Photoshop’s wide array of cloning tools is the cause of many of the absolute best and worst works created with the application. In a skilled and experienced hand, these tools lead to phenomenal results. In the hands of a careless artist, Photoshop cloning can be disastrous to the credibility of the result. This article introduces the several cloning tools available in Photoshop and goes over the proper usage and best practices of each.
The Clone Stamp Tool
The Clone Stamp tool is the oldest and most widely known of the cloning tools. The basic concept is that you duplicate certain portions of an image using a source, destination and brush.
To clone out the name on the tombstone above, you would select a source that shares the texture of the area you want to replace. In this case, the area around the words provides an ample source of stone texture from which to clone.
Basic Settings: Adjustment Layers
The final basic setting (the circle with a diagonal line through it) lets you decide whether the clone stamp tool should sample adjustment layers when cloning. Adjustment layers, such as Hue/Saturation and Levels, are meant to be a non-destructive way to change the appearance of layers. So, you can make drastic changes to a layer or group of layers without destroying the original pixels.
The Spot Healing Brush
As you can see below, the Spot Healing Brush tool is located under the Eyedropper tool and above the Brush tool, and it can be accessed quickly by hitting J on the keyboard. The Spot Healing Brush is by far the simplest cloning tool in Photoshop. With little to no experience, you can repair small areas of an image.
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The Healing Brush
The Healing Brush tool, located under the Spot Healing Brush tool, is very similar to the Clone Stamp tool. To begin, Option + click (Alt + click on a PC) to select your source, and then carefully paint over the destination to transfer the pixels. The Healing Brush performs this operation with more built-in intelligence than the Clone Stamp
Cloning in Photoshop is a difficult task that requires significant time, studious attention to detail and an in-depth knowledge of several tools and commands. To improve the quality of your results, invest some time learning Photoshop’s entire cloning arsenal. Experiment with all of the options for each tool to get a better feel for where you can excel.