Use the Healing Brush tool to remove small and larger objects from a photo.


This sample file is an Adobe Stock asset you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.

What you learned: Remove objects with the Healing Brush tool

When to use the Healing Brush

The Healing Brush tool is similar to the Spot Healing Brush, but it allows you to choose where to sample the detail that will be used to retouch an area. It creates a smooth blend between the sampled detail and the area you are retouching, making it an excellent tool for tasks where seamless color blending is important.

Use a separate layer for retouching

  • With the Background layer active, choose Layer > New > Layer Via Copy to make a copy of the Background layer and keep your retouching separate from the main image.
  • Another way to create a separate retouching layer is to add a new layer and, in the Options bar for the Healing Brush, set the Sample menu to Current and Below.

Learn how the Healing Brush tool works

  1. The Healing Brush tool copies detail and blends the brightness and color qualities of the area you retouch.
  2. With the Healing Brush tool selected, tap the right square bracket key several times to enlarge the brush pointer, or the left square bracket key to make the brush pointer smaller. (The square bracket keys are next to the letter P on most English keyboards.)
  3. Choose a brush size that matches the size of the area you want to retouch.
  4. To set the sample point, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (MacOS) an area of detail you want to copy.
  5. Brush over the element you want to cover or remove in the image.

Correct unwanted color spill

With some larger objects that have color or brightness values different from the surrounding area, some of the original colors may spill through into the healed area. To help with this, you can first cover the object with a color that more closely matches the surroundings, and then add the detail with the Healing Brush tool.

  1. Use the Eyedropper tool to sample colors from the surrounding area.
  2. Use the Brush tool to paint these sampled colors over the area where original colors spilled with the Healing Brush tool.
  3. Use the Healing Brush tool to copy desired detail over the recolored areas to create a better healing result.

Save your work

  • Save the file in PSD or TIFF format to retain the separate retouching layer you created.
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