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How to Use Spot Healing Tool in Photoshop

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There are editing software programs that offer you the world. Photoshop is an all-inclusive machine that lets you complete any editing your images need.

Sometimes, you don’t need something really powerful. Sometimes, you just need to remove that tiny spot in your scene, giving it the power it deserves.

Read on to find out how to use the Spot Healing Tool in Photoshop.

Why Is the Spot Healing Tool Useful?

From birds in the sky to pesky dead pixels, the spot healing tool is the answer. This is a tool that you’ll find comes in handy in all sorts of situations.

You can use it for portraits, where blemishes ruin a potentially great image. That tourist in the background of your almost perfect shot of the Eiffel Tower is gone in a flash.

Personally, I use it for a range of things, especially with interior photography. Here, I can remove unsightly marks from couches, scuffs from a wall or remove whole items if I wish.

Where Can I Find the Spot Healing Tool in Photoshop?

The spot healing tool is located in the Tools panel, under the Spot Healing Brush tool in Photoshop.

Here, you can adjust the size and strength of the Spot Healing Brush tool to fit the situation.

How to Use Spot Healing Tool in Photoshop

There are a few ways you can use the Spot Healing tool, not to mention a few different modes.

If you are unsure how each works, it is best to try them out. Use Ctrl + Z (PC) to go back and try again if need by. Sometimes you only need a ‘zap’, and the issue has gone.

At other times, it might call for a little more time and patience, especially with larger items.

Here are the three types.

Proximity Match

This type looks at the area around the spot and analyses it. This way, the tool is able to identify and locate the best sample to take the information from.

The data from this sample is then applied to the tool, allowing you to replace the blemishes or marks by painting over it.

This is great type to use for small spots, such as dead pixels. But, it isn’t the best type to use for larger areas.

The larger the area, the more data the tool has to analyse and draw its information from. This could mean not getting the colour or texture exactly right.

It is best to use a small sized brush for this, getting great results when the brush is smaller than the area you are trying to fix.

As it is a brush, and will constantly re-evaluate the area, you can paint over something rather than just zapping it away with one click.

Create Texture

Proximity Match is great for colours and exposure, but what about texture. This is where the Create Texture comes in.

It works in a similar way, in that the tool in this mode pulls information from around the spot’s area. But, it will create a texture or pattern based on what it finds from the surrounding area.

This allows you to blend in, and repair using textures, otherwise, the area would stick out like a sore thumb.

Content-Aware

The content-aware type is the most intelligent system to use. This works out, from analysing the surrounding area, the best way to fill and cover up the spot.

Something like this is great to use as a brush, rather than a quick zap. This is because the brush keeps re-evaluating the areas surrounding what you are fixing.

I have used this on wires, cables, and all sorts of things found in rooms that clients want to have photographed.

As this has the most complicated way of spot healing, it is, therefore, the most complicated to use. You need to be a little deft to use this type to its full potential.

You might not get it all in one go, and as the area changes, you’ll notice that the brush size and strength also plays an important role. The direction of the brush is also important, so try different directions.

Take your time. Use the ‘undo’ button as much as you need to, and try again until it looks right. Use short strokes.

NB: With this type, you want to stop and start many times – don’t try and do it in one go. By clicking on the undo button, you go back to the last time you took your finger off the mouse or trackpad. If you spend a long time doing it in one go and make a tiny mistake, you’ll need to do it all over again.

There is nothing from stopping you from using all three types if you need to. I have worked on images in the past where I tried with the first two brushes and then ended with the Content Aware type.

Why Not Use the Photoshop Healing Brush Tool?

The Photoshop healing brush tool is a great way to blend in areas that contain blemishes or marks. So why don’t we use this instead?

Well, they both do a similar thing, yet they sample the surrounding areas differently.

For example, the healing brush allows the user to choose a source from which to take the information from. This can be chosen and then re-designated again and again.

The spot healing brush looks beyond the strokes and texture, incorporating colours, shapes and anything else it feels fit to include.

With particular shapes, the spot healing brush places what it thinks you want to go there. The Photoshop healing brush is a little more intuitive but comes with a higher skill level.

Why not check out our articles on how to use the clone stamp tool or patch tool, or how to replace a face in Photoshop next!

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