Retouching with the Spot Healing Brush
We're very limited in what we can do here in Camera Raw, and I would rather spend our time learning the really powerful retouching stuff. So, let's go in, and take a look at what Photoshop offers. In Photoshop, we have three main tools we'll be using. That is the clone stamp tool, the healing brush, and the spot healing brush. If you get used to all three of those tools, and you truly understand how they work, then you'll be able to tackle most retouching jobs. So in here we have some tourists in Iceland, and I would like to remove them from my photograph. I'm gonna go to my tools panel, and there I'm going to find this slot, right below the eye dropper tool, and that's where I'm gonna find the spot healing brush. With the spot healing brush active, I'm gonna use a hard edge brush. Anytime I use a tool that has the word "healing" attached, I almost always use a hard edge brush. If I use a soft edge brush, then the tool will not have control all the way out to the edge of where my brush...
is, because of the soft edge, it will force it to fade out. Well if it's trying to precisely match both the color and the brightness out there on the edge, you won't be able to with that soft brush. So it's only with a hard brush that it'll have full control all the way out to the edge. So I'm just gonna go on top of these people that are here, and with a hard edge brush and the spot healing brush active, I'm gonna click, and before I let go, I'm gonna paint over the entirety of what needs to be removed. And since this one person is in contact, is touching the other, I'm gonna paint over them as well. And only when I got the entire thing covered am I gonna release the mouse button. Now because this tool has the word healing in its name, that means it's gonna attempt to match both the brightness in the color of whatever's right on the edge of where I've painted. And that's why I did not paint over so far that I would just about be touching the guy to the left. If I did extend far enough where I just touched him, then it would attempt to try to match it, because it would be touching the edge. So let go. And that' not bad, other than this area down here where the walking path got broken. So, I'll just click on that area, and see if it does an okay job. Often times I need to just get a smaller and smaller brush to get into those tighter areas. Then I'll go to the next person, and do that as well. Making sure I cover the entirety of it, I don't want to stop half way. I'll choose undo just for a moment. If I do stop half way, let's say I start at the top and I work down like this, well now it assumes that it's supposed to match the brightness in color of everything that's right outside of that. So at the bottom, you see black pants. And therefore, it thinks it needs to match a black object. Therefore, it might choose to grab some of the rocks that are above and to the right to make it look like it's appropriate to, you know, match with those pants, let's see. Well it extended the pants up at least. And so instead, I want to paint over the entirety of the object. Because then, what is out there on the edge is what it should end up matching. And it's relatively easy to remove those people. No so far, I've been working directly on the layer that contains the original picture. And that's not what I would usually suggest, because if you mess up, and you happen to not notice until you've already closed that image, maybe you noticed it a month later when you're making a big print, well it's impossible for me to bring back those people using just the information that's in this file. Because, look at my layers panel, the people just aren't found anywhere. So what I'm gonna do now is revert this picture. That's gonna bring it back to its original version. And before I actually do the retouching, I'd go in my layers panel, and I create a brand new empty layer by clicking on new layer icon. And then when I go to my healing brush, I need to make sure up here in my options bar, that this checkbox right here called "Sample All Layers", is turned on. The default setting would have it turned off. So, gotta have that turned on, otherwise when it's turned off, it only looks at the layer that's currently active, and that's the only layer I'd be able to copy from. Well, that layer's empty, so this tool just would not work whatsoever if that checkbox wasn't turned on, and I was working on an empty layer. But now I can come in here and reach out, touch out the same people. And because I'm working on an empty layer, my results are not permanent because the original untouched picture can still be found at the bottom of my layers panel. And therefore all I need to do to see before and after, is turn off the eyeball on that layer to reveal the original picture that's underneath. Turn the eyeball back on, and I see my results. And if I hide the layer that's underneath, I can see just the retouching. Now after you have applied retouching like that, I suggest that you zoom up, and you be a little bit critical of it. Because you'll often find repeated shapes. For instance here, if you see some yellow flowers right here, within kind of a darker mass, that is a blatant copy of this area right here. And so if you end up doing retouching, it can often be obvious if you don't look for those things. And so I'll look for blatant repeats, I'll get a smaller brush, and then I'll try to break them up so it doesn't look like exactly, like another area within the image. Also here I see kind of a distinct shape, that looks very similar to this one. And I don't always retouch out the one that I've just created as a repeat, sometimes I go back to the original one and retouch it out instead. But I try to look for those repeats and see if I can break them up to make them not look quite the same. Here this area looks just about identical to that area, so I'll break one of them up. And if it refuses to retouch something out, that's when you tackle the other repeat. And if it still won't do it, either connect the two together, and I'll force them to get rid of it, or just switch to a different tool. Pretty much this tool is the one that picks for you where to copy from, and I give it three strikes and then it's out. Meaning three tries to fix an area, and if it messes up at three times, I switch to a different tool, and the other tool will most likely be a more manual application. But it's gonna be something that gives you more control. Or more influence at least, over the end result. Got some more people here. But you can see that just this single tool is often enough to tackle most simple retouching jobs. All our people are gone. That's the spot healing brush. And the spot healing brush picks a location on its own to copy from, and often times it's a mix of surrounding elements, it's not always a blatant large area. So it can do a very nice job. But at the same time, it's very common for it to mess up, and you have to take control.