How to Patch without Seams in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Although the Patch tool in Photoshop CS6 is similar to the Healing Brush tool in theory, its application method is slightly different. Instead of painting over the flaws with a brush, you select your flawed area and apply a patch to that selection.

The newly improved Patch tool does a good job in fixing larger flawed areas or isolated imperfections, rather than a few wrinkles or scars here and there. What’s more, it’s a breeze to use.

Follow these steps to patch an area in need of repair:

  1. Open your image and select the Patch tool.

    It looks like a patch of material.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Ratstuben Image #2262411]

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Ratstuben Image #2262411
  2. Choose your patch Mode from Normal or Content-Aware.

    When you choose Normal, the Patch tool adjusts the color and tone of the cloned patch to match the destination, but doesn’t move pixels around within the patch. The new Content–Aware option is able to adapt the cloned patch by moving pixels around to fit the destination. Try this option with structures, building, images with lines, and horizons. If you’re unsure which to choose, try both.

  3. If you chose Normal in Step 2, select Source or Destination on the Options bar.

    Select Source if you want to select the flawed area. Select Destination if you want to select the good area you want to clone from.

    Select the Transparent option to patch from your source pixels with less opaqueness.

    You can use the Clone Source panel with the Patch tool.

  4. If you chose Content-Aware in Step 2, choose your desired Adaptation setting.

    Adaptation controls the amount of flexibility Photoshop uses in determining how to shift pixels around and how strictly regions are preserved when determining the content-aware fill. The default setting is Medium.

  5. Drag around the flawed area of your image.

    Think of the Patch tool as a kind of super-cloning Lasso tool. Drag completely around the flawed area like you would when selecting with the Lasso tool. If you need to, you can apply a slight feather of 0.5 to 2 pixels, depending on the resolution, to soften the edge of the selection.

    You can actually select your flawed area with any selection tool you like. If you use another selection tool, after you have your selection, select the Patch tool and proceed to Step 4.

  6. Drag your selection to the area on your image that you want to clone (or sample) from.

  7. When you release the mouse button, Photoshop patches your flawed selection with the cloned pixels.

  8. Repeat the process, as needed.

    After a few patches, and a few clicks with the Spot Healing Brush, the pool wall looks almost as good as the girl.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Ratstuben Image #2262411]

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Ratstuben Image #2262411