Photoshop Elements 3 Solutions, Pt. 2 | 2 | WebReference

Photoshop Elements 3 Solutions, Pt. 2 | 2

Photoshop Elements 3 Solutions, Pt. 2.

Spot Healing

Sometimes flaws are not global but specific. The flaws you see in Figure 2.20, for example, were caused by dust accumulating on the electronic sensor of my Nikon D100. Similar artifacts can be caused by a smudge or speck of dust on the lens. A dirty scanner glass will also produce similar results.

Figure 2.20: The flaws on this image were caused by dust on the electronic sensor.

The Spot Healing Brush is especially effective in removing these kinds of image flaws. To use this new Photoshop Elements brush, you'll need to be in Standard Edit.

The Spot Healing Brush tool is found in the same spot on the toolbar as the Healing Brush tool (use the keyboard command J and repeatedly press J to cycle between tools). Why use it rather than the Healing Brush tool? The Spot Healing Brush tool is easy to use. You don't need to establish a sample area by holding the Alt/Option key and clicking, as you need to do with the Healing Brush and Clone Stamp tools. You only need to select a brush, position your cursor, and click over an area you wish to heal. You can also click and hold the mouse and drag to "paint" over a complex shape. After you stop painting and release the mouse, the Spot Healing Brush tool goes to work. Like the Healing Brush tool, it automatically samples the areas outside the selection and blends the results with the area within the selection. In the example shown in Figure 2.20, the Spot Healing Brush worked great.

This what I did:

The result is shown in Figure 2.21.

Figure 2.21: Flaw fixed with the Spot Healing Brush.

If you try the Spot Healing Brush on large flaws, say over 300 pixels, you'll quickly see why it is called a "spot" healing brush. The tool seems to get confused, and produces unpredictable and often unsatisfactory results. You'll also find it works best when the area around the objects you are trying to remove is surrounded by uniform color or texture.

Combining Tools and Techniques

Sometimes you'll want to use a combination of tools to fix a particularly challenging job. For this example, I used a combination of the Dust & Scratches filter, a selection tool, and the Clone Stamp tool to fix the 50-year-old photo shown in Figure 2.22.

Figure 2.22: This 50-year-old photo is full of scratches and other artifacts of age.

In Standard Edit, here's what I did:

Figure 2.23: A magnification of 300 percent reveals the details of the problem (left). Applying the Dust & Scratches filter (right) to the selected background removed many of the artifacts and left the foreground area sharp.

Brush: Soft Round 100 pixels
Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100 percent
Aligned: selected
Use All Layers: selected

This was a particularly difficult image, and, frankly, I had to draw the line at how much time I was going to put into it. I could have continued to use the Clone Stamp tool to make each and every detail perfect. However, I was satisfied with cleaning up the sky and most of the woman. After all, it is a historical photo and I wanted to keep some of its authenticity. The final image is shown on the right in Figure 2.24.

Figure 2.24: I used the Clone Stamp tool to selectively clean up the woman on the road (left). The final image (right), after applying the Dust & Scratches filter and using the Clone Stamp tool for extensive cloning.

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: December 6, 2004