Using the Healing Tools to Retouch Skin: Photoshop Tutorial

Photoshop includes some helpful Healing tools which you can use to remove blemishes from your photos. They comprise of the Spot Healing Brush, The Healing Bush Tool, The Patch Tool and the Red-Eye Tool. In this tutorial I will show you how to use them correctly to remove blemishes and a stray hair from the portrait of a model.

Our source photo is Harajuku Girl by pjan vandaele

Remove Blemishes with the Spot Healing Brush

The first thing we will do is remove the moles and other skin blemishes so select the Spot Healing Brush

Depending on the size of your source image you may need to adjust the size of the brush, for our purposes I have set it to 19

With the brush selected, the process is really simple – you juct click over the blemishes and the tool will use an algorythm to remove them. repeat this for any blemishes you want to remove.

Here is what the image looks like with the skin blemishes removed, for the next step we will use the patch tool to begin removing the stray hair which goes over the model’s mouth.

Remove the Stray Hair with the Patch Tool

Select the patch tool

Now draw a selection around the hair on the model’s cheek like so:

Now click inside the selection you made, with the mouse button still held down – drag the cursor and you will see the area inside the selection move and the hair will disappear

The rest of the hair that covers the mouth is a bit more complicated to remove and requires some manual work so we will use the Healing Brush tool for that as it gives us more control.

Remove the rest of the hair with the Healing Brush Tool

Select the Healing Brush Tool

Using the Healing Brush tool requires some manual skill, you have to sample an area then use that to replace another area. To sample an area you hold down the “Alt” key and you will see the cursor turn into a target symbol – click once near to the area you want to cover up, then let go of the “Alt” key and click again, this time over the area you want to cover up and it will replace it. It will take quite a few clicks and you may have to undo a few times untill you have worked and covered over the area required:

Here you can see what the final image looks like after these steps :

Comparison

Here are the before and after photos at the same size so you can compare:

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  2. Kraterhead December 6, 2011 at 1:46 am

    This girl has no blemished skin. She has freckles. Freckles are pretty and should not be removed.

    • Oli Dale December 6, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      The post isnt a comment on whether they should be or not, its purely informational.

  3. Web Singapore December 9, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I often used the clone stamp tool for this kind of photo editing, thanks for posting about the Healing Brush tool

  4. hackerdiy December 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Well written article

  5. James Gordon December 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    This is very useful for graphic designers. Many thanks. A thorough explanation of the healing brush tool with some very good examples.

  6. web design belfast December 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    very nice article with good techniques. It’s nice to see adobe acknowledging these common uses of Photoshop with their additional features in CS5

  7. Angela Brown December 17, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Hi, I am Angela. I am a web Designer. For this, I am looking for a good blog about Photoshop tutorial.I think this is enough for fulfill my requirement. Thanks for your valuable post.

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