Using the Healing Brush in Photoshop


Healing Brush Tutorial SnickerdoodleDesigns

Last week we learned about the Spot Healing Brush. (Using the Spot Healing Brush).  Today let’s look at the Healing Brush Tool.

With the Spot Healing Brush, you do not need to select a sampled area before using the brush. You just stamp down on the area you would like to repair.  With the Healing Brush, a sampled area is required.

Options for the Healing Brush:

Healing Brush Tutorial SnickerdoodleDesigns

  1. Choose a Brush Size. Photoshop looks at the sampled area you have chosen, and analyzes the pixels within a feathered radius of 10% of that area, taking into account texture, color, and luminosity. For this reason, using a soft-edged brush is not required, or even advised, when using the Healing Brush.
  2. You may choose a Blend Mode, but I typically keep this set to Normal.
  3. You have the option of “Sampled” or “Pattern Source”.  If you choose “Pattern Source,” you will be allowed to choose a Pattern from the Pattern picker. Typically, we would want to leave this option set to “Sampled.”

Using the Healing Brush:

  1. Choose the sampled area by Alt-clicking on the area of the image you would like to sample.
  2. Move your cursor over the area you would like to repair, then click and drag.

In the image below, I would like to remove the rust on this car fender.  The dark circle is the area that I will be sampling from.

Healing Brush Tutorial SnickerdoodleDesigns

After I have alt-clicked my sample area, I dragged my brush over the rusted area. In larger areas like this, you may need to complete the repair process in stages. In this image, I repaired half of the rust, then alt-clicked a second time, to choose another sample point, then completed the repair process.  Here is the final result.

Healing Brush Tutorial SnickerdoodleDesigns

You might now be wondering what the difference is between the Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp.  They work much in the same way, in that you must select a sampled area before using the tool.  The difference is that the clone stamp just clones, or copies, pixels from your sampled area, while the Healing Brush tool tries to blend the pixels from your sampled image with the pixels in the area you are repairing.

Sometimes the Clone Stamp works better than the Healing Brush, and sometimes the Healing Brush works best.  Experimentation is the key!

For today’s tutorial I used Photoshop CC2015.5.  The Healing Brush is available in Photoshop Elements as well.

You may download a copy of this tutorial in PDF format here:  Using the Healing Brush.



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Comments (8)

  1. Su Hall

    This is another tool I forget about. I need to try to use these ‘healing’ tools more often.
    You learn one way and tend to stay with that way for forever. I have changed a few ways after finding out about a different way. For years, I would place every brush, style, pattern, etc., within that particular folder in the Adobe files on my C-drive. What a pain and the space it took up! Then, I saw a tut from Jodiann, who used the Preset Manager! Changed my life! Well, almost! LOL Perhaps, a tut on using that? I haven’t looked to see if you already have one. (sheepish grin)
    You did an awesome tut for this! I did not know about the ‘Pattern Source’. Must check it out! See? I learn something every time!
    Thank you, ma’m!


    June 25, 2016 at 7:22 am
  2. Anita

    These two tutorials have already been so very helpful! I’ve just printed out both of them (I usually just save the pdf’s), so I can grab them next time I need them! I’ve done a number of ‘repair’ jobs, some have turned out better than others – I know I’m going to use this information! Your tutorials are always so clear & complete!

    June 25, 2016 at 1:30 pm
  3. […] Using the Healing Brush in Photoshop – 1 freebie(s) […]

    June 26, 2016 at 1:56 am
  4. LIz

    It’s good to know about this tool, because I never knew how it worked or what it did. I always use the Clone tool. Now I have another option! Thank you!

    July 8, 2016 at 11:28 am
  5. It is good about photoshop tutorial. Your tutorial is very helpful for me. Because I am new graphic designer Thanks you.

    January 10, 2018 at 8:10 am
    • Karen

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful!

      January 10, 2018 at 10:41 am
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