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Lesson 4. Retouching and Repairing > Repairing areas with the Clone Stamp tool

Repairing areas with the Clone Stamp tool

The Clone Stamp tool uses pixels from one area of an image to replace the pixels in another part of the image. Using this tool, you can not only remove unwanted objects from your images, but you can also fill in missing areas in photographs you scan from damaged originals.

You’ll start by filling in the torn corner of the photograph with cloned water from another area of the picture.

Select the Clone Stamp tool ().

On the tool options bar, open the Brush pop-up palette and select a medium-sized brush with a soft edge, such as Soft Round 21. Then, make sure that the Aligned option is selected.

Move the Clone Stamp tool pointer to the center of the image so that it is at the same level as the top edge of the torn corner. Then, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) so that the pointer appears as target crosshairs, and click to start the sampling at that part of the image. Release the Alt or Option key.

Starting at the top edge of the torn corner of the photograph, drag the Clone Stamp tool over a small area at the top of the torn area of the image.

Notice the crosshairs that appear to the right of the Clone Stamp tool in the image window. The crosshairs indicate the source area of the image that the Clone Stamp tool is reproducing as you drag.

Release the mouse button and move the pointer to another area of the missing corner, and then start dragging again.

Notice that the crosshairs reappear not at the original source spot that you selected in Step 3, but at the same spatial relationship to the Clone Stamp tool pointer that they had when you made the first stroke. This happens because you selected the Aligned option, which resets the crosshairs at that position regardless of the position of the Clone Stamp tool.


When the Aligned option is not selected and you make multiple brush strokes, the crosshairs and the brush maintain the same spatial relationship (distance and direction) that they had when you started your first brush stroke, regardless of the location of the original sample site.

Continue cloning the water until the entire missing corner of the image is filled in.

If necessary to help make the surface of the water appear to blend in naturally with the rest of the image, you can adjust your cloning by resetting the sample area (as you did in Step 3) and recloning. Or, you can try deselecting the Aligned option and cloning again.

When you are satisfied with the appearance of the water, choose File > Save.

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