Adobe Photoshop CC - Advanced Training

Advanced tricks for Healing Brush for retouching in Photoshop

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, this video is all about going through some Healing Brush, more advanced tips and tricks. You probably already know how to use it. I'm just going to show you what I do to make it go fast, and to give you some better results. Let's jump in. 

To get started let's open up 'Healing 1'; thank you, Bruce Dixon. So before we get started we're going to use the Healing Brush. It's the more advanced tool but I just want to remind you that the Spot Healing Brush, which is this one here, the automatic one, if you haven't used it for a while, it has got so much better, especially with the introduction of Content Aware. And when I'm doing professional retouching, it is like, 70% of the work is just too easy. A couple of tricks to get good use of it, is to make sure you're working on a separate layer, and we're going to call this one 'Retouch'. Make sure Sample all Layers is 'on', otherwise it won't work, because it's going to reach through to this bottom layer, but everything's going to end up on this layer that we can turn off afterwards. 

So pick a brush size, pick a hardness, and just click once. This is just pretty amazing. Don't want to get too close to the edges. So bulk of the work gets done with this tool. Tips for using this tool. So say we've got a chunk here, we want to get rid of this along here, we can probably just paint it out, but I guess I just really want to show you my trick. You click once, hold 'Shift', click again, and it joins the two lines. So if you've got like a long scene that you need to fix up, you can click once, hold 'Shift', and click again. It just joins the two up, and because we used its own layer you can start to see, everything's on it's on Retouch Layer, and what will end up happening is, you'll end up going too far and you need to kind of dial it back. 

So with this layer selected, and your Move Tool selected, so I'm at an Opacity of 100%. Just hit '5' on my keyboard and set 50. So it's just a lot easier, I'm not even looking at this while dragging, I'm just looking at my image. Super close. Just kind of tapping, you tap fast, like if I type '33' I get 33. Going to go 80, so it's still there, they're just heavily reduced, even a little bit less, at 70, more realism. Let's say the Spot Healing Brush isn't working for you in your instance. I'm going to turn that layer off and create a new one. This is going to be my 'Retouch 2'. We're going to use the Healing Brush, by itself now, show you how to use this, because we didn't cover it in the Essentials, so what we're going to do is, click and hold down the Spot Healing Brush, grab the Healing Brush. It works the same way except I get to be in a lot more control. 

So the Spot Healing Brush just goes and finds pixels, and it's going to guess. What you can do is you can hold down the 'Option' key on a Mac, or the 'Alt' key on a PC, and click a target. Just say, I want to use this bit of skin, please; don't just pick anything. Pick this bit from all over here. So that's 'Option on a Mac, 'Alt' on a PC. Click once and then let go. And this is totally not going to work, because I haven't done this one that says Current Layer, I want to sample all the layers, please. So let’s hit the target again. And now click and drag, and watch when I'm dragging, it's a little hard to see, I'll get the editor to zoom in. 

Can you see the target, clicking, dragging, and moving around? So you can kind of see where it's pulling from. Did just a good job, just gives you a bit more control. You, click, drag, let go. Gets fancy if you open up the window and go to the one that says Clone Source. It works for both the Clone Tool Stamp, which we'll do in the next video, and this Healing Brush, and you can have more than one source. So at the moment it's just using this, it's pulling from this particular document. I click there, that's where it is. What you can do is you can set up a group. At least five different points you want to pull from. So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to say, I want some kind of really light texture over here. So this first one, it's going to be my lightest option, this next option here, could be from a completely different document. Just have it open and steal from that, it will load into the Clone Source, but I wanted kind of a medium kind of texture, that one there. 

Trying to use this only when there's like a really high ISO, and there's a real grain in the image, you need to kind of match the grain. In this case we're matching kind of skin texture, but you get the idea. So I set a medium point. Here, darker, darker, darker. And here's going to be kind of where I find something, that's the darkest part of the skin. Probably across here. So now when I'm working I can come down here, and say, actually this piece here is probably going to work with that first one I took. Or something else, this one here's a bit lighter, so I'm going to go to this lighter option. Over here is my medium. A little bit darker, the medium. I'm not really taking the darkness book, because the Healing Brush will match the colors, but the texture that appears in the kind of darker areas just end up being a different kind of grain than the stuff that are in the lighter areas. 

Again, you might decide on skin texture, you might have, number one is stuff from this kind of clear patch on the forehead. You might decide, number one here is the texture from the skin from the forehead, and number two is the kind of porous one here from the nose. There's a little bit of like tiny hairs that are there. So that's just taking that a little bit further. And if I'm honest, even when I was doing like full time retouching, I didn't use these points very often. There's a lot of this. I'll show you a bit more of the work flow that I did, but I want to show you that feature because some people do really like it. 

So let's say we're working in nice and close. Space bar is obviously a really useful one. Another really helpful one, say I'm in real tight, and I need to get a new sample point from the other side of their face, so 'Spacebar', click and drag, and I can find it, other side of the face is probably not that hard, chin, when I go down to the chin, and there it is. So it's not particularly hard here, but let's say I want to go to somewhere, I'm not too sure yet. Say I want to go up to the forehead, instead of clicking, dragging and dragging, hold down the 'H' key, click and hold down 'H' key on your keyboard, then click and hold down the mouse key, you can go over here, let go. I can hold the 'H' key, move down, start working on the arm. So it means I've always got my Healing Brush selected, and the H just moved to the hand tool temporarily. It's like the navigator window that used to be up here. 

Another handy trick is, I find I like to kind of move the object around, especially when I'm working on say the edges here, you can use this tool here. It's the Rotate Tool, or there's the Hand Tool there. What I do is, on the Healing Brush just hold down the 'R' key, and just drag it around, and decide I'm going to be working here. I'm just going to kind of move along this edge. I find them, especially with my Wacom tablet, my range of movement is a lot better when I have this thing rotated, to an angle that kind of suits my kind of wrist movements. 'Esc' to get rid of it. If you tap the R key it just moves to it, you got to go back to the Healing Brush. If you click and hold the R key, it's kind of just temporarily doing it. Same with the H key, same sort of principle. 

The one last thing I'll show you is this Aligned On and Off. There's times where it's great on, and times where it's not so great. So let's say that I am escaping to get back out of here, let's do 100%. I'll show you what it does. Let's zoom in. So with it aligned what's going to happen is, if I set my point here and I start - I like this - but I start dragging across, can you see the little target? And if I let go because I got close to the edge, and then I come back again and start drawing again, can you see, it goes back to where it started. So it's kind of aligned perfectly from wherever this is, it doesn't really matter, can you see, it keeps following it. It's exactly like 200 pixels across and 200 pixels down. 

Doesn't matter where you are, I end up over here. Can you see, it's grabbing bits of the chin there. Totally wrecking this, let's go undo. Whereas let's say we've only got like one patch of nice skin, the rest of it needs a lot of work. You can set it there, and it doesn't matter where you are, I can click over here now, and can you see, it's still pulling from that original image, so it's not aligned anymore. So if you've got one and you're kind of building it out, doesn't have to be skin, say it's some brickwork or grass, you've just got a nice patch, you just want to keep going back to that. The only trouble with it is that you've got to have a repetition potentially. 

All right, so that's going to be it for the Healing Brush. Let's move on next to the Clone Tool Stamp. Don't think about skipping that one. The Healing Brush, yes took a lot of the work from the Clone Tool Stamp, but there are some cool tricks which I'll show you, that make it useful to go into your tool kit. I'll see you there.