Photo Restoration Tools--Clone Stamp

One of your best friends in working on repairing damaged images is the clone stamp.  It is a very powerful ally, but most people only scratch the surface of how it can help.  This blog will offer some tips, and point out some common mistakes.  Trust me, we’ve all made them. The clone stamp tool lets you select something from within your image and paste a duplicate copy of that area over another part of the image.  When you move your brush, the selected area moves in parallel, and whatever is there will be pasted into your picture.  Without some care you can get eyeballs onto walls, and all sorts of unintended results.

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As with most tools in Photoshop you can select the brush size and how soft the edges are from the brush panel at the top.

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Keeping the edges soft and the brush size as close to what your target area is, helps hide the effect.  That of course is the idea, you don’t want people to even know that you’ve been there.

Next on the menu bar is the blend Mode box.  These need a tutorial all of their own, but provide a largely untapped level of control. You can choose to only impact dark colors or light colors, for now, you can leave it in Normal mode for most applications.

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Opacity allows you to build up layers of sampling, you can hover over the word Opacity and the “scrubby sliders” will appear, all you have to do is drag your cursor left or right to decrease/increase how much transparency you want.  Of course you can type in 50% or 20% or whatever you chose.

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I’m not going to touch Flow, as I’ve never adjusted it in all my jobs.  I’m going to skip on over to the layer selection.  Sample:, helps protect your original image.  To me it is important never to damage the original picture, so everything I do is done on its own separate layer.  That way I retain complete control and can go back, even months later if I want to adjust something.  You can sample from the current layer, the ones below, or from all layers.

Remember our groom?  His suit definitely had some issues.

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Both his dark suit and white shirt needed repair.  Here is what those repairs look like on their own layer.  They are built up with different levels of opacity and re-sampled frequently to avoid being obvious.

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When combined together, well if you look closely enough you can tell, but…

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There are tricks to working along the edges and in transition areas, but we will save those for later.

If you really want to know how lots more detail about how it is done, read Katrin Eismann’s wonderful book Photoshop ® Restoration and Retouching.