Photoshop Healing Tools: Spot Healing and Healing Brush Tools

Cleaning up a photo is one of the first things I do when bringing a photo into Photoshop.  I want to remove all the imperfections so they are not pronounced by any other editing I may do.  Below I’m going to cover the Spot Healing Brush and the Healing Brush, great tools for clean-up work!


Spot Healing Brush Tool

The Spot Healing Brush Tool is great for removing ‘spots’ – pimples, crumbs, flakes, small scratches, and other blemishes on your photo that are spot-like in nature.

The Spot Healing Brush Tool is available in the Tools panel or by using the shortcut ‘J’ (hit shift + J to cycle through the healing tools):


In this example, there is a small scratch on her chin we are going to fix with the Spot Healing Brush Tool (we will fix the stray hairs later):


1.  With the Spot Healing Brush Tool selected, zoom into the area at 100%, adjust your brush size, and place the cursor over the area:


2.  Simply click!  The spot is gone like magic.


Just like with the Brush tool, you can vary the brush size and opacity as necessary.


Healing Brush Tool

The Healing Brush Tool is great for stray hairs, longer scratches, and other irregularly-shaped areas where you want to replicate texture from another part of your image. It is located under the Spot Healing Brush Tool (or hold down Shift while tapping J until it comes up).


The Healing Brush is similar to the Spot Healing Brush, but you must first select a Source before using the brush.  In other words, you must first tell Photoshop the texture with which you want to ‘heal’ the problem area. 

Using the same image as above, we are going to clean up the stray hairs.

1.  To select the Source, hold down the Alt key and click on a nearby area of ‘clean’ skin.  Holding down Alt will bring up a target-like cursor


2.  Now that your Source is selected, click and drag the cursor over the hair in small strokes.  That way, if you mess up, you can undo a small section instead of an entire area.  To make the edit more believable, it’s also helpful to select a new Source as you go by Alt + clicking on fresh areas every few strokes. (Your cursor is the circle, and the ‘Source’ you selected is shown as crosshairs.  The crosshairs will move as your cursor moves).


Here is the affected section of the image after we have used the Spot Healing and Healing Brush Tools:


If you are on a computer, rollover the image below for a Before and After:


Again, like the brush tool, the opacity and brush size can be modified as necessary. 

I want to point out that the Healing Brush Tool does not clone the area of skin from your Source, but it will take the texture from the Source and blend it with the color of the area you’re fixing.  If you truly want to duplicate the pixels from another area of your photo, you’ll want to use the Clone Stamp Tool.  ;)

Happy editing!!  And thanks so much for stopping by, I appreciate you being here!

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One Response to Photoshop Healing Tools: Spot Healing and Healing Brush Tools

  1. Daniel musau says:

    Thanks for the tutorial it as real thirst my quench.

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