needs to be done in camera raw. And if you don't know how to think about tackling it, it's a pain, so break it up into little chunks by using clone. Then get rid of those little chunks using hell, because then you can copy from me. Much will quite a variety of areas in doing so. All right, I'm gonna click, cancel here, so I don't want to save a partially retouched out, uh, necklace.

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Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Ben, thanks again for this course. I have taken and purchased quite a few of your courses to date. I keep thinking I will only watch to make sure I am on the right track and you always bring more to the table than the last course. Your teaching methods are the best, sorry to all the other instructors from Creative Live, but you are very easy to understand and you speak in layman's terms so we all can understand. I am following your instructions and working along with your files and it is the best! It is hard to keep up with you even when I watch you on one computer and work with the same files on another computer, to do what you are doing...impossible but I gain so much by trying. You provide so much info on each topic, it is amazing. Thanks to Karen for the PDFs, she does a fantastic job and also, for her templates/layout documents. Thanks again and to anyone who thinks this is too much money for all the videos, the exercise files and the instruction PDF, I am sorry to say but you are mistaken.

John Taylor

Like all of the Creative Live courses, excellent training. Ben does a great job of explaining the entry part of Photoshop. A lot of things cleared up in my head and i like his easy pace into this complex program. Thanks Ben.


I had several "lightbulb" moments with this class, after many years of photography and when you think you know it all, you don't :) Ben Willmore is an excellent tutor, with his many years of experience teaching PS, he obviously knows the types of things a lot of us struggle to understand. I learnt a lot about Bridge, and have since implemented these things into my everyday workflow, so much easier to sort out what I want to keep etc.. Thanks so much Ben and Creative Live. Thanks also to Ben's wife for her amazing work creating the Guide etc. Even though being in Australia, I pay more for the courses (the conversion rate, the aussie dollar is low at the moment) it's very worth it to me. I have paid more for courses here, and learnt next to nothing. Thanks again.

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