Spot Healing Brush

In this article, we will test the Spot Healing Brush advanced in Photoshop CS5 with the new Content-Aware Healing option!
For the first time, this tool appeared in Photoshop CS2. A spot repair brush is used to quickly remove small problem areas in an image, such as skin defects, dust, dirt, small scratches, etc. Its speed and performance make it ideal for fixing minor issues before moving on to big ones.

The strength of the Accurate Repairing Brush is that it does almost everything itself, only with the smallest actions on our part, but, oddly enough, this is also its weakness.

Here’s how this tool worked in Photoshop from CS2 version to today: you just clicked on a small area with an undesirable texture, then you looked at how Photoshop miraculously transfers to this place a randomly selected texture from a nearby area near the point you clicked on. As long as the problem area is rather small or there is a large area with a good texture next to it, a dot healing brush gave us acceptable results. But when the problem area became too large and complex, and there was a little good texture nearby, the Point Healing Brush began to work poorly, now we are forced to turn to the Healing Brush, Patch Tool or Clone Stamp Tool. require more time and effort.

In Photoshop CS5, the main idea of ​​this tool has not changed. We all also click on the problem area and allow the Dot Repair Brush to do the rest of the work without our participation. But this time, Adobe has greatly improved the tool, now with the new Content-Aware Healing tool the result will be better, because Photoshop now selects the texture based on the image content! Let’s check it out!

We will not look at the work of the Dot Restorative Brush in great detail, because our goal is to look at the Restoration work based on the content (Content-Aware Healing).
Here is a photo that I once filmed near the construction site – numbers painted with spray paint on the sidewalk:

0 + 875 … I want only the numbers 875 to remain on the sidewalk, but will it be easy?

Usually, removing a picture from the sidewalk (at least from a photo) is a simple, but still time consuming task. Let’s see, for the sake of experiment, how the new advanced Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop CS5 will cope with this task. First I create a new layer above the layer with the original photo. To do this, I click on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. When a new layer appeared, I double-click on its name “Layer 1” (“Layer 1”) and renamed it to “regenerating brush”, then pressed Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) to confirm the changes. So I can perform all the manipulations on the new layer without damaging the original:

Adding a new transparent layer above the original, renaming it to the “restoring brush”.

I select the Dot Repair Brush from the toolbar. In Photoshop CS5, it is also located in the drop-down menu along with other recovery tools (standard Healing Brush, Patch Tool and Red Eye Tool are the restoring brush). Therefore, if you do not see it in the toolbar, just click the mouse on any tool from this group and hold it until the pop-up list appears, select the Spot Healing Brush tool from it:

Selecting a Point Healing Brush in the toolbar.

New option “Considering the content”
With the active Spot Healing Brush look up at the Settings Panel, you will see not only the options that have always been here: Res. approximation (Proximity Match) and Create texture (Create Texture), but also a new one, which appeared only in Photoshop CS5, – Content-Aware:

New option Subject to content (ContentAware) at PhotoshopCSfive.

Adobe is so sure that you definitely want to use the new feature in view of the content, which made it selected by default. Before trying it out, let’s see how well the Dot Repair Brush does the work for the old setting. approximation (Proximity Match). I select it in the settings panel:

In previous versions of Photoshop, the setting is acc. approximation was the default.

To be honest, the Dot Restorative Brush never meant using it on such large areas. By its name, you can see that it was designed to correct small points, so I will not try to completely erase the sign from the sidewalk, but I will try on a small area. I will increase the Zero and Dot Repair Brush, with the setting of Acc. approximation, selected in the settings panel, I draw on top of the numbers. The area in which I draw is marked with a transparent black color, so I can see where I have already walked with a brush.

Drawing a point restoring brush with setting acc. approximation.

With setting to match. approximation Photoshop is simply trying to move the texture on which I draw, the texture of the surrounding areas. This is how it works in CS2, CS3 and CS4. When I release the mouse button, we see the result:

Result after using the Dot Scrub Brush with the old mode.

It turned out better than I expected, but I still can not call the result good. First, where did the blue color come from? I do not remember that it was on the original. It also seems that Photoshop randomly used image areas between the two sides of the border, and simply placed them either as. Did he replace the texture on which I painted, to another? Yes. Is an image of this quality suitable for use? Not.
Let’s try to do the same, only with the setting Given the content (Content-Aware), which can be selected on the settings panel. I draw again on top of the numbers:

Drawing by the Point restoring brush with setting In view of contents.

When everything is ready, I release the mouse button and let Photoshop do its work. When setting Taking into account the contents of Photoshop, it “thinks” longer, analyzing the image and finding the best way to “cure” it, so be prepared to wait a few seconds more to get the result:

New customization With regard to the contents made the work much better.

The result is several times better! Instead of a random distribution of the texture, taken around the area on which I painted, Photoshop checked the contents of the image and shapes, so the texture is in the right place. The result is still not perfect, I will correct the defects with the Clone Stamp Tool, but the new function Taking into account the content in Photoshop CS5, the Dot Repair Brush did a very good job, from which I will push further, there was no such Dot Repair versions of the program.
Let’s try to fix another image with Restore based on the content and look at the result.
One day I was walking with my camera in search of things that I can use as an interesting texture for different photo effects. The brick wall on this photo came up to me, but the wooden post is in the way:

A wooden pole obstructs part of the brick wall.

Let’s see if the Dot Repair Brush is able to remove this pillar from the photo. We will try this tool again first with the corresponding settings. approximation, and then Given the content. You know, before, I’d never even have thought of using the Point Healing Brush for similar work in older versions of the program.
First, I choose the corresponding. approximation (Proximity Match) on the settings panel, we will use the old version of the restoring brush. To quickly change my brush, I press the left and right square brackets on the keyboard – [and] and drag the brush over the post:

I sketched a pillar with the setting of Acc. approximation.

When I reached the bottom, I let go of the mouse button. Remember, I said that before I used and it never occurred to even try this in previous versions of Photoshop? That’s why:

Well, the idea was not a good one.

I can say with confidence that the work of the Healing Brush failed. She turned a wooden pole into a blurry mass. If I had not canceled my last step by pressing Ctrl + Z (Win) / Command + Z (Mac) and did not try again, then nothing good would have come out of this image. B. But now let’s take a look at the work of Restoration based on the content. Select the Content-Aware option from the settings panel and again drag the brush from the top to the bottom of the post:

Try again, this time using Recover based on content.

I release the mouse button and wait a few seconds – Photoshop analyzes the contents of the image, and get the result:

Was there a wooden pole a few seconds ago? And where did the shadow come from?

This time, the Accurate Repairing Brush did not leave a blurry mash behind, it did an excellent job, especially considering how little power I spent on it. I just ran the brush from the top down to the pillar – that’s all I did, and the rest of the work was done by Photoshop myself! Photoshop now analyzes your image and tries to make the result look natural – as if an unnecessary object was not at all in the image. Of course, the result is still not perfect, you have to correct it with other retouching tools (standard healing brush – Healing Brush, Patch Tool – Patch Tool, Stamp – Clone Stamp Tool). Restoration based on the contents brings the Point Healing Brush to a new level. Adobe was right when, by default, made the option Content-Aware selected, because if you ever see its effect in Photoshop CS5, you will not return to the old option Sootv. approximation (Proximity Match)!

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