How to Fix Small Imperfections with the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

The Spot Healing Brush tool in Photoshop CS6 is designed for smaller blemishes and little imperfections. It allows you to zero in and automatically takes a sample from around the area to be retouched. The good news is it’s quick and easy. The downside is that it doesn’t give you as much control over the sampling source. Reserve this tool for small flaws.

Follow these steps to quickly fix little imperfections:

  1. Open your image and grab the Spot Healing Brush tool.

    The small moles are examples of small areas you can fix with the Spot Healing Brush.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/OlsenMatt Image #2195921]

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/OlsenMatt Image #2195921
  2. On the Options bar, click the Brush Preset Picker and select your desired diameter, hardness, and other options for your brush tip.

    Try to select a brush that’s a little larger than the flawed area.

  3. Select a blending mode from the Options bar.

    Like the Healing Brush, you can select the Replace mode. Most likely, the Normal mode will work the best.

  4. Select a type from the Options bar.

    You have a choice among Proximity Match, Create Texture, and the new Content Aware:

    • Proximity Match: Samples the pixels around the edge of the selection to use to fix the flawed area.

    • Create Texture: Uses all the pixels in the selection to create a texture to fix the flaw

    • Content-Aware: Compares and uses actual content from the image close to the flaw. Try using the Content-Aware option when removing large items like litter, scratches on your image, and other annoying elements.

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

    If you leave this option unselected, you heal only from the active layer.

    If you use a pressure-sensitive tablet, click the Tablet icon (at the end of the Options bar) to control the size of the brush. The pressure you apply will then override any settings in the Brush panel.

  6. Click, or click and drag, the area you want to fix.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Olsen Matt Image #2195921]

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Olsen Matt Image #2195921

    For retouching skin, try Proximity Match first and, if it doesn’t work, undo and try Create Texture or Content Aware. You may get better results filling the flawed area by using the Edit→Fill command.