22nd February 2012, 04:29 PM
Healing brush tool confusion
I have always been comfortable with the clone tool, but recently decided to try the new-fangled healing brush. Found it quite useful (a lot of my cloning is to remove dust & scratches from old photos). Until my healing brush one morning had morphed into what behaved exactly like my old friend, demanding that I set a target area to copy from etc.
It took me a while (read "weeks"..) to remember that there are usually multiple tools hidden under each icon in the toolbox. What we usually refer to as the healing brush is in fact the "spot healing brush", and I had inadvertently reset my tool to another version, which - to confuse matters more - is simply known as the "healing brush".
I have been unable to figure out any difference between this incarnation of the healing brush and the clone tool. I suppose there is a reason for having both, but I cannot see it ??
22nd February 2012, 05:24 PM
Re: Healing brush tool confusion
There is quite a bit of difference in how they actually work, Lennart. And there are occasions when one method is better than the others; although I often use a combination of these tools.
If I can attempt a description of their methods.
The Clone tool exactly copies what is under the pick up point then relays it unaltered to the lay down point. Subject to any opacity settings.
The Healing Brush works in exactly the same way but combines pixels from both the pick up and lay down areas and does something of a blend.
The Spot Healing Brush works in much the same way as the standard Healing Brush but you only need one brush as the outer areas of the brush become the pick up area and the pressure sensitive centre is the lay down point. Not strictly true but it roughly works like that.
The potential problems are:
The Clone Tool works well for exact copying but can produce hard edges; although varying the brush softness and opacity often helps.
While the Healing Brush gives a smoother mix you often don't get as good a copy at the lay down point. For example when trying to brush out a much lighter or darker area the blend may not exactly match the surrounding areas because the result is a blend.
The Spot Healing Tool can be good and convenient for small areas but I often find that the result lacks the correct 'texture'. Using a fairly large brush but with a light (small) lay down point sometimes helps. The Content Aware option can be helpful when working close to areas where there is a change of textures. For example when 'cloning' close to hard edges.
Frequently, I use the Clone Tool to transfer the bulk of the changes then the healing brushes to 'clean up' around the transfer and smooth the edges.
There are a few more complicated options, but let's leave it there for now.
Hope this basically makes sense; or perhaps somebody else can explain things a little more clearly; I'm struggling to find the best words.
23rd February 2012, 09:22 PM
Re: Healing brush tool confusion
You made a lot of sense to me! Part of my confusion I believe came from the fact that some of the differences are not so apparent in the sort of applications I have used the tools for. Now that I know what to look for, I will do some experiments to get a better feel for each tool.