Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Adobe Photoshop Elements

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Healing Brush Settings

The Healing Brush tool has a variety of settings to help you become more successful in dealing with specific issues.

Basic Options

When the Healing Brush is selected, the Options bar at the top of the screen allows you to alter the way the tool works (see Figure 5). These options both alter the way you use the tool, and help you to address specific needs more effectively.

Figure 05Figure 5 Options bar with callouts.

The following table describes the options.

Option

Description

Tool Presets Picker

This little gem is another great reason to upgrade Photoshop. Once you've set any tool the way you like it, you can save the settings as a named tool preset, and then reuse those settings with a click of the mouse. (It really beats trying to remember a group of options that you liked.) To use a tool preset, simply set the options on the Options bar the way you like, open the Tool Presets panel, and click the New Tool Preset button. Provide a name, and you've created a preset that you can use anytime you work in Photoshop. Neat.

Brush

When you paint with any tool in Photoshop, you need to choose a brush. Click the brush option to select a brush size, shape, and hardness for the tool. (In a bit, I'll cover the settings you should use for specific problems.)

Mode

The mode determines how the pixels you paint with interact with the pixels you paint over. Any time you mix pixels, you can set the mode. We'll revisit the mode settings later, as a way to deal with some specific problems.

Source

Although you'll most often paint with pixels you've sampled, you can also paint with a pattern you've created. This can be useful in cases where you don't have an area to sample in the existing image; sometimes you can create a pattern that matches the area you need to repair. Then select the pattern from the pop-up menu of saved patterns.

Aligned

This is an on/off switch to determine the starting position of the sample point. With this option selected, the sample point stays the same relative distance from the area you're painting—no matter where you paint. With Aligned turned off, the sample always starts at the place where you pressed Option or Alt and clicked. We'll come back to this later as a strategy for dealing with specific problems.


Remember, as you set up the tool to help you deal with specific problems, save it with the Tool Presets Picker and name it. If you do any amount of retouching work at all, you'll end up with a few of these presets.

Now that you have a sense of what the options are, let's consider which ones to choose (and why).

Choosing a Brush

Choosing a brush for healing starts with the size of the brush. Generally, you should choose a brush that's about twice the size of the blemish at its widest point. Most scratches are pretty thin; if you make the brush too wide, you'll have a hard time keeping the sample area from drifting onto pixels that don't match the area you're trying to fix. (This will be an easy problem to spot, as shown in Figure 6.)

Figure 6Figure 6 Bad example. Notice that I sampled outside the feathers, and created an obvious problem with the repair.

Another brush setting to consider is the hardness of the brush (see Figure 7). When painting with any tool, you'll normally use a soft-edged brush to create a smooth transition at the edges of the painted area. The Healing Brush generally works the same way; a softer edge can hide the effect of the brush.

Figure 7Figure 7 Setting brush hardness.

To set the hardness of a brush, follow these steps:

  1. On the Options bar, click the Brush button.

  2. Drag the hardness slider to the left, setting it to something less than 100%.

The amount of hardness depends on the level of detail in the image.

Using Replace Mode

Sometimes the smoothing effect of the Healing Brush creates an unnaturally smooth line around the painted swath. To avoid this problem, use the Replace mode from the Options bar. This turns off the smoothing effect normally employed by the Healing Brush tool. This is especially useful for areas with a lot of fine, random detail such as a sandy beach or a photograph with visible film grain.

Using Other Modes

For more subtle corrections, such as age lines or watermarks, try the other modes. These modes use various mathematical formulas to combine the pixels you're painting with the pixels you're covering. The effect will be a more blended correction that will keep the detail from the original. However, my testing of the other modes has produced little in the way of effective flaw correction; you probably can stick with Normal and Replace modes for most of your work.

NOTE

So why are the other modes there, if they're not very useful? Adobe likes to promote creativity, and by providing functions in tools that may not seem immediately appropriate, they help people to come up with all manner of techniques that no one envisioned when creating a given tool.

Using a Non-Aligned Sample Area

In some cases, you may only have a small area to use for the sample. This will require you to click and drag in several small corrections instead of one long painting motion. By deselecting the Aligned option, you can paint with the same small sample area, because each time you click the mouse to paint, the starting point of the sample will return to the place where you initially clicked with Option or Alt. Just keep an eye out for any repetitive patterns created by overuse of this technique.

Using Another Photo or Image

Sometimes you just can't find a good sample source in an image. All is not lost. In these cases, you can open a second image and sample it. Here's how:

  1. Open the two images in Photoshop.

  2. Select the Healing Brush tool.

  3. Click the image you want to sample to bring it forward, hold down Option (Mac) or Alt (Windows), and click to sample an area.

  4. Click the image needing repair to bring it to the front.

  5. Click and drag to paint as you normally would.

There are a couple of things to note. First, both documents must be set to the same color mode. If not, Photoshop will complain and refuse to allow you to paint. Also, it's a very good idea to set the windows apart so that you can see both documents as you paint. If you don't, you might drift into sample areas that don't match the area of the flaw.

Using a Pattern

Some images have a large area of essentially random-looking detail. A sandstone wall, for example, has a sea of little specks. If you need to touch up a lot of specks or scratches in such an image, you can save some time by using a pattern.

  1. Use the Rectangular Marquee tool (hint: press m) and select an area of detail with no flaws in it.

  2. Constrain the rectangle to a square by holding the Shift key while you drag with the Marquee tool.

  3. Choose Edit, Define Pattern to create a pattern from the selection. Give it a descriptive name.

  4. Select the Healing Brush tool and set the source to Pattern on the Options bar.

  5. Choose the new pattern from the Pattern pull-down menu.

  6. Paint over the flaws. Figure 8 shows an example.

Figure 8Figure 8 Before and after with swatch used.

One thing to watch for is the tiling effect you can see if you paint over large areas with a pattern. To avoid this error, turned off the Aligned option and paint with small clicks to "dab" paint instead of producing large swaths (see Figure 9).

Figure 9Figure 9 Aligned on and off.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020