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Using the Spot Removal tool

Use the Spot Removal tool to remove imperfections from a photo, such as spots caused by dust on the camera lens, blemishes in a portrait, or insects on flowers. You can let Camera Raw locate a source area for the repair automatically, or you can choose a source area.

The Spot Removal tool does an improved job of locating a source area automatically, especially when used to heal nonsmooth textures (Adobe mentions bark, rocks, and foliage as examples of textures in which healing results are improved). Also, if you use this tool on a photo that you cropped in Camera Raw, the tool will look for source areas within the crop boundary first.org_star.jpg

To remove blemishes or spots:

  1. Choose the Spot Removal tool spot_rem_tool_icon.jpg (B).
  2. Zoom in on an area to be repaired.
  3. Press [ or ] to size the brush cursor, then do one of the following:

    Ctrl-Alt-drag/Cmd-Option-drag outward from the center of a blemish to create and scale a target circle A; or click a blemish; or if you want to control which area Camera Raw uses as the source, Ctrl-drag/Cmd-drag from the target area to the desired source area. When you release the mouse, a red dashed circle surrounds the target region and a green dashed circle surrounds the source area.B


    A With the Spot Removal tool, we held down Ctrl-Alt/Cmd-Option and dragged to create a target circle around a blemish.


    B The tool created a linked source circle in a similar area and repaired the blemish.

    Drag across a blemish to create a target region. When you release the mouse, a border with a red pin surrounds the target region and a border with a green pin surrounds a source region.C–E


    C To remove an imperfection from a leaf, we’re dragging to create a target region.


    D The tool created a source region and two pins.


    E The line is eliminated from the leaf.

    • To display a black-and-white version of the photo to help you pinpoint dust spots or other irregularities, check Visualize Spots (Y). Adjust the black-to-white threshold via the slider. Press Y to return to the normal display.
  4. Optional: To soften the transition between the current target area and surrounding areas, adjust the Feather value. A–C Or to adjust the Feather value interactively (within the current size of the brush cursor), with Shift and right-click held down, drag horizontally in the preview. The new Feather value will display within the selected target area. The Feather value is sticky, meaning the current value will persist for future editing sessions until you change it.org_star.jpg


    A The shed in this photo is a distracting element.


    B Using the Spot Removal tool, we dragged outward from the center of the shed. With the Feather value for the tool set to 100%, the healing is fading around the rim of the circle, and sections of the original background aren’t replaced.


    C We changed the Feather slider for the tool to 10%. Now the shed is more fully replaced with tree pixels, with minimal fading along the rim of the target region.

  5. From the Type menu, choose Heal to blend source pixels into the texture and luminosity values of the target pixels (often the best choice), or Clone to copy the source pixels exactly without any healing.

    Optional: To cycle through alternative source locations that Camera Raw detects, press (and keeping pressing) /.

  6. To hide all regions and circles at any time in order to judge the Spot Removal results, uncheck Overlay (V). Recheck it for the remaining steps.
  7. Select a target or source region by clicking its pin, or select a circle by clicking inside it, then do any of the following optional steps:

    To reposition a region or circle, drag inside it.

    To control the opacity of the repair, change the Opacity value in the panel.

    To resize a pair of target and source circles (not irregular-shaped regions), drag the dashed border.

    To add to an existing region (or to convert a circle to a region), position the pointer just outside it, then hold down Shift and click or drag.

  8. Optional: Create more regions or circles to correct other blemishes.

    To remove a pair of circles or regions, hold down Alt/Option and click in the target or source area; or to delete multiple circles and/or regions, Alt/Option drag a marquee across them; or to remove all Spot Removal circles and regions, click Clear All.

  9. To redisplay the main tabs, press H (Hand tool).

    • To redisplay the current Spot Removal overlays at any time, choose the tool again (press B).
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