162. Remove Unwanted Objects from an Image
Before You Begin
111 About Tool Options
125 Repair Minor Tears, Scratches, Spots, and Stains
131 Remove Wrinkles, Freckles, and Minor Blemishes
134 Remove Glare from Eyeglasses
164 Replace a Background with Something Else
Using the Clone Stamp tool, you can easily remove unwanted objects from an imagesuch as telephone poles, wires, trash cans, a thumb that wandered in front of the lens, or a few stray hairs blown in the windsimply by copying over these distractions with pixels located somewhere else in the image (or in another image). To use the Clone Stamp, you first indicate the source area, and then you click or drag to paint with pixels copied from the source. Be sure to "cover your tracks" and avoid creating a noticeable pattern as you copy. The best way to do that is to lower the Opacity of the tool or select a blend mode so that the pixels you clone blend with existing pixels, paint with single clicks or very short strokes, use a large brush to avoid copying multiple times to the same area (but a small-enough brush that you don't copy things you don't want), and vary the source area from which you're copying by re-establishing a new source point every so often.
The source you select for the Clone Stamp can be located within a different image, on a different layer, or on the same layer. For example, you might clone some hair from one side of a photo to repair a small rip or a bad hair day. Or, you might clone a squirrel from one photo onto the head of your brother in another photo to create a comic image.
The most important option that affects how the Clone Stamp works is its Aligned option. With the Aligned option enabled, the relationship between the source point and the place where you begin cloning is maintained throughout the entire cloning procedure, regardless of how many times you stop and start. For example, if you establish a source and begin cloning one inch to the right of the source, when you begin another stroke, data is copied from the image one inch to the right of where you began that stroke. This enables you to clone data in a manner that maintains the way pixels were originally aligned with each other. If you use the Aligned option to clone a squirrel onto your brother's head, the squirrel would be reassembled properly in the new location, no matter how many strokes you took or in which direction you brushed the toolbecause the relationship between the source and where you first started cloning would be maintained. With Aligned disabled, pixels are always copied beginning at the original source point, and moving in the same direction that you drag. If you begin a new stroke, the pixels are copied beginning at the original source. If you cloned a squirrel with the Aligned option off, it might be reassembled with its nose on its belly, unless you place each stroke precisely.
The Healing Brush tool can also be used to copy pixels from one area to another, but it works differently than the Clone Stamp tool. The Healing Brush samples pixels from the source and blends them into the existing pixels (unless you use Replace mode, which copies the sampled pixels instead of blending them). You can only control this blending a little, by choosing a different blend Mode and reducing the Hardness of your brush. Use the Healing Brush when your main purpose is to blend data into existing image data (rather than covering it up) to remove some distraction or small imperfection, for example. The Healing Brush is especially useful if the image data you want to blend into is irregularly patterned, such as a street, sky, carpet, or grass. Use the Clone Stamp tool as described here when your main goal is to copy over image data (rather than blend it with other data) and to control the amount of coverage with each stroke through the Opacity setting. See 122 About Removing Scratches, Specks, and Holes for help with the Healing Brush.