Zero in on Image Flaws with the Spot Healing Brush - dummies

Zero in on Image Flaws with the Spot Healing Brush

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Whereas the Healing Brush in Photoshop Elements 10 is designed to fix larger flawed areas, the Spot Healing Brush is designed for smaller imperfections, with one exception — the Content Aware option. The Spot Healing Brush doesn’t require you to specify a sampling source.

It automatically takes a sample from around the area to be retouched. It’s quick, easy, and often effective. But it doesn’t give you control over the sampling source, so keep an eye out for less-than-desirable fixes.

Here’s how to quickly fix flaws with the Spot Healing Brush tool:

  1. In Full Photo Edit mode, open your image and grab the Spot Healing Brush tool.

  2. On the Options bar, click the Brush Preset Picker and select a desired diameter and hardness for your brush tip from the drop-down panel.

    Select a brush that’s a little larger than the flawed area you’re fixing.

  3. Choose a blend mode from the Options bar.

    As with the Healing Brush, the most likely mode is Normal.

  4. Choose a type from the Options bar:

    • Proximity Match. This type samples the pixels around the edge of the selection to fix the flawed area.

    • Create Texture. This type uses all the pixels in the selection to create a texture to fix the flaw.

    • Content-Aware. If you want to eliminate something larger than a mole or freckle, this is the option of choice where actual content from the image is used as a kind of patch for the flawed area. Large objects can be zapped away with the Content-Aware option, as shown.

      Note that you may have to paint over the offending object a couple times to get your desired result. Also, a touch-up with the Clone Stamp or other healing tools may be needed.


    Try Proximity Match first, and if it doesn’t work, undo it and try Create Texture or Content-Aware.

  5. Choose Sample All Layers to heal an image by using all visible layers.

    If you leave this check box deselected, you heal from only the active layer.

  6. Click, drag, or “paint” over the area you want to fix.