photoshop creative

Retouch with the Patch tool

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
October 13, 2015

Edit blemishes with accuracy


1. Lighten up with Levels


Open your image. If it’s a little dark to work on at the moment, go to Image>Adjustments>Levels to bring up the Levels. Grab the right-hand and middle stoppers in the Levels dialog and pull in to the left. This will lighten the image.

2. Find the Patch tool


The Patch tool is in the toolbar, sharing a space with a few other tools. If it’s not visible, click on the bottom-right corner of the correct icon and the full set of tools will pop out.

3. Patch tool options


You can choose to use the tool in Normal or Content-Aware Mode. We’re going Normal for now. If you pick Destination, you will select the clean area to clone from and drag it over the flawed area. If you pick Source, you will select the flawed area and drag to the area you want to clone from.

4. First Patch


We’ve gone for Source, so we draw around a blemish to select it. Try to be quite accurate so that you isolate just the blemish, rather than the clean skin around it. That’s why we’ve zoomed in so much.

5. Drag and replace


Now it’s a case of dragging the selected blemish over to a clean area of skin. Photoshop will clone the clean area over the blemish and adjust the colour and tone of the selection to suit.

6. Content-Aware


Let’s try the other Mode. Select Content-Aware in the top toolbar and then pick and Adaptation – this is how much the pixels can be affected when replacing the flawed content. The default is Medium.

7. Use the tool


Using the Patch tool in Content-Aware mode is the same as before. Draw around the flawed area and drag to a clean area. This time, the pixels in the cloned area can be changed to suit the flawed area.