Tools for retouching: Clone Stamp Tool

Clone Stamp ToolThe Clone Stamp is one of my personal favourite tools as well as being probably the most useful gadgets for restoration and retouching. It allows you to paint image information via a brush. The Clone Stamp does this by copying or ‘sampling’ a range of targeted pixel information using a brush. This can be useful for task such as:

  • Repairing damaged regions
  • Removal of unwanted objects
  • Spotting out specks of dirt and dust
  • Removal of scratches and other marks.

Using the clone stamp tool

Clone Stamp Tool SampleFirstly make it active on the tool palette by clicking on it or choosing the quick key ‘S’. Then select a size of brush appropriate for the task. Generally, depending on your selection of brushes; the larger the brush, the softer the edge. You can quickly change the size of your brush using the bracket keys ‘[]’. Now follow these steps:

  1. ALT-click on the region of your image that you’d like to sample.
  2. Take your finger off ALT.
  3. Move your cursor over to the area to re-work.
  4. Click to paint with your brush.
  5. Repeat this procedure to keep your ‘Cloning’ fresh.

You will notice that a cross-hair appears over the sampled region. This indicates that your brush is sampling from that region and it will move in alignment with your brush.

Tip: Don’t just stick to one sampled region. It is important to continually re-sample, selecting from different areas of your image as your work. This approach will help to maintain a natural variance within your textural information and avoid ‘pixel-echoing’ – a common sign of an amateur restorer at work.

More reading

Clone Stamp Exercise

Using the Clone Stamp Tool properly

Adobe Photoshop Brushes – Introduction

Photoshop Restoration: Where to begin

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