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Clone Stamp, Healing Brush and Spot Healing in Photoshop

Lesson 34 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Clone Stamp, Healing Brush and Spot Healing in Photoshop

Lesson 34 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

34. Clone Stamp, Healing Brush and Spot Healing in Photoshop


Class Trailer



Course Introduction


Camera Gear for Travel


What Camera Gear Should You Buy?


Gear Bags for Travel Photography


Location Research and Pre-Trip Planning


Importing and Naming Conventions in Lightroom


Processing Images with Presets in Lightroom


Lesson Info

Clone Stamp, Healing Brush and Spot Healing in Photoshop

Alright, now let's get into retouching. Now there is some retouching that can be done in Lightroom. If you have sensor dust specks, they're usually little circles that show up as just darker, circular areas. You see them mainly in your skies. You can easily get rid of those and you can do some limited retouching. I may have done some retouching to this one, I'm gonna find out because I'm not certain. Yeah, so I'm just gonna correct here, hit delete to get rid of this and hit delete to get rid of that. Alright, here I have an image I didn't mind but there was just some, some crap (laughs) in the walls, is what it looks like. So when I'm in the develop module, you know how you have those tools, and we've used the little adjustment brush. Well, we have this tool here. There's a couple tips I wanna give you about using it. Most of the time, I'm gonna have it set over here to heal. And just so you know the difference between clone and heal, you'll learn that a lot more when we're in Photosh...

op, heal means blend in with it's surroundings. So if you retouch something out, it means whatever it puts in there to cover up the thing you want to obscure your view of, make sure the brightness and the color matches it's surroundings. Whereas clone means just copy it over there, I don't care if it matches the surroundings, just keep it the same brightness as it originally was. So I'm gonna leave that on heal for now. And any time I have it set to heal, I almost always have the setting called feather at zero. That means give me a hard edge brush because if I give it a soft edge brush, I'm gonna force this tool to fade out on the edge and that means it won't have control over what's happening all the way out to the edge so it can't completely match it's surroundings because it can't control what's happening out there on the edge, you've told it to fade out. So I'm gonna come out here and now what I can do is I'm just gonna click on the image on one of these problems and let go and when I do, it will find an area that it thinks is appropriate in the surroundings to copy from and put there. With newer versions of Lightroom, you're not limited to a circle. You can do a circle and then click and drag to paint and when you let go, it will then copy that same shaped area from somewhere else. Sometimes it doesn't always copy from an area that's usable. It might copy, let's say it did this, you can drag this by the way, let's say it decided to copy from there. That wouldn't be appropriate, right? Well, if it ever copies from an area that just doesn't work out, on your keyboard, right next to my shift key is the forward slash key and if I press it, it's gonna force it to pick a new area. And I can press that as many times as I want. So if it ever picks an area that just doesn't quite work, forward slash, press it. And I usually give it three chances and if it's still screwing up, I manually drag it to an area that works. Now, up in the corner, that area, I don't know if it's gonna deal with it or not, I haven't tried. The problem is, if we use a tool that has the word heal attached, it means blend into surroundings, or I shouldn't say blend in, perfectly match surroundings. So if I wanna get rid of this part because it's a little dark in the corner and it's got some little speckles, I might come in here and try to paint like this but I'm not certain that it will look good. First of all, see how right now, it hit the lamp just a teeny bit? I'll hit forward slash. It's trying to copy right now from an area nearby and it finally chose to go further away. But look at the end result. You see up in the corner? Notice it's still dark? That's because any tool that has the word heal associated with it, when it's using a healing setting, is gonna try to perfectly match whatever's all the way around the edge of where it did it's work. I'm gonna hit delete. Well, once it hits the edge of the photo, there's nothing beyond the edge for it to blend in with so the only thing it can try to blend with is what used to be on the edge. And what used to be on the edge is dark. So, I'm gonna instead go over here and use a choice called clone. That's where it just blatantly copies without trying to blend in. And I'm just gonna clone from maybe over here. And I can come over here and just kinda do this, I'm just painting, you know, paint down this way. And I'll let go and it decided to copy from down here. I told you I wanted it from over here so I'll just drag that. Alright, so now, I might search out a place where the brightness would be approximately what I would want. I'm not sure if I'll find what I need or not but let's go enough with that. Then, I'm gonna go and I'm gonna apply it again, I'm gonna just completely cover up that area I just did but this time I'm gonna use heal and when it heals, what's it gonna find out there for a color to blend in with? The color I already put down a few minutes ago, I hope. So I'll just paint on there. I do need to switch this over to heal though. And now it's trying to blend in and I didn't quite do it. I thought it would be successful but it's not quite, still got a slightly dark spot. In Photoshop, no, there, I just had to push it far enough. So now, do you notice that the corner's no longer dark? Because what happened is, it thought that what the image looked like is what was there after my first pass of retouching which was brighter content. Then when I went in for the second pass, it said, "Okay, this is what I'm supposed to perfectly match here in the corner," and it perfectly matched the bright stuff. So we're gonna use that concept when we get into Photoshop but I just wanted to show you that it can be done here as well and sometimes is necessary. But you're gonna find a lot of limitations in what you can do in Lightroom when it comes to retouching. We have very basic retouching in there. In this image I attempted to do some retouching but I can see it. Do you see this kind of circle that appears here? Let's go to my retouching here and I'll get rid of this. There was just a dark thing there, I don't even know why it's there. This might be maybe an HDR image that a weird thing, no, it looks like a green light. I wasn't really happy that they put that green light there and I didn't have a tall enough ladder to go fix that. So, I decided I want to try to do it and in here I just couldn't get it done. So I'm gonna open this instead in Photoshop. I'll type command edit, E, and it'll pop it over to Photoshop and we're gonna try to fix it here. Now, for now, I'm not gonna be using layers. I usually do use layers, I'm just trying to keep things simple to begin with, then we'll progress to using layers. Layers will make it so we can easily undo the things that I'm doing to this, whereas right now what I'm gonna do is gonna be permanent. In Photoshop, we're gonna be working with three main retouching tools and a few special editions but those will be the clone stamp tool. Clone stamp means just copy from one area and apply it somewhere else without trying to do anything special, don't try to blend in with the surroundings or anything else. We're gonna have the healing brush tool, it looks like a band aid. It does try to match the surroundings. Anything with the word healing does. And then we're gonna have the spot healing brush, spot healing brush. And the spot healing brush tries to invent content to put in there, it doesn't ask you what to copy from. So let's first try the spot healing brush. All I'm gonna do it paint over this area and I need to make sure I paint over the whole problem, meaning extend far enough out that any shadow or anything else that I might need to get rid of is also covered, and then I'll let go. That didn't do the best job but it did something. I can always go in here then and try a second time and just cover up the part that's still messed up. And continue doing that. In this case, I'm not getting a smooth end result in one little area but it's not doing a terrible job. Or, I could use the trick that we used on a panorama, remember how we filled the empty parts? Well, for that you needed a selection and you can make that selection using any selection tool. In this case, I'm using my lasso tool. And I can go to the edit menu and choose fill. Content aware is what we used, let's try it. Hmm, it's not quite perfect either. So sometimes you can end up with some problem issues. I just chose undo enough times to try to undo that. So, let's look at how we might solve some of those issues. Often times what I do is break an issue up into smaller chunks and I do that by using the clone stamp tool. The clone stamp tool just blatantly copies from somewhere. So I might blatantly copy from right here. The way you copy from somewhere is you hold down option and you click. That would be alt in Windows. Then you can click somewhere else and apply it. So I might just do a little cover up there but I wanna break this up so that this like upper half is isolated from the lower half, where in between the two it looks right. And to accomplish that, I might need to come in with a softer brush, copy from over here by option clicking and just making sure I give it a transition all the way over to there to look approximately right. Then, I'm gonna come in and retry my tools and see if they do any better, sometimes they will. Just fixing half of the problem at a time. And I've never done this image before so who knows, maybe it will just be screwed up. And then I'll try the other half. It's not looking too bad, is it? I could probably still smooth it out a little bit maybe right there. But what I ended up doing was I tried to break up the problem into smaller problems and then deal with those smaller problems individually. And so any time I have something where it just doesn't seem to work, I say, "Is there any way I can break this "problem in two by putting the right kind of stuff "in between here and then try them separately?" And we'll do that for a bunch of different things when we end up doing things in real life, it's like a daily process. So I wasn't sure what was gonna work there but that ended up being it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lightroom Presets Quickstart Guide
Lightroom Preset Sampler
Pre-Trip Planning
Actions Sampler Guide
Travel Photography Handbook
Actions Sampler
Lightroom Keywords
Big Set of Lightroom Presets
Practice Images
Travel Photogtaphy Mobile Guide
Gear List
Lightroom Tips and Keyboard Shortcuts

Ratings and Reviews


This was simply an amazing experience! Without a doubt the best investment of time and money I have experienced in quite awhile. Ben's complete command of the subject, the practical tips, suggestions and reference information was outstanding. I have enjoyed point and shoot photography for some time and recently decided to invest in some decent DSLR equipment (Canon EOS D70). I have a trip to Cape Town and Johannesburg South Africa rapidly approaching and thought it might be a good idea to take some classes and make an effort to get up the learning curve ASAP to take advantage of this travel opportunity. "Discovering" Creativelive and Ben Willmore's class was literally an answer to prayer! There is nothing like sitting at the foot of wisdom, taking notes, and having numerous "ah-ha" moments! This was great....looking forward to more classes. Thanks for the high quality effort!

a Creativelive Student

Genius! Ben is a brilliant master teacher - focused, clear and holds back no information. The best! This course has condensed the equivalent of 10 courses into one. He is a perfectionist in his approach and knows how to present the material. He is the leader in photoshop and photography "par excellence". Highly recommend any of his courses. Save your time and start with the best - everyone loves Ben!!!!

Nichole Sams

I feel the title of this class, Travel Photography, is much to limiting for what you are really going to get. As a wedding photographer, who dreams of traveling, I attending the class live in Seattle, and was hoping to get some inspiration for on location shoots. What I got, however, was a WHOLE LOT MORE. I would recommend this class to anyone with a camera and Lightroom. What I learned about how lightroom works and how to integrate it with photoshop is invaluable. I actually think they should charge WAY more for this course. The bonuses with purchase from the keywords (we are talking every key word you could possibly imagine) and the presets (holycow everything you would ever need) are worth exponentially more than the course price itself. Ben is a gentle easy going teacher and nice to listen to. His ease of teaching pretty complex ideas was truly wonderful. If you are reading this you must buy this course, it is well worth it!

Student Work