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Removing Spots, Specks, Blemishes, Etc.

If you need to remove something pretty minor from your photo, like a spot from some dust on your camera’s sensor, or a blemish on your subject’s face, or something relatively simple like that, you can use the Spot Removal tool right within Camera Raw. If it’s more complicated than just a simple spot or two, you’ll have to head over to Photoshop and use its much more powerful and precise retouching tools (like the Healing Brush tool, Patch tool, and Clone Stamp tool).

Step One

This photo has some simple problems that can be fixed using Camera Raw’s Spot Removal tool. You start by clicking on the Spot Removal tool (the seventh tool from the right in the toolbar) by pressing B to get it, and a set of options appears in the Spot Removal panel on the right (seen here). Using the tool is pretty simple—just move your cursor over the center of a spot that needs to be removed (in this case, it’s those spots in the sky where my camera’s sensor got dirty), then click, hold, and drag outward, and a red-and-white circle will appear, growing larger as you drag outward. Keep dragging until that circle is a little larger than the spot you’re trying to remove (as shown here below). Don’t forget, you can use the Zoom tool (Z) to zoom in and get a better look at your spots before you drag out your circle.

Step Two

When you release the mouse button, a second circle (this one is green and white) appears to show you the area where Camera Raw chose to sample your repair texture from (it’s usually very close by), and your spot or blemish is gone (as seen here).

Step Three

To remove a different spot (like the one to the right of the top wood post here), you use the same method: move over that spot, click, hold, and drag out a circle that’s slightly larger than the spot, then release the mouse button. In this case, Camera Raw did sample a nearby area, but unfortunately it also sampled the bottom corner of the post and it copied it to the sky area where we were retouching, making the retouch look very obvious with that piece of post hanging out there.

Step Four

If this happens, here’s what to do: move your cursor inside the green-and-white circle, and drag that circle to a different nearby area (here, I dragged upward and to the left to a clean nearby area), and when you release the mouse button, it resamples texture from that area. Another thing you can try, if the area is at all near an edge, is to go to the top of the Spot Removal panel and choose Clone rather than Heal from the Type pop-up menu (although I use Heal about 99% of the time, because it generally works much better).

Step Five

When you’re done retouching, just change tools and your retouches are applied (and the circles go away). Here’s the final retouch after removing all the spots in the sky from my dirty sensor. Use this tool the next time you have a spot on your lens or on your sensor (where the same spot is in the same place in all the photos from your shoot). Then fix the spot on one photo, open multiple photos, and paste the repair onto the other selected RAW photos using Synchronize (see “Editing Multiple Photos at Once,” earlier in this chapter, and just turn on the Spot Removal checkbox in the Synchronize dialog).

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