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Photoshop Photo Manipulation tools tutorial. Clone Stamp Tool, Healing Brush Tool & Spot Healing Brush Tool

Photoshop Photo Manipulation Tools Image

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Learn Photoshop CC With Pictures

“Photoshop Photo Manipulation tools tutorial. Clone Stamp Tool, Healing Brush Tool & Spot Healing Brush Tool” is part of my Photoshop book “Learn Photoshop CC With Pictures”, which is more revised and covers more concepts than the online tutorials, feel free to check out the book by visiting my Learn Photoshop CC With Pictures Book Page.

Because Photoshop Photo manipulation tools (As I like to call them), like the Clone Stamp Tool & The Healing Brush Tool are many. And because I want to keep the tutorials more focused and more enjoyable to read, I decided to break up this tutorial into multiple parts. This is part I of this mini series.

I believe this is going to be one of the most amusing tutorials in this series. It discuss some of the most interesting tools in Photoshop. And the ones that are among the most useful in the program. As they allow you to do many funny things. Like adding or removing things to and from a picture. And to fix many problems that are found in pictures. I sincerely hope you like what I am going to teach you in this tutorial. I made sure I include as much examples as possible, as the amount of things you could do with Photoshop Photo manipulation tools are endless.

Photoshop Photo manipulation tools

There are many Photoshop Photo manipulation tools in general. While many of the other tools offer a great way to manipulate photos. I picked 3 them to start with. If you understood these 3 tools. The rest of the tools will be easy. The tools we are discussing here are:-

  • The Clone Stamp Tool Clone-Stamp-Tool
  • The Healing Brush Tool Healing-Brush-Tool
  • The Spot Healing Brush Tool Spot-Healing-Brush-Tool

First look at the Stamp tool

The Clone Stamp ToolClone-Stamp-Tool does one simple & useful thing. It allows you to copy pixels from somewhere else in the picture, or from another picture to wherever you want to.

If you selected the Clone Stamp Tool and begin painting with it right away, you will get the following message:-


That message tells you that you have to define a source point. The place from which Photoshop will copy pixels to where you are painting. Or it won’t know what to paint.

To do that, simply hold down alt/option button where you want the pixel to be copied from. The cursor will turn into a reticle Reticle-Icon . Simply click with your left mouse button and you will be done setting the source.

Now you can paint anywhere with the tool and Photoshop will copy the pixels from the point you clicked on in the last step.

Question:- How can copying pixels from part of the picture into another benefit me at all?

There are innumerable ways this can be useful. It allows you to add or remove things from pictures in no effort at all. For example, I removed the referee from this picture using the Clone Stamp Tool Clone-Stamp-Tool :-

Removing the referee from the picture using Photoshop Photo Manipulation Tools. The Clone Stamp Tool
Photoshop Photo Manipulation tools like the Clone Stamp Tool makes it easy to do things like removing the referee from the match

Then I added some flowers the same way. I had to do some erasing to make it look more convincing. Here is what I got at the end:-


I got the flowers from this picture. But you could use whatever other picture you want:-


The Clone Stamp Tool in action

Right now, I am going to show you how I removed the referee from the match. If the referee was not standing there, you would be able to see the field grass that are behind him. So to remove him, all you have to do is to copy some grass from the other parts of the picture over him. Here is how:-

  • First, select the Clone Stamp Tool Clone-Stamp-Tool from the tools panel
  • hover your mouse where you want to copy pixels from, which are the grass that are near the referral. the red circle in the following picture is the sampling point I chose:-


  • Before you start painting. I advice you to make the tip of the Clone Stamp Tool soft. Which could be done by right-clicking on the canvas. And then move the Hardness slider to the left


  • Now hover your mouse over the judge. Photoshop will show you how the part below the cursor will look like after you make your stroke. Just like this:-


  • Now begin painting over the referee. You will be able to remove a good part of him, depending on the sample point you chose. Keep painting until some of the unwanted pixels start to creep in. Which mean it is time to choose another sample point. Here is how things looked liked at my side (You could select Edit:- Step Backward to undo the last stroke you made ain case you made a mistake):-


  • It is time to select a new sample point, it is totally okay to select the same sample point again, since we simply want to paint the same grass over the referee over and over. Keep repeating the same steps we did until you get rid of most of the referee. Here is how I got rid of most of him. I had to change the sampling point many times. Specially on the grass areas around his feet & head. Which look different than the grass around his waist.


  • Now the referee is no longer there, we will need to repaint the white lines that were hidden behind the his head and feet. You do that the same way as we painted the grass. Here is the sample point I chose to do that, which is one of many you could choose from in this example:-


  • Hover your mouse over the missing white line. And the preview feature of the Clone Stamp Tool will help you make the correct stroke, like this:-


  • Finish painting the white line. And then do the same with the second white line. And you will end up with a clean picture with no referee in it.


  • If you felt that the repetitive painting over the referral has made it obvious that the picture has been Photoshopped. Simply do a little more resampling and painting over that until the area feels like it has never been Photoshopped
  • Here is the final picture without the referee.


The Healing Brush Tool

The Healing Brush Tool Healing-Brush-Tool works the same way as the Clone Stamp ToolClone-Stamp-Tool. In that you specify a sampling point. And then copy pixels from the area you sampled from to remove or add another part to the picture. But with one little difference. In that the Healing Brush Tool tries to match the lighting of the area you are painting on. For example, if you want to copy some flowers to the playing field. And the flowers Photo has a different lighting level than the playing field. Then using the Healing Brush Tool can be much better. And the results you will get will be more convincing. The same goes when you copy pixels from a dark area of a picture to a lighter one.

To illustrate my point, here are the field picture after I added some flowers on it. See how the flowers got a bit green to match the field illumination:-

More Flowers

Though, with all honesty. The flowers were greener than necessary there. And more adjustment needed to be done on them

NoteNote:- To access the Healing Brush Tool. Click and hold your your mouse over the Spot Healing Brush Tool. And Photoshop will show you the rest of the tools under it. Just like you did with the selection tools and pen tools

Accessing Healing Brush Tool
Accessing Healing Brush Tool from the Tools Panel

The Spot Healing Brush Tool

As its name says. The Spot healing brush Tool Spot-Healing-Brush-Tool heals and fix Spot problems in your images. Problems like skin blemishes. And dirty or unwanted spots in an image. The process is similar to cleaning the table you spilled some coffee on. The good thing about the Spot Healing Brush Tool is that it is smart enough to match the texture and lighting of the area you are healing.

Using the Spot Healing Brush Tool is simple, all you have to do is to paint over the part you don’t want. Along with the area around it, and it will do the job for you. Just like the tissue you use to clean your table from coffee. Just make sure that the part you don’t want is at the middle of the area you are painting.

In the following picture, I was able to remove that blemish from the man’s neck with the healing brush. It is pretty much like I erased it. While you could do the same thing with the Clone Stamp tool. The easiness and quickness of the Spot Healing Brush Tool makes it more ideal for things like that:-

Removing Blemish using Spot Healing Brush Tool
Blemishes like that in the picture can be easily removed using the Spot Healing Brush Tool

As long the things you want to hide from the picture is at the middle of the area you are painting, the Spot Healing Brush Tool will do a very good job removing that part for you.

Back to our game example. I was able to remove one of the players easily the same way. And it did a very good job at that. All is left is to redraw the white lines of the field, just like we did in the previous section:-

Removing a player quickly and easily using the Spot Healing Brush Tool
The player has been removed quickly and easily using the Spot Healing Brush Tool

The Align option in Clone Stamp Tool And Healing Brush Tool.

Healing-Tool-Tool-Align-Option Clone-Stamp-Tool-Align

This option determines whether the Clone Stamp Tool or the Healing Brush tool will copy pixels starting from the same sampling point on every stroke you make (when it is unchecked). Or if the point you copied pixels from will follow your mouse after the first stroke is made (when it is checked).

  • To illustrate the difference. Take a look at the following coloured rectangles. First, I will sample the white point pointed here. While the Aligned option is unchecked:-


  • Then I will begin painting at the left of the rectangle. And the Clone Stamp Tool (Or the healing brush, whatever you are using) will copy the pixels for you. So far, nothing is different.


  • Now let’s start painting again on the area above, here is what I got:-


  • As you can see, the point Photoshop copies the pixels from the same sample point in both cases. And it will still do the same as long the Aligned option is unchecked:-


  • Now let’s redo all these steps, but with the aligned option checked this time. I sampled the same point and started painting on the bottom of the picture:-


  • And then, I painted again on the area above:-


  • See! The the point Photoshop copies pixels from changed to match the distance between the first area you painted on and the sample point. You can keep painting until you have the coloured rectangles all copied on the left. You check or uncheck the Align option depending on what makes it easier to you to achieve the results you want.

Photoshop Photo Manipulation Tools Examples:-

Changing the face of someday

I took a girl face from another picture and copied it on the body of another’s. Which looked almost perfect. Doing some more rotating and resizing of the new face can make it look even more realistic than what it is now. Which is called Transformation. Which I am going to explain in one of the upcoming tutorials.



Artificial Sunset

Take a look at the following scenery. Isn’t that beautiful?


And it would look fairly nice at sunset. So let’s bring out a sunset picture, like this one:-


And using a the Clone Stamp Tool with a soft tip. I painted a new sky over the original one. I did some erasing to erase the areas that covered the trees.


To make the scene look more realistic. In a new layer, I painted orange over the rest of the picture, changed the layer blending mode to Hard Light. And then decreased the opacity until I was satisfied with the results. Here is the final picture:-


New man at the meeting

Using the Healing Brush Tool. I added a new man to the meeting. I used the Healing Brush tool because it save me the trouble of trying the fit the man illumination in the new picture. While I still need to make the man fit more with the picture using the Brush Tool. The amount of work needed for that is much less than in case I used the Clone Stamp Tool


New Man

Removing cat eyes

Using the Spot Healing Brush Tool, you could remove the eye of a cat using very few strokes. Don’t get me wrong, the purpose of doing that is not to create an ugly picture. But rather to draw your own. Which is a great practice in case you are a digital artist:-


Pulling out a Photoshop Scam

This is a fictional scam I made up to show you how much you could do with the tools explained in this tutorial. I made the house in the picture below look much better by adding fields and a luxury car besides it. Making it looks much better than it is in reality. Unfortunately, such practices actually exists in this world.


Restoring an old Photo

Photoshop Photo Manipulation Tools are not just limited to playing with pictures. But they can also do a lot of restoring the details of old Photos. Like removing all the cracks in the following picture (Picture credit:- Wikipedia).



  • Photoshop Photo Manipulation tools are many. And in this tutorial, I focused on 3 of them. The Clone Stamp Tool, The Healing Brush Tool, and the Spot Healing Brush Tool
  • The Clone Stamp Tool copies pixels from the sample point to the area you choose. It copies pixels the same way you would do it with selection tools and Copy & Paste. Except that it is more convenient.
  • The Healing Brush Tool works the same way as the Clone Stamp Tool. Plus that it tries to match the illumination of the target area to make the object you are copying fit with the picture. Which is so useful in many situation.
  • The Align option of the Clone Stamp Tool and the Healing Brush Tool determines whether Photoshop will copy pixels from the same point every time you paint. Or move the sample point so that it is aligned with the first point you clicked on when you started copying.
  • The Spot Healing Brush Tool is a nice way to remove things you don’t want from the picture. Like blemishes or even whole objects like players in the field.

Would you like to learn Photoshop?

Check my Photoshop book Learn Photoshop CC With Pictures which contains a full course on how to use Photoshop in the simplest way possible.

See Also

I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.

1 Comment

  1. I find is the answer to this problem and solve. 2-3 times alt key press at a time and it will be work for next time.

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