The Wait Is Over

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You can quickly fix a multitude of flaws with Photoshop 7's Healing brush and Patch tool; both let you copy texture from one part of an image to another while preserving the latter area's original color. To show you how to put these two new tools to work, I started with a less-than-perfect photo of myself (left) taken with an Olympus E-10 digital camera. I then went to work on giving myself a digital makeover.

Using the Healing Brush

My first task was to erase the tiny bumps from under my eyes. I selected the Healing brush by pressing the J key (the shortcut previously assigned to the Airbrush tool). Then I option-clicked inside the image to set the point from which I wanted to clone the texture. In this case, I chose the shadow to the side of my nose, where the skin appeared smoother (left).

Having set the source point, I painted over the flawed portion of the image. I began my brushstroke inside the shadow just below my eye. This ensured that the shadows from the source and destination areas would align properly. After Photoshop completed the drag, it took a moment to blend the colors around the brushstroke (right) with the texture from the source.

If you're not satisfied with the results, you can undo the healing, deselect the Align option in the Options bar (to avoid replaying the same stroke), and try your drag again.

Using the Patch Tool

For larger areas that don't respond well to the Healing brush, such as the scars on my forehead, the Patch tool can offer an easier solution.

First, I selected the area I wanted to fix with the Lasso tool (left). (You can use any selection tool or method you like for this part.) I feathered the selection slightly to blur it and soften the transitions.

Then, with the Patch tool selected (shift-J), I dragged the selection outline to an area of the image with smoother skin. The moment I released, Photoshop healed the selection, using texture from the new area (right) and the colors that surround the original selection outline.

The results are smooth skin and a much-improved complexion.

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