Out of all the posts I write, I’d have to say that small tip posts are my favorite. I love learning these tips and I love sharing them with you. It’s that tiny high people get from reading about or watching something they’re interested in learning and then saying, “Ah ha!” when they figure things out. I love that and I promise to show you as many tips as I possibly can, right here on this website.
In today’s post, I’d like to talk about one very small area of cleaning photos up using the Spot Healing Brush Tool. I know I’ve already discussed this tool before and that I demonstrated the proper method for using it, but there is one thing I missed. Well, I most likely missed a lot more things than just one, but there’s one really important aspect of how to best use the tool that I have yet to discuss.
I’d like to show you how you can use this tool to remove any type of blemish in a photo. Then, I’d like to demonstrate how you can undo one or more of your corrections. The method I’ll show you is super simple and can save many a headache. I know how frustrating it can be to go back and try to remove corrections. It’s a real pain.
Let’s face facts here. Even though I wrote a post explaining the proper procedure for using the Spot Healing Brush Tool in Adobe Photoshop, I know that not many people are going to use it. What really happens is that editors quickly open a photo, grab the tool, resize their brush and start removing blemishes by clicking around. Just like that. They don’t take the additional steps to create a new layer and then to check the box that says Sample All Layers. In all honesty, the reason very few people take these additional precautions is because they don’t need to. Most corrections are fast and dirty and really, you get identical results, no matter how you go about things. The issues arise when you find that you need to undo something. Or change something. Or put things back the way they originally were. If you don’t create that additional layer, you’re going to be stuck with a photo you destructively edited.
To see what I’m referring to when I talk about this additional layer, please take a look at this post below.
For this post, I’ll be using the photo below.
The reason I chose this one is because the girl in the photo has a few freckles. As I mentioned in my previous post on this topic, I have nothing against freckles, it’s just that it’s a real challenge to locate photos of people with acne. Those types of photos would be my first choice, but freckles are fine.
Removing Some Blemishes
In this section, I’m going to go about the quick and dirty method for removing blemishes in Photoshop. The photo is already opened in the application, so I’ll head over to the left vertical toolbar and select the Spot Healing Brush Tool.
From there, I’ll resize my brush, add an appropriate amount of feather and remove a few freckles. Here’s my result.
As you can see there are fewer freckles. If I wanted to, I could save this file out and get on with my day. The problem is, if I didn’t create that additional layer to protect me, I might be stuck if someone were to ask me to make a change in regards to a blemish I just removed. Let’s take a look at the History panel, so I can show you just how difficult things would be.
Do you see what I’m talking about? How in the heck am I supposed to know which freckle removal belongs to which history layer? And even if I could find out, if I were to click on one of those states, everything after it would be gone. I’d have to redo work I already did, which is a waste of time and money.
Filling in with History
I have a really great method for getting around this little issue. I’m going to show you right now. To demonstrate, I’ll need to draw some guides to remind me where the freckle I’m about to remove is.
Now, I’ll use the Spot Healing Brush Tool to remove the freckle. I won’t show you a screenshot of what the result looks like, because you already know. The freckle will just be gone.
Okay, let’s say I did a huge number of corrections on this girl’s face and someone then asked me to recover the freckle on the forehead – you know, the one I have in the crosshairs of the guide. How can I get back just that freckle without touching anything else? Check this out.
I’m going to use the Lasso Tool to draw a selection around the area where the freckle was. I can use any tool, but it’s a good habit to get into using the Lasso Tool because it has the ability to draw such custom shapes.
Next, I’ll right-click inside the selection and choose Fill.
When the Fill dialog box appears, I’ll click the Contents drop-down box and then I’ll select History.
I’ll click on the OK button and, bam, the freckle will magically reappear.
The really cool part about this approach to solving the problem is that we’re able to draw as large of a selection as we want to. It I wanted to select the entire image to bring back the original state of things, I could. It’s that versatile. Give this a try, I think you’ll like the results.
I hope I clearly explained how to go about undoing unintended blemish removals using the Fill dialog box in Adobe Photoshop. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!