This is going to be sort of a weird post. I usually write about straightforward topics, but today, I thought I’d give you something that you could “chew on” more than use right away. More of an idea or a concept, if you will.
I recently wrote a few articles that talked about using the Spot Healing Brush Tool and the Healing Brush Tool in Adobe Photoshop. If you’re interested, you can view both of those posts by clicking through the links below.
Between these two resources, I talked about how to best take advantage of the basic functions of the tools in question as well as how to go about using them in a non-destructive manner. They were very informative posts, so I highly encourage you to take a quick glance at them, at the very least.
In today’s post, I’d like to move things one step further and offer two tips for how to use the Healing Brush Tool in Adobe Photoshop. The first tips is good for some situations while the second one probably has more opportunity for use under the right circumstances. Please continue reading below because, again, you may remember what I share today and the lesson may serve you well down the road.
The Demo Photo
The reason I chose this photo was two-fold. First, there’s a small window in it. I needed that to explain and discuss my first tip. Also, on the wall, stucco (or something similar) was used, which resulted in a textured pattern. I needed this pattern for the second tip. While I won’t be able to show you exactly what I’m referring to for the second tip with this photo, I’ll use an additional photo to get my point across. I’ll display this additional photo below as well.
This is the first one.
And this is the second one. This tip builds off the idea of using the Healing Brush Tool in a non-destructive manner and the extra layer you’ll nee to do so. It’s a very helpful idea.
Shrinking, Duplicating or Moving an Object
Okay, let’s get going. The first photo is already opened in its own tab inside of Photoshop. I’m going to activate the Healing Brush Tool over in the left vertical toolbar and size it so it fits my project. Then, I’ll create a new layer in the Layers panel so I can work on this photo non-destructively (see more about that here). After that, I’ll take a sample of the wall by holding the Alt key down on my keyboard and by clicking somewhere on the stucco. In the screenshot below, I’ll circle the sample area in red.
After I take the sample, I can begin coloring in the window from the bottom up. I’ll make sure my new layer is active in the Layers panel before I draw.
Take a look at this next screenshot. After drawing some of the area of the window, I clicked and dragged the new layer over to the side, so you could get a clear picture of what happened. You can see that I kept a hard edge on the brush I was using and you can also see the size of the brush as well.
As you can see, the Healing Brush Tool basically clones an area. And since I did this on its own layer, I can use that layer to move the cloned area around. My goal for this first project is to shrink the window. I’ll go ahead and move the cloned area over the bottom of the window, so it’s smaller than it was before.
See? Now the window isn’t as low to the ground as it was originally.
My point with sharing this concept is to convey that the Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop can be used for much more than simply hiding things. It can also be used to clone areas or to even move things around.
If I wanted to relocate the window closer to the door, I could take a different sample from an area to the right of the window. I circled that area in the screenshot below.
Now, if I draw over the entire window and the area to the left of it, I can essentially move the window over to the left. Again, since I did this in a new layer, I can slide the area I drew around at my leisure. I placed it on the door again, so you can see what I did.
If I put the window back to where it was initially drawn, it’ll replace the window’s original location and will blend right into the wall because of the way the Healing Brush Tool works. It not only heals, but it blends with the target background as well. Let’s see the final result with this.
Finally, if I wanted to duplicate the window, I could take my sample from the window itself. My sample area is circled in red below.
Now, if I start drawing to the left of the window, a straight-up duplicate will appear. Again, I moved my drawing over on top of the door, so you can see what I did.
If I move it back to where I initially drew it, it would again blend in with the background texture.
You have to admit, that’s pretty cool. In Photoshop, you can use the Healing Brush Tool for a lot of tasks similar to this. This is why I wanted to make you aware of it. Because of its versatility. You can move people, get rid of trees, duplicate bridges – all sorts of stuff.
Making Minor Adjustments to Healed Areas
Oftentimes, an area that you heal (the target) won’t line exactly up with the area you pulled the healing area from (the source). In this final section, I want to show you a small tip that may help you out in this regard, especially if you’re working with patterns.
Let’s say there’s something I would like to cover up at the center of this next photo. I know there’s nothing there, so we’ll have to use our imaginations.
I’ll go ahead and take a sample from somewhere towards the side of the photo. Then, I’ll draw over the center area, to cover up the object. In this screenshot below, I shifted the drawn area around a bit so you can see what I did. I also encapsulated the drawing in red.
Now, as you can imagine, many patters don’t line up exactly as they are supposed to. There are minute differences in size and distance of areas among the pattern. Because of this, it’s helpful to transform the replicated area to help it line up.
In this example, I’m going to make sure the layer with the healing area is selected in the Layers panel and then I’ll press Ctrl+T to activate the Free Transform function of Photoshop (after moving the area back to where it originated). When I active the Free Transform function, a bounding box will appear.
Sometimes, you can get away with simply enlarging or shrinking the replicated area. Most of the times though, you’ll need to distort it. Since the healed area is on its own layer again, this is very simple.
To distort an active transform bounding box, all you need to do is to hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click and drag a corner.
If you look closely at the screenshot above, you’ll see that the bounding box has been distorted. While the image I’m using doesn’t call for any correction, you can definitely see how tiny nudges in any direction might help line up, say, a chain link fence. Or a staircase or any repetitive pattern for that matter. I just wanted to throw this out there.
If you’d like to learn more about warping and distorting layers and objects in Adobe Photoshop, please take a look at these posts below.
This is the close of another post. I hope I helped you out by giving you some ideas for how to use the Healing Brush Tool in a few non-conventional ways. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please let me know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!