The Great Healers

Some of the simplest retouching you can do is to remove dark circles and bags under eyes, as well as other blemishes. In the old days, you were stuck with cloning (copying) skin from one area to another, which never looked quite right; texture and tonal (color) differences always made the fix stick out like a sore thumb. These days, Photoshop has a set of tools specifically for retouching skin. Instead of grafting skin by cloning, these tools blend two patches of skin together so the texture and tones actually match (see Figure 10-1).

The Spot Healing Brush

This tool’s cursor is a round brush—perfect for fixing round problem areas like pimples, moles, and so on. It’s literally a one-click fixer-upper—you don’t even have to drag, though you can if you want. When you click a spot with this tool, Photoshop looks at the pixels just outside the cursor’s edge and blends them with the pixels inside the cursor. It’s great for retouching people, fixing dust and specks in old photos, and removing anything that’s roundish. You can also drag with this tool to remove, say, power lines on a relatively solid background (like a sky) or to fix scratches in old photos. And with the Content-Aware Fill option (explained in a moment), the Spot Healing Brush does an amazing job at zapping unwanted stuff in images.

To use the Spot Healing Brush, grab it from the Tools panel by pressing J (its icon looks like a Band-Aid with a circle behind it). Then put your cursor over the offending blemish ...

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