Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Photoshop Tip 7: The Spot Healing Brush

Today's Photoshop tutorial will show how to remove small glare spots, scratches, fuzz, cat hairs, and other boo boos.
(Think of this as the 'cosmetic surgery' of Photoshop)

final edited image at left, Cuppa Black, 10" x 10"

First, a few notes. Thanks to everyone who's had a chance to peruse these tips and has found them helpful.
Here's a really great quote (Thanks Doug!) from the very fine painter Doug Hoover:

"R. I just wanted to tell you, as a 20 year recovering creative veteran, your Photoshop posts are spot-on. You know your PSD stuff. For a full-time artist, I think Photoshop is invaluable. And the only way to get good at this is to do it over and over. I started using Photoshop in 1995 and haven't looked back... You rock... D.


So, onto to today's tutorial:

Repairing small glare spots, scratches, fuzz, and other boo boos with the Spot Healing Brush.
First, I've opened the usual set of two matching images, and then used the Zoom Tool to magnify what I want to correct: primarily the cat hair (how'd that get in there??). To use the Zoom tool, click on the icon in the bottom of the side tool box that looks like a tiny magnifying glass. Holding down your Ctrl Key, (Cmmd for Mac users), click on + to enlarge, and - to reduce. (that's the 'plus' and minus' keys respectively.

Photoshop has a great little tool called the Spot Healing Brush; it is located on the main toolbox and the icon looks like a little bandaid. For small repairs on photos you can't beat this tool.

The Spot Healing Tool is very easy to use. Click on the tool, and then set the size as needed in the toolbar above: click on 'Brush' and a drop down palette will let you size the tool. To use the tool to take away dust motes, tiny raised spots that caught the light, etc., simply click on the offending spot. It will automatically blend into the surrounding area.

For scratches or hairs on a straight line
, click on one end of the line (the circle below indicated that starting point of the tool); then hold hold the shift key, and click again. The whole line should correct. If you get color crossover, undo the step (Ctrl+Z) and do in shorter segments.

Below is the corrected photo (on the left) line gone!


  1. LOL! I love it when you use such technical terms such as "boo boos". Yer talkin' at my level R.!

  2. Thank you so much for these tutorials. I've had photoshop at work for years, but only use it enough to be a danger to myself! You make it seem so easy - up to this point I have been totally intimidated by the program. Thanks.

  3. Thanks Sheila and Connie!
    For those who like to get technical, there's plenty of photo editing tutorials that can be found online (in Adobe forums, for instance).
    For most of us artists, though, I think we just don't care that much about the science and logarithms behind the tools, we just want to fix our photos fast-- and get back to painting!!

  4. Thanks so much for taking the time to put all these photoshop tutorials together! I've been reading your blog for awhile and have thoroughly enjoyed your posts and your beautiful artwork. I happened upon your blog because we were both online at artscuttlebutt at the same time and I remembered your name from the ASL summer art market. (My booth was directly across from you a few years ago.)
    Keep up the great work, and thanks again. I now have a few more techniques in my limited photoshop toolkit!
    Cheryl Anderson

  5. Cheryl, It is SO nice to hear from you! Are you going to do Summer Art Market this year?

    Thanks for your kind words on the Photoshop tips.

  6. Thanks for your message--it's nice to reconnect! I'm not sure about SAM, I took last year off but am leaning towards doing it again--even with the economy. At the very least it's great exposure. Are you going to do it this year?
    I would take a photoshop class with you at ASL--that's a great idea!

  7. this tutorial is very useful! thanks a lot for sharing them.


Thank you for your kind comments! They always make my day.