Healing & cloning tools

The Clone Stamp tool can be activated by clicking the icon for it in the main toolbar or by using the default keyboard shortcut of "S".

To establish the reference point (the "origin") of the pixels to be copied you simply need to hold down Alt while Left-Clicking the point where you want the copied pixels to come from.

After the reference point is established then any Left-Click (or pen stroke if you are using a tablet) will draw on the canvas just as a brush would but will use the origin pixels as the drawn image instead of a chosen color.

If "aligned" is checked then the origin of the pixels to be copied will *always* be the same distance and direction from the cursor. For instance if you defined an origin point and then Left-Clicked 100 pixels to the right of that origin then every successive stroke would use the position 100 pixels to the left of your mouse as the origin point.

If it's not checked then the origin point will *always* return to the place where you defined it, regardless of how many strokes you make, until you define a new position.

In newer versions of Photoshop you also have the option of the Clone Source palette. You can open it either by pressing the "Toggle the Clone Source panelt" icon in the tool options bar (while the clone stamp is your current tool) or by selecting "Window > Clone Source" from the main menu.

The Clone Source panel lets you do things like define multiple source points (and switch between them), change the aspect ratio of your strokes, and other options.

Healing functions

The healing functions within Photoshop are not limited to just one tool. The algorithm Photoshop uses to look for patterns and/or continuing lines and shapes can be applied through both individual tools and fill functions.

Element Distortion

There are a few ways to distort elements within Adobe Photoshop. The two primary ways will be either through the freeform transform tool or the liquify filter.

The "freeform" transform tool is very similar to the basic transform tool you can apply to any selected elements by hitting CTRL-T. So similar in fact that they are basically the same tool! Just making a selected element transformable is in fact a shortcut to starting to use the freeform tool.

Once the transform indicators are visible (the 8 selectable boxes and the cross / registration mark that defaults to the center of the selection) all you need to do is CTRL-Left Click on one of the control boxes to move it independent of the adjecent boxes. Typically moving the diagonal control box would also move the adjecent control boxes. While holding "CTRL" however this is not the case.

The other way which you can use Photoshop to distort an image in a more freeform manner than simple scaling is through use of the liquidy filter. It can be enacted by selecting "Filter > Liquify...".

PLEASE NOTE! Because the liquify filter is a *filter* this means that it is a destructive modification of the current layer. It's therefore a good idea to duplicate a layer before enacting the filter to have a backup if you don't like the changes.

Once used the following interface will appear.

The Red Arrow is pointing to the "Advanced Options" which you'll need to check on to get most of the options below it. There really isn't a reason to not ever have it checked.

Let's look at the options going down form there.

The brush size, density, pressure, and rate settings are analagous to the size and hardness settings of the paintbrush in the main Photoshop interface. Density is akin to hardness, pressure is akin to strength (as in the smudge brush) and rate is akin to the "spacing" option found in the brush palette. Why they are named differently when they are so similar will forever be a mystery...

The "Reconstruct" options are simple. "Reconstruct" will open a new window with a single slider that goes from 0 to 100. Here you can scale the effect of the filter from the natural state to the modified version you've made. The "Restore All" button will undo all changes you've made and return the image to the original state. Be very sure you want to hit that button if you should do so!

The "Mask Options" are similar to the combination options used by the shape tool. You can add, intersect, and remove parts of the mask through these options. Only the most intricate of distortions will use those options however. Most users can get away with just using the "None", "Mask All", and "Invert All" options which just clear the image of all masks, apply a mask to the entire image, and inverts the current mask.

The "View Options" section has two options. "Show Image" simply toggles the visibility of the distorted image while "Show Mesh" toggles the visibility of the mesh used during the distortion (there are also options to change the color of it should the mesh not be visible against the colors of the image you're working with).

Let's look at the interface with the "mesh" option switched on to get a better look at how it, and the entire filter, works.

As you can see the mesh allows us to see the actual deformation with a little more clarity.

The final option in the "Advanced Options" is the "Show Backdrop" option. This simply shows your original image laid over the modified image. You can change the opacity of the laid over image and indeed that might make the changes more evident. Setting the opacity to "100" and clicking the "Show Backdrop" checkbox on and off continuously will show the differences in a more immediate way than a simple 50% opacity comparison of the two.

So what are the actual tools involved in the liquid filter? The 10 tools available can be found on the left-hand side of the filter window and work as follows.

  • The "Forward Warp Tool" pulls the image along the direction of the mouse movement. You can think of this option as simple smudging wet paint. If you find it to be too strong remember that you can change the brush size, density, and pressure options on the right for more subtle effects.
  • The "Reconstruct Tool" will undeo modifications made withint the filter window. Use it to under just *part* of the image at a single time.
  • The "Twist Tool" will literally twirl the image within the brush diameter in a clockwise fashion (you can hold the ALT key to reverse the direction).
  • The "Pucker Warp Tool" contracts the image, within the brush diameter, towards the center point of the brush. Use it to stretch an image inwards to a single point, making objects appear smaller in the process.
  • The "Bloat Warp Tool" expands the image, within the brush diameter, from the center point of the brush. Use it to enlarge objects. Objects that only need to be enlarged in one direction can still make use of this tool, just use the reconstruct tool to remove the distortion of one side afterwards.
  • The "Push Left Tool" is weird. I don't even want to think about it.
  • The "Freeze Mask Tool" will apply a red shade wherever you paint. This red area indicates a "mask". It will prevent any modifications to the applied areas.
  • The "Thaw Mask Tool" is simply a mask eraser. Use it to remove *part* of a mask layer. Otherwise remember you can click the "None" button in the "Mask Options" to remove ALL masking.
  • The "Hand Tool" is just like the panning tool in the main interface. Hold the Space Bar to simply move the canvas around as a shortcut.
  • The "Zoom Tool" is akin to the magnifying glass in the main interface. It does not have a "scrubby" zoom mode available though so single-clicks are the standard. Hold down Ctrl while any tool is selected to quickly use the Zoom Tool.

Blending multiple elements into one

Under Construction