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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Photoshop

How to Use the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop

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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

The Spot Healing Brush is Photoshop's answer to a lot of photo touch-ups! In this quick tip tutorial, you'll learn the basics of the Spot Healing Brush Tool and how it can be used to repair, smooth, and remove unwanted portions of an image. This versatile tool is surprisingly easy to use and effective when it comes to touching up your images.

For the purposes of this article, I'll be using this abandoned room photo from Envato Elements to demonstrate how to use the Spot Healing Brush. We'll be removing cracks from the wall and removing bricks from the floor, and it will look as if they were never there!

What You'll Learn

  • How to fix blemishes and cracks with the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop
  • How to remove objects with the spot healing brush

If you're looking for photos to work with, try out Envato Elements! It has tons of photos in high quality, making them perfect for practicing photo retouching.

The results are great, and the process is actually quite simple! Follow along with the steps and try it out for yourself.

1. How to Use the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop

Step 1

Let's say you have a picture of a building with some urban decay. Exposed brick walls are in right now, but maybe this is a little too exposed! Wouldn't it be nice if we could touch this up a little?

Let's fix up these cracks on the wall! First, open up your image.

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop StartSpot Healing Brush Photoshop StartSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Start

Step 2

Now let's set up our space before we get ready. First, you'll want to ensure you have the Spot Healing Brush Tool available in your toolbar. So where is my Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop, you may be wondering? You can find it in the toolbar under the Eye Dropper Tool!

Tip: If you don't see a toolbar, then go to Windows > Tools.

Click and hold on the Healing Brush icon and specifically make sure to select the Spot Healing Brush Tool icon. Notice how the spot healing brush icon looks like a bandaid with a spot behind it.

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop ToolsSpot Healing Brush Photoshop ToolsSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Tools

Step 3

At the top of your canvas, you'll notice there are a handful of settings associated with the Spot Healing Brush. Make sure that the Mode is Normal. Type should be Content-Aware.

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop SettingsSpot Healing Brush Photoshop SettingsSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Settings

Step 4

We will be doing our spot healing on a new layer, so make sure Sample All Layers is checked. This is important as it will allow us to keep our changes on a separate layer from the image while still using the tool.

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop Sample All LayersSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Sample All LayersSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Sample All Layers

Step 5

Create a new layer above the background.

Tip: Double-click the layer name and give your new layer a distinctive name such as "Retouching".

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop new LayerSpot Healing Brush Photoshop new LayerSpot Healing Brush Photoshop new Layer

Step 6

Let's make sure we do all our retouching on this new layer. That way, we can hide it at any time. It's a good idea to check the original when retouching, to give you a good idea of the progress you're making.

Zoom in on the canvas and move towards the cracks in the wall on the left of the window.

Tip: Hold the Alt key and drag in and out to quickly zoom.

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop ZoomSpot Healing Brush Photoshop ZoomSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Zoom

Step 7

Now, with the Spot Healing Brush Tool selected, select a size for your brush at the top left.

Click the small arrow, and then drag left and right adjust the size. That's how to make the Spot Healing Brush smaller or larger.

I'm picking 80, but you may want to adjust this depending on the size of your images. There is no exact science to how big your brush should be, but I would suggest making it a little wider than the size of the cracks.

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop Brush SizeSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Brush SizeSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Brush Size

Step 8

Next, let's take care of the lighter crack to the left. From the top of the crack, click and then drag your brush down to the button of the crack.

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop CrackSpot Healing Brush Photoshop CrackSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Crack

Step 9

Once you let go, the changes will process, and boom! The crack is gone.

The more texture and bumps, the better the Spot Healing Brush seems to work. That makes an image like this especially nice to work with!

If your results don't look quite as nice, undo your action by using Control-Z. Then try it out again! There are a lot of factors that come into play. Try changing your brush size and the shape you create. Sometimes, you will find you need a little trial and error.

Now that you've got the hang of it, try it out on the larger crack. When dealing with larger pieces, it's a good idea to work in chunks.

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop StripSpot Healing Brush Photoshop StripSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Strip

Step 10

Continue working down in chunks until the whole of the crack is finished!

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop CrackSpot Healing Brush Photoshop CrackSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Crack

Step 11

Just like that, we went from a wall that looked dangerous to something that would look pretty nice with some picture frames and hanging plants!

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop Fixed WallSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Fixed WallSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Fixed Wall

Step 12

Next, let's take what we've learned and remove some of these bricks from the floor!

Pan your canvas over to this brick here!

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop BrickSpot Healing Brush Photoshop BrickSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Brick

Step 13

Now, go ahead and use the same techniques we used on the crack, but this time target the whole object. You may need to change the size of the brush based on the results and size of the object you are adjusting.

Tip: If you're wondering how to make the Spot Healing Brush smaller or larger quickly, you can use the [ and ] keys to cycle up and down.

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop Brick RemoveSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Brick RemoveSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Brick Remove

Step 14

Poof! All gone. Let's go ahead and remove some more of the bricks!

Spot Healing Brush Photoshop Brick RemoveSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Brick RemoveSpot Healing Brush Photoshop Brick Remove

Step 15

You'll find that removing objects doesn't always go as well as removing cracks or small blemishes. When it comes to removing an object, make sure you are getting the outside space. Also, watch out for shadows made by objects that are left over!

If you want to practice your skills, try cleaning up the floor and see how far you can get!

Finished Spot Healing Brush Wall and FloorFinished Spot Healing Brush Wall and FloorFinished Spot Healing Brush Wall and Floor

2. What Else Can I Use the Spot Cleaning For?

Now that you've gotten your feet wet with the Spot Healing Brush Tool, you can start thinking about ways to make practical use of it. Of course, as we discovered, we can clean up a rusty old room decently! It can also be used to touch up faces and other blemishes of any kind. 

Healing Brush Remove GraffitiHealing Brush Remove GraffitiHealing Brush Remove Graffiti

You can try removing some graffiti from a wall, for example! Apply the brush to the bricks and door, treating each part like its own individual segment.

Healing Brush Remove GraffitiHealing Brush Remove GraffitiHealing Brush Remove Graffiti

Phew, that takes care of some of it. This door's going to need a lot of scrubbing, though!

Spot Healing Brush Remove ObjectSpot Healing Brush Remove ObjectSpot Healing Brush Remove Object

Perhaps we should take care of the problem at its source. Try your hands at removing an object! We can just apply the Spot Healing Brush Tool to the spray paint can, as we did with the rocks.

Healing Brush Remove ObjectHealing Brush Remove ObjectHealing Brush Remove Object

Poof, and no more paint!

Notice on that last image you can see some odd shapes hanging off the collar. Using the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop does have its limitations! When there is not a lot of visual noise or rough texture around the area, it can have some odd results, especially on the edges where different contrasts and colors meet.

The Spot Healing Brush also has trouble when working with clean, symmetrical shapes which are facing you head on. For these things, we would have to make use of selections and other photo manipulation techniques in conjunction with the Spot Healing Brush.

How to Take This to the Next Level

Interested in a crash course in Photoshop? Then check out this awesome YouTube tutorial, which covers how to use the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop, as well as everything else you need to get started! Once you're done, you'll be so accustomed to using Photoshop that you'll never ask "Where is my spot healing brush in Photoshop?" again!

We hope you found this quick tip on using the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop useful and that you've been inspired to try out these techniques on your next project! Also, take your photo manipulation skills further with these amazing tutorials from Envato Tuts+!

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