Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop Elements 10 - dummies

Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop Elements 10

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Elements enables you to clone elements without the hassle of genetically engineering DNA. In fact, the Clone Stamp tool works by just taking sampled pixels from one area and copying, or cloning, them onto another area. The advantage of cloning, rather than making a selection and then copying and pasting, is that it’s easier to realistically retain soft-edged elements, such as shadows.


The Clone Stamp doesn’t stop there. You can also use this tool for fixing flaws, such as scratches, bruises, date/time stamp imprints from cameras, and other minor imperfections. Although the birth of the healing tools has somewhat pushed the Clone Stamp tool out of the retouching arena, it can still do a good repair job in many instances.

Here’s how to use the Clone Stamp tool:

  1. In Full Photo Edit mode, choose the Clone Stamp tool from the Tools panel.

  2. On the Options bar, choose a brush from the Brush Preset drop-down menu and then use the brush as-is or adjust its size with the Size slider.

    Keep in mind that the size of the brush you specify should be appropriate for what you’re trying to clone or retouch. If you’re cloning a large object, use a large brush. For repairing small flaws, use a small brush. Cloning with a soft-edged brush usually produces more natural results.

  3. Choose your desired Blend Mode and Opacity percentage.

    To make your cloned image appear ghosted, use an opacity percentage of less than 100 percent.

  4. Select or deselect the Aligned option.

    With Aligned selected, the clone source moves when you move your cursor to a different location. If you want to clone multiple times from the same location, leave the Aligned option deselected.

  5. Select or deselect the Sample All Layers option.

    This option enables you to sample pixels from all visible layers for the clone. If this option is deselected, the Clone Stamp tool clones from only the active layer.

  6. Click the double rectangle icon if you want to display an overlay.

    Displaying an overlay can be helpful when what you’re cloning needs to be in alignment with the underlying image. Adjust the opacity for your overlay. If you select Auto Hide, when you release your mouse, you see a ghosted preview of how your cloned pixels will appear on the image.

    While you’re cloning, however, the overlay is hidden. Select Clipped to have the overlay contained only within the boundaries of your brush. Finally, select Invert to reverse the colors and tones in your overlay.

  7. Alt-click (Option-click on the Macintosh) the area of your image that you want to clone to define the source of the clone.

  8. Click or drag along the area where you want the clone to appear.

    While you drag, Elements displays a crosshair cursor along with your Clone Stamp cursor. The crosshair is the source you’re cloning from, and the Clone Stamp cursor is where the clone is being applied. While you move the mouse, the crosshair also moves, so you have a continuous reference to the area of your image that you’re cloning. Watch the crosshair, or else you may clone something you don’t want.


If you’re cloning an element, try to clone it without lifting your mouse. Also, when you’re retouching a flaw, try not to overdo it. One or two clicks on each flaw is usually plenty. If you’re heavy-handed with the Clone Stamp, you get a blotchy effect that’s a telltale sign something has been retouched.