Guide to Using the Spot Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop

Guide to Using the Spot Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop

Table of Contents

Photoshop’s Spot Healing Brush Tool has significantly improved over the years in removing unwanted objects. Whether it’s a simple dust spot on your lens or a more complex task like erasing a person from the background, this guide will teach you how to effectively use the Spot Healing Brush to clean up your images in Photo Retouching.

What is the Spot Healing Brush Tool?

The Spot Healing Brush Tool is popular in various image editing software, including Adobe Photoshop. It is designed to remove imperfections and blemishes from digital images quickly and easily.

The tool uses a content-aware algorithm to analyze the surrounding pixels and automatically fill the selected area with similar texture and color, making it appear like the blemish or imperfection never existed.

The Spot Healing Brush Tool is handy for retouching photographs by removing small spots, acne, wrinkles, dust, scratches, and other minor flaws. It provides a non-destructive way to enhance images without leaving evident traces of editing.

How to Use the Spot Healing Brush Tool

Using the Spot Healing Brush Tool is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use it in Adobe Photoshop:

Create a New Layer

Before you start using the Spot Healing Brush Tool, working on a separate layer is essential. This way, you can keep your original image intact and make non-destructive edits. To create a new layer, press “Ctrl+Shift+N” (Windows) or “Cmd+Shift+N” (Mac) or click on the “New Layer” icon in the Layers panel.

Customize Toolbar Settings

In the toolbar on the left side of your Photoshop window, locate and select the Spot Healing Brush Tool (usually represented by a band-aid or healing brush icon). Next, navigate to the top options bar to fine-tune the tool settings. Ensure the “Content-Aware” option is checked, allowing Photoshop to intelligently sample and blend pixels from the surrounding area for a seamless result.

Adjust Brush Size

To adjust your brush size, click the small dropdown arrow in the Spot Healing Brush size settings. For optimal results, use a hardness of 50% and a spacing of 25%, which works well for most images. To ensure a perfectly round brush, set the roundness to 100%.

Depending on what you aim to remove in your photo, it’s essential to adjust the brush size accordingly. Choosing a size that’s just large enough to remove the imperfection without being unnecessarily big is recommended.

Begin Retouching

Now that you have selected the Spot Healing Brush, it’s time to retouch your image. It would be best to focus on removing dust spots and other distracting elements from the final edit. For larger areas, you can click and drag to retouch your photo. However, a single click should suffice for minor imperfections like dust spots.

Check Your Work

After retouching:

  1. Zoom out to see the overall effect.
  2. Check for any noticeable seams, artifacts, or areas that need further adjustment.
  3. If you encounter any issues, use the Undo command (“Ctrl+Z” or “Cmd+Z”) to go back to a previous state and try again.

Tips for using the Spot Healing Brush tool

Using the Spot Healing Brush Tool effectively requires practice and understanding its capabilities. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of this powerful tool:

  • Use a small brush for precision: The Spot Healing Brush works best on smaller areas, such as dust spots, small blemishes, or minor imperfections. Adjust the brush size using the bracket keys [ and ] or the brush size slider in the options bar to match the imperfection size you want to remove.
  • Work on a duplicate layer: Before using the Spot Healing Brush, create a duplicate layer of your image. This way, you can preserve the original image and quickly revert changes.
  • Check the “Content-Aware” option: The “Content-Aware” option in the options bar allows Photoshop to analyze and blend surrounding pixels for a seamless result automatically. Ensure this option is selected to utilize the Spot Healing Brush‘s advanced capabilities.
  • Avoid large or complex areas: While the Spot Healing Brush is impressive, it may need to work better on large areas or complex textures. Consider using other tools like the Healing Brush Tool or Clone Stamp Tool for more extensive retouching.
  • Use short strokes or clicks: When using the Spot Healing Brush, it’s often better to make short strokes or clicks rather than dragging the brush across a large area. This helps Photoshop sample and blend more effectively, reducing the risk of noticeable seams.
  • Zoom in for accuracy: Zoom in on the area you’re retouching to ensure precision and a more natural-looking result. This allows you to see finer details and make adjustments with greater control.
  • Be cautious around edges and essential features: The Spot Healing Brush might sometimes accidentally blend important features or disrupt the edges of objects in the image. To avoid this, be careful when working near distinct edges, like the subject’s face or other critical elements.
  • Use a soft brush for smoother blending: A soft-edged brush creates smoother blending, making it less likely to leave visible lines or artifacts in the retouched area.
  • Work on a clean layer: If your image has multiple blemishes or imperfections, address them one by one on separate layers. This allows you to fine-tune each retouched area individually and adjust the layers’ opacity for a more natural overall appearance.
  • Practice and experiment: The Spot Healing Brush Tool can yield fantastic results, but it takes practice to become proficient. Feel free to experiment with different settings, brush sizes, and techniques to find the best for your image.

The Spot Healing Brush is just one of many tools available for image editing, and depending on the complexity of your project, you may need to use other tools in combination to achieve the desired results.

When should I modify the settings of the Spot Healing Brush?


The Spot Healing Brush offers a range of modes, including Normal, Multiply, Screen, Color, and Luminosity, each with unique effects. These modes dictate how the new pixels blend seamlessly with the existing ones in Photoshop. While they may not be essential for retouching images, exploring these modes can elevate your editing skills.


Content-Aware: This advanced feature of the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop analyzes your photo and intelligently determines the ideal pixels to replace those you want to heal.

The Create Texture Spot Healing Brush intelligently replaces specific areas of your photo with a pattern formed by nearby pixels. This feature is perfect for achieving flawless alignment in textured patterns.

Proximity Match is a feature that scans the pixels adjacent to the area you are healing to find the perfect match. Perfect for smaller areas that blend seamlessly with their surroundings, this version of the Spot Healing Brush will revolutionize your healing process.

Other Settings

Spacing: Adjust the spacing option to achieve smooth brush strokes with just a click and drag. Optimal for most images, a 25% spacing setting ensures perfect results. For the smoothest brush strokes possible, set the spacing to 0%. Alternatively, increase the spacing to 1,000% for intentional spread-out spots with the Spot Healing Brush, even when clicking and dragging.

Angle/Roundness: By adjusting the roundness, you can alter the shape of the brush, whereas adjusting the angle will affect the rotation of the oval. These settings can be beneficial for targeted spot removal. While they may not be commonly used, they provide valuable enhancements for your brush tool.

By incorporating the Spot Healing Brush Tool into your image editing workflow, you can retouch your photographs quickly and efficiently, leaving stunning, flawless images behind. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an enthusiast, this tool empowers you to focus on the artistry and creativity of photography.

See more»