Welcome to another Photoshop tutorial from the series Get to Know: Photoshop.
In this tutorial, we will learn lifesaving Photoshop tool i.e. Healing Brush Tool. If you are following my Get to Know: Photoshop series, you may remember that last time I wrote about Spot Healing Brush Tool which is nothing but a light version of Healing Brush Tool.
Please do not interpret Healing Brush Tool as Spot Healing Brush Tool and vice versa. They both are totally different tools.
As the name says, the function of Healing Brush Tool is to heal something. You can remove acne, wrinkles, message board, duct, or anything but with some restrictions. I advise you to experiment with this brush after reading this tutorial.
Like all my tutorials, this tutorial would also be divided into two sections. First section deals with the basics of the Healing Brush tool and second sections deals with the advance Healing Brush Tool.
Section 1: The Basics
Look at the below image. In this image, I want to remove the wrinkle that is surrounded by red color. There are many tools to use like Spot Healing Brush, Clone Stamp Tool, etc. but for the sake of this tutorial, I am going to use Healing Brush Tool which I think is the best tool for this purpose.
You might be thinking that removing these kinds of things are hard to achieve. If you have never used Photoshop or high-end photo retouching software then you might also have a doubt that these kind of things are achievable or not? The answer is yes. With the help of Photoshop, these kinds of things will be nothing but a duck soup.
The first thing that you need to do is to grab the Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop. You can grab it from the tool panel or you can activate it by pressing Shift+B again and again until it comes.
Now you need to look at that part of the image which looks same as the area you want to remove or heal. Basically, you will take that area as a reference while healing the unwanted area or pixels. In this image, the area that is encircled with red color would be the perfect area to take as reference.
After deciding the reference area or pixels, hold down Alt/Opt key and click on the reference area. This will make that pixel(s) as the reference pixel. Once you hold down Alt/Opt key, you will notice that the cursor would change and looks like the one that is shown below.
Now it would great if you create a new layer exclusively for the Healing Brush so that your work can be non-destructive. Basically, non-destructive retouching means that your original image would always be safe. The only way to do it in Photoshop is by using multiple layers rather than using all the tools in your background layer.
To create a new layer, press Ctrl+Alt+N/Cmd+Opt+N or go to Layer>New>Layer. You can also rename it to Healing Brush so that you can easily find the layer which you have used for Healing Brush.
Now slowly brush on the pixels you want to heal. You will notice that the pixels would heal automatically.
Once everything is done, the image looks like the one shown below. The wrinkle is completely gone with no marks.
Section 2: The Advanced Approach
In this section, we will discuss the option bar of the Healing Brush Tool.
Like other Photoshop tools, Healing Brush Tool also comes with its own option panel.
This is actually Blend Mode of the brush. With these modes, you can change the look and feel of the brush. For more details, read my tutorial on Blending Modes in Photoshop. It would be best to use Normal mode if you are a beginner.
There are two types are source present in Healing Brush Tool. One is sampled and other is patterned. By default Sampled is turned on. If Sampled is turned on, Photoshop will take the reference pixels as the reference and try to heal the target pixels. The example that showed to you in Section 1 was nothing but a Sampled source.
However, sometimes you don’t get desired pixels to take as reference. For example, if you want to remove graffiti, you may not get desired pixels to take as reference. In those cases, you can change the source to Pattern. In this source, Photoshop heals the area by creating a pattern. You can choose a brick pattern as your desired pattern and heal the graffiti.
Turn on this feature to align the sample point with the cursor. If this feature is turned off, the sample point will be back to its default value whenever you lift up the mouse click.
If you like non-destructive retouching or if you work with multiple layers, it’s better to choose All Layers. In All Layers feature, Photoshop will consider all layers while setting the reference point. Apart from it, you can also choose Current and Current & Below.
Ignore Adjustment Layer:
Unlike the previous example, if you have used adjustment layers in your image and you don’t want to consider those adjustment layers while healing your image or while using Healing Brush Tool, turn on this feature. If you want the opposite of that, turn off this feature.
Always Use Pressure for Size:
This feature is exclusively built for the photographers or designers who use graphic tablets like Wacom tablet. If this feature is turned on, Photoshop automatically adjusts the size of the brush according to the pressure of the stylus. Note that your tablet must be a pressure sensitive tablet.
Unfortunately, this feature does not work with the touchpads as a laptop’s touchpad does not have a pressure sensor or in other words, it is not a pressure sensitive device.
Now we are done here. Read more tutorials with my Get to Know: Photoshop series.
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