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The Healing Brush Tools

Lesson 33 from: Photoshop for Beginners: Essential Training

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

33. The Healing Brush Tools

Use the Healing Brush and Spot Healing brush to correct imperfections in an image. In this session, Mark demonstrates the tools and explains why they are perfect for skin retouching and fixing issues with sensor dust.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Introducing Photoshop


The Class Materials


How To Open Files


Using The Home Screen


Exploring The Interface


Getting Additional Help


Understanding Workspaces


Lesson Info

The Healing Brush Tools

let's take a look at the healing brush tool. Now the healing brush tool comes in a few different flavors and it's perfect for removing sensor dust that maybe shows up in your image or maybe spots that are on a white background skin blemishes or unwanted areas, maybe a tattoo or something that you want to get rid of. You can do it really easily with the healing brush tools. And so to do that, let's dive over here into Photoshop and I want to open a couple of files. Actually three different files. What we're gonna do is we're gonna go file open, go to the class materials and the first file that we want to open is this concha dot DMG raw file. So when I click open, we're gonna get the adobe camera raw dialog. Don't worry about any of this stuff right now, we're gonna get to it. Just go to the lower right hand corner and click open and that will open this image. We want to open two more images. So click file, click open, Go to your class materials. We want to open the last image here is sa...

ndy dot jpeg, click open to open that file and then the last one is the file we've been working with quite a bit and that is wanna dot jpeg. So click that and open it. Okay, We've got three different files to do three different things and we're gonna really go into these different tools so that what we want to do is go over to the concha dot DMG file and we're gonna work with this one first. So to do this. What I want to do first is go to the background layer and unlock that so we can do some things. I'm gonna rename this layer. So I'm gonna click double click on the layer, name and then I can type in concha so that we have a name of that layer right there. And then I'm going to double click the magnifying glass to go all the way into full resolution 200% and hit the space bar. And this drag conchas face over here so we can really see what we're doing now. We want to do non destructive editing. And so I want to make a copy of this concha layer so that we can do some retouching on a different layer. So if I make mistakes, I can always undo those things, I can mask them out. We can do non destructive editing this way. So let's go over to the layers palette and then to make a copy of this layer, I simply click and drag this down to the plus sign and that's going to make a copy. I'm going to double click on the name of the layer and I'm gonna name this skin retouch. It's always a good idea to rename your layers so that you know exactly which layers are doing what? Okay, let's take a look now at the healing brush is So over here on the left hand side in your tools palette about, I don't know, a quarter of the way down. You should see, click and hold. You'll see the spot healing brush, the healing brush tool, the patch tool, the content aware move tool and the red eye tool. We're gonna be dealing with the spot and healing brush tools in this session. So what we want to first do is learn about the healing brush tool. What does that do? Well the healing brush dual is for healing areas of an image and the way it works as you tell Photoshop, hey, I want to sample this thing over here and then use the texture and the patterns of this stuff, maybe the skin tones and put it over here. We're not going to be cloning, we're not gonna make a direct copy. We're just saying, hey take the texture and stuff and sort of put this over here. So this matches its surrounding area using this sample over here. So let me show you this in real life. And so what we're gonna do here is I'm going to Go all the way into maybe 200%. So you can really see this. This is just for the video. Normally I would only do this at 100% to see exactly what I'm doing. I'm gonna make sure I have the healing brush tool. And now over here, what I want to do is I'm going to hit the option or alt key and notice that my cursor turns into a little target. It's saying this is the area I wanted to sample from. So I'm gonna click there and then I'm gonna go over here and notice that my uh my my cursor turns into the pattern of the sampled area. So it's saying take that texture and put it over here. So now I'm just gonna paint and notice that as I hold the mouse we have an X. That's where we're going from in the circle, that's where we're going to. So I'm just gonna do that and say fix this over here. I'm gonna hit all time instead of target right here and then we're gonna brush that in right there and you can see that I can really quickly go in and fix these areas. It's really fast. There is one way that's even faster than that. You don't have quite the precision of saying this is where I want to choose from. But it's one that I prefer for doing most retouching things and that is just the spot healing tool. So if I go over here to the spot healing brush, what it's going to do is it's going to look for the areas around the brush. And so we know that because up here in the options bar we have proximity match, create texture and content to wear. So first let me show you proximity match and how that option works. So we have this blemish right here. And so what I'm going to do here is I'm just going to paint over that. That's all I have to do. So what the tool is doing is saying, hey, look at the proximity of the area that's adjacent to where you're painting. Take those textures and make this thing match that. Let's heal it using the stuff around us so I can just go in and very quickly retouch all these little blemishes. It's really fast. And this is where the pen tool is. The tablet really makes a huge difference because you can change the size and the shape of the brush by just by pushing and making the pressure more or less and you can really get in here and do uh small re touches and things like that. Okay, let's talk about content aware and what that's doing. So if you notice we have this hair that's going through conchas eyebrow so what content to where does it's similar to proximity match. But what it says is if you see there's a clear delineation between what you're painting from and what you're going to stop healing, be aware of what's around you be sort of aware of the content that you're retouching. So for this, if I want to retouch this hair, but I don't want to go into her eyebrow, it's okay, I can just use the content aware brush. So as I'm brushing here, I'm going to go into the eyebrow, notice it's healed. The I the hair outside of the eyebrow but it stops once it gets to the eyebrow it's aware of its content. I can go down here and say let's fix this and I don't have to worry about being super accurate because the brush is aware of its surroundings. And so you can go in and do all these really um finite retouching things because its content aware, it's going to be aware of what you're doing. Okay, let's look at a couple other uses for these brushes. So let's go over here to sandy dot jpeg again, I'm going to unlock the background. I'm gonna create a copy of this background layer using a shortcut key. And that is command or control J. So instead of dragging it down to the Plus we're gonna use command and control J. And bam. I make a copy. So in the future I'll always be using that shortcut key. Command or control J. To copy a layer. But what I wanna do is I want to rename this, I'm just gonna call this retouch again, we're creating a copy of the layer. So if we screw things up, we can always go in and undo those. It's uh it is a non destructive way to do things. So let's go in 100%. And then I'm gonna use my hand tool to sort of go here and we can see that on this area right here. We have some sensor dust, we have sensor dust here, we have some sensor dust in our hair, We've got sensor dust here. So we've got some dirty sensor that needs to be cleaned up. So all we have to do is again let's go get our spot healing tool and then I'm going to change the size of the brush by hitting the right bracket on the keyboard and then I can just say hey fix that and then go down here and I'll fix that and I'm just really quickly painting those out now this one is in hair. So if I just paint really fine you can see it does a pretty good job of replacing that and using the hair or surrounding the the brush to fill that in and then I can just go and do that for all the dust spots in this image until its all cleaned up and good to go okay let's look at one other thing that we can do with the healing brush. So wanna We're gonna go in here and suit man 100 notice that she has a tattoo right here. What if we don't want that tattoo to show up. So let's repeat our steps, we're gonna unlock the background layer, we're gonna hit control J. To create a copy of that layer, I'm going to rename this and I'm gonna say retouch. Alright so now what we can do, let's go into this tattoo here, we can go get our healing brush. Let's try this patch tool. So the patch tool is something that is used to take larger segments and you can drag those over. So let me show you how this works. We're gonna already know we're gonna have some issues with this because of the way this is, but let's really zoom in here and see if we can get this to work the way I want. So we've got this tattoo, let's see if we can get rid of it again. We have the patch tool. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to draw around the tattoo. So an area like that. Okay, now I'm going to click and I'm going to drag this down. So I'm saying take this lower area and put it in the upper area, I'm gonna let go, I'll deselect and you can see we did a pretty good job, You can see that that is a little bit dark so maybe we need to take this area, drag that down and say, hey, try again with that area, Look at that her tattoo, it's gone. So when we go back 200%,, you can see that we have magically made wanda's tattoo. Go away. The healing brush tools are really amazing things. They take a little bit of finesse, a little bit of practice, they work a lot better with a tablet. So you can really do things a lot faster and so I highly recommend them. Next, we're going to look at something that's similar to the healing brush. It's the clone tool.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Class Materials

Ratings and Reviews


Mark did a great job at explaining things and going over them multiple times throughout the lessons. My only issue was that sometimes it went a little faster than I could keep up and I needed to rewind it a bit and start again. But from someone who has never worked in photoshop before I 100% recommend this class to anyone trying to learn.

Terri Schwartz

Student Work