Photoshop CS5 Healing Brush Tool

In Photoshop CS5 Clone Tool we used the Clone Tool to correct imperfections in a photograph. The Healing Tool works similarly to the Clone Tool – with one significant difference. The Healing Tool matches the transparency and shading for the sampled area. It makes correction that much easier and seemless.

Healing Tool

1. Open your file.

2. Save a copy of your file with a new file name, in case you need to return to the original image.

3. Select the healing tool from your tool bar. It looks like a band aid.

Click to enlarge.

4. Adjust the settings of the brush by right clicking. Try a number of different settings to get a feel for it.
Size: Set the size of the brush. I’m going to work with a larger brush than I did when I cloned.
Hardness: This controls the feathering. I don’t want a real hard edge, so I’m going to click the slider and drag my hardness down to get a slight feather on my brush.
Spacing: 100% spacing causes the tool to work like a dotted line. 0% is a complete line.

Also, adjust the HealingTool Settings in the tool bar at the top of the window.

Mode: The only new mode here, is Replace. Replace will keep the texture and noise/grain.
Source: My source is set to Sample, because I’m sampling the area surrounding the blemish. If I were to sample a texture, I would change the setting to texture and then define the texture.
Aligned: When Aligned is checked, the sampling point will move with the cursor. When you stop and restart, the sampling area will restart where it stopped. When Aligned is UNchecked, then when you restart, the sampling area will be where you sampled in the beginning.
Sample: Set sample to target the appropriate layer.

5. To sample the area of the image that you want to copy, press ALT + Click (Option + Click, MAC). The cursor changes to a bulls eye. Position the bulls eye over the area you want to copy; then click the mouse. Release the mouse and the ALT key and your cursor will change back. You’ve just set your sample area.

6. Position the cursor over the area that needs to be fixed. Click and paint. The change will occur when you release the mouse button.

Spot Healing Tool

The Spot Healing Tool is similar to the Healing Tool, with one major difference. It doesn’t require sampling. It does the sampling for you.

When you use this tool, use a slightly larger brush than you would with the clone or healing tool. Choose a brush size that’s larger than the area that needs to be corrected.

The tool bar changes with this tool.

Set the type:
Proximity Match: to sample the area immediately surrounding the selection
Create Texture: to sample the actual area that’s selected
Content-Aware: to sample a wider area surrounding the selection

I was able to fix most of the crack with the Spot Healing brush. I wasn’t crazy about the lips, though. I fix the lips, I used the Clone tool. For more information, visit Photoshop CS5 Clone Tool.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

About the Author

Valerie earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Applied Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2000. In 2005, she founded Valerie Hayken Photography & Design. Visit to view her portfolios and see what she's been shooting.