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Healing Brush Tool

Lesson 31 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

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Lesson Info

31. Healing Brush Tool

Next Lesson: Dodge and Burn Tool


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Artistic Vision and Inspiration


Personal Projects


Creative Motivation and Defining Your Story


Organizing Your Inspiration


Building A Character


Creating Wardrobe and Props


Location Scouting


Lesson Info

Healing Brush Tool

So, when I'm happy with, so I usually group. Who groups their layers? Yeah? Great, so actually you're all very tidy people. Yeah, I group everything. So when I'm happy with the composite section of it, I will select the bottom layer and select the top layer, holding down shift as I do so, so all of those layers are selected. I will press Command+G and click them. And I usually call that base, but you can call that composite, you can call that- Let's hit save. Hit okay. Let's hit save. That's another lesson to learn. Save your images as you go. Alright, so when I'm happy with that, I will open up a new layer, and I'm gonna call this layer clean. And this is where I do some cleaning, some housekeeping. My favorite tools are the heal tool and the clone stamp tool to clean. So we have it set to A as a healing brush, and S as a clone brush, but you can set it to whatever you want. By default, healing brush is J. That's right. And why did we move it to A? So it's closer to one hand...

, and you can see how much quicker she's going because of it, all because of simple shortcuts. Yeah, my hand doesn't have to move across the keyboard. I'm too lazy. (laughs) That's really it, isn't it. So when you're housekeeping, you gotta be very efficient. Okay, I'm gonna zoom in. And I use the zed, do we say zed or Z over here? We say zed here. Z? They say Z, yeah. Z, yeah, okay, we say zed. So he just uses Z tool to go back and forth. I'm gonna heal this little, or we don't need to, but for the purpose of showing you how to do this, I'm gonna heal this. I'm gonna make sure that I'm sampling current & below, and that's because we're working on a blank layer. And the reason that we're working on a blank layer is to keep the file size small. It's a really efficient way as well to clean, I personally think. And it does keep your file size small, so. Sample, current and blur, heal tool. I'm going to press option to select. It works very similar to the stamp tool. Option to select close to the blemish, and then with a brush size that's very similar to the blemish, I will just lightly cover it. And it's gone. What things do you normally look for when you heal in this stage? Textural blemishes, essentially. You're not really looking at blemishes made by light, because that you'll tackle in dodging and burning. But anything textural really, that you know that won't get in dodging and burning, and also like, she's flawless, so actually it's pretty easy to clean her. Just something, anything that's distracting as well. I also use this too in the hair. There we go. Maybe not quite there, it doesn't work there. There. Maybe a little more. But you can also use the stamp tool as well. So the way we work is that, initially, what Bella will do is do a quick little clean up of most of the areas. And then finally, when everything is done, at the end with the color tuning and all that, when she sends it to me at the end of the process, we're gonna talk about in-depth retouching using one of the studio portraits as well. Yeah. Very quickly, we've covered the healing tool. I want to show you the stamp tool. Let me find something I can stamp. Maybe, okay, I'll stamp this out. So for the stamp tool, I will make sure again that I'm sampling current & below. But the difference here is that I'm changing the flow to 9%, and I'm leaving opacity at 100. And that's just because, again, like we learnt earlier when it comes to building up the brush, there we go, building up the brush density, just a bit more seamlessly, gradually. There you go. So, I'm stamping where I should be healing, because I want to show them how to stamp. You want to show them the way. Yeah. Okay. There's something that you can stamp. If you go up over here, would you ever fill in the gold? Oh, okay. If I wanted to I could. I quite like it cracked. I do too actually. Yeah, 'cuz I like that a lot. But if I wanted to, I could. I could just make that brush smaller, select a sample from near the area, and then just start filling those in. Maybe could make it a little bit bigger, actually. There we go. And just paying attention to what I'm doing. Okay. Okay. But I didn't really want to do that, so we're going to take that away. Okay. But we get that, yeah. I know that there's a million ways to do the same thing in Photoshop, but Akar had asked a couple questions about when you were adding that hair. And so one of the questions is, would you ever use the warp tool to change the flow of the hair in any parts of the image, and then also do you ever use auto-align to line up the images as well? Or is it done by hand? Sorry, two questions. No no, very good questions actually. So, yeah, I usually liquefy. Well I don't use the warp tool, actually. Yeah, not the warp tool. Actually, no, it depends. No, it depends, sorry. If I'm compositing, sometimes I will use the warp tool, yes. To warp the piece that I'm compositing if it needs to be. So yeah I will use it, and I'll just tweak it a little bit, and put it in place, and composite around it. I think I know what he means now about the hair. I actually haven't really gotten into that habit. It's fine if you do. I don't think that it's wrong, because I just do it another way. When I'm liquefying, I just use the liquefy tool, and tweak the hair there. So, I see what he means. So yeah, sometimes I will use the warp tool, but it's not my go-to, I'll just liquefy. And the auto-align function. I don't think you really use auto-align either. No, I hardly ever do, yeah. But it's a great tool, especially if you're shooting in one aspect point, and you want to align multiple layers, and they're off. It's easy to do that, but I don't think you do because you just like that power of manually being able to control every element as well. I do, yes. But it's totally acceptable to do so.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Practice PSD File - Sleeping Beauty
Pratik Naik Retouching Actions
The Royal Collection - Fine Art Actions
Practice PSD File - Location Shoot (~700mb)
Practice PSD File - In Studio Shoot (~1.3gb)

Ratings and Reviews


Great class and great instructors. Genuine and informative. Practical tips to create stunning images. Seeing them work through the process from shoot to finished image was great and I loved that they shared the thought processes behind the creative decisions. Definitely recommended!


Truly a remarkable duo. Bella is so down-to-earth and humble for a photographer with such a strong beautiful and ethereal voice. Her explanations of her process really inspired me--I was sketching concepts throughout the class. Pratik's process really opened my eyes to "smart" retouching--understanding what can be done in fewer brush strokes and slimmer PS files. All in all a really unique and inspiring class that makes me excited to realize my next conceptual shoot. They're also adorable together!

Mai Her

I've gained sooooo much from this I can't even contain my appreciation and excitement! So much inspiration and so much generous advice and tips to help me! Thank you so much Bella and Pratik and Creative Live!

Student Work