Articles, Blog

When To Use Clone Stamp Vs Healing Brush (#Photoshop)

September 5, 2019

Today I’m going to answer a question a lot
of you guys probably have.  The differences between when you use a clone stamp tool and
when you use a healing brush tool in Photoshop. [Music]  Hey guys, welcome to Phlearn, my
name is Aaron Nace, you can find me on Twitter at aknacer.  Today we are bringing you some
really cool things; some differences between using the clone stamp tool and the healing
brush tool.  You guys probably know what each of the tool is, but it can be a little
bit fuzzy at times, when you should use one tool as opposed to the other one.  Today
it’s all about that. We’re going to focus on how to use each tool and then I’m going
to show you guys when to use one tool versus the other one.  Let’s go ahead and get
into Photoshop, we’ve got a lot to do and it’s a good start to the week.
Here’s our image.  Today we’re actually working on an image we shot of Kelsey a couple
weeks ago, just an awesome, fun time.  We grabbed a light bulb, it’s always fun to
use a prop when you’re doing a photo shoot.  We just grabbed a light bulb, we had her hold
it and we had a fan that was blowing her hair everywhere and we just said “Have fun, pose
with it and look cool.”  This is a really good image to show you guys the differences
between the two tools. First thing we’re going to do is let’s go
ahead and create a new layer.  We’re going to start off with our healing brush tool,
and then we’re going to move on to our clone stamp tool.  Let’s just zoom into a hundred
percent and … sorry Kelsey this has not been retouched yet, but your skin is great
for the most part. So, we’ll just take care of a couple of little areas that everyone
has.  I have them, you have them, we all have little spots on our face.
We’re going to use our healing brush tool first.  I’m on a new layer. What you want
to be able to do is right here at the top. If you select current layer it’s not going
to do anything.  You start painting and it basically just tells you there’s nothing
on this layer.  What you want to do is either select current and below or all layers. Usually
I select current and below.  It will select this layer but it will also select the layers
beneath it as well. With the healing brush tool, let’s just
zoom in a little bit more.  Basically you create a sample point.  To do that hold down
the alt key or the option key and you want to sample an area and click.  Hold alter
option and then click with your mouse or if you guys are using a pen like I am [inaudible
00:02:13], click there with your pen.  When you let go you’re going to start painting
in a new area just like this and you let go and it’s going to do a decent job letting
it in.  Let’s just choose a brush that’s slightly softer.  You want to choose a brush
that’s about the same size as the actual area you want to paint in.
Let’s go over here and we’ll do the same thing.  Holding down alt or option, click
sample up there and then we’ll just paint over that little spot and you can see when
I let go it basically just erases the spot.  You can see the before and the after with
those, pretty simple really. Let’s go to another spot and we’ll show you guys the
healing brush tool … sorry the clone stamp tool.  Now we’re in the clone stamp tool. 
Again, we can choose current and below as what we want to paint.  It’s going to select
this layer and the layers below.  What we’re going to do, again, just the same thing; is
holding down alt or option.  We’re going to click over here in this area, and now I’m
going to paint in that area.  Alt or option and we’re going to paint in this area.
You might be seeing, as of now it’s like well, those kind of do maybe the same thing. 
Here’s the big difference.  Let’s just go ahead and delete this layer, we’ll create
a new one. The healing brush tool, what it does is it takes the texture from the area
you sample and it takes the color from the area that you paint and then it mixes those
together.  The clone stamp tool basically just does a direct copy.  I’m going to
choose an area right up here and this is going to be a good choice to actually show you guys
the difference between the two. Here’s the healing brush tool.  Let’s
say I want to get rid of this guy and I don’t sample up here, maybe I sample over here. 
It’s going to take the texture from where I’m sampling.  Hold alt or option, sample
there and then you can paint over there.  You can see, it doesn’t really look good,
but when I let go, it’s going to take the color from around this area and try to merge
it back into the area you’re actually painting.  It’s going to take this texture and put
the color right over there.  We can just try it again right up there.  I’m going
to take this texture, paint it in there and when I let go it’s going to take these colors
around there. If I’m using the clone stamp tool and I
hold alt or option over here, sample that point and I start painting in and I let go,
it doesn’t blend it in anymore, it’s a direct copy, there is no more blending in. 
You might be thinking to yourself, well, why don’t you just use the healing brush tool
all the time?  That’s a really good question, but there are times when you don’t want
to use the healing brush tool. If you’re doing simple little things like
this like getting rid of little spots on someone’s face, the healing brush tool more often than
not is the correct choice.  When you want to use the clone stamp tool is whenever you
have an edge, whenever you’re getting close to edges.  To show you that, we’re going
to go right down over here to where she’s holding this chord, it was an actual light,
it’s plugged in and everything like that. Let’s say we want to get rid of this chord. 
The healing brush tool, it’s like okay, I want to get rid of that thing. Let’s just
go ahead and sample with the healing brush tool outside of here and start painting in
right over this area.  It might look good to start off with, but when I let go, now
you’re going to see why we don’t want to use the healing brush tool.  The healing
brush tool, because it samples all the colors from everywhere around where you paint and
kind of like blends them together.  If you have an edge right where you’re trying to
paint, it’s going to kind of blur that edge together as well. It’s trying to take this
color and this color and kind of blend them in together.   With the healing brush tool,
that’s just not the tool you want to use.  That’s an extreme case right there.  Let’s
just say you’re close to someone’s eye or something like that, you want to get rid of
a little spot. It’s going to do the same thing.  You can see it’s kind of like blending
that and you’ll wind up getting something that really doesn’t have any detail.
What we want to use in that case is the clone stamp tool.  Grab your clone stamp tool and
then sample your color and you can paint right up to your edge. Keep in mind, it’s not
going to try at all here to do anymore blending.  We’re going to use our paint clone stamp tool
and there we go.  All the way to the edge and when I let go, it’s not going to try
to do any more blending which is exactly what we want.  Sometimes you can use these tools
in conjunction with each other, because often times you really do want the healing brush
tool to be able to just take the colors that surround it.
What I would recommend doing if you are going to be doing that … working with edges … is
use your clone stamp tools to take care of your edges here and then you can go back to
your healing brush tool. Then let’s just heal brush all this away.  There we go. 
When I let go you’re going to see it’s going to take the colors from all the way around
that and it’s going to do exactly what its job is. It’s going to get rid of that. 
When I’m going to go back to the edges, we’re going to switch to the clone stamp tool
here again and I’m just going to clone stamp some of the area that I actually want.  There
we go we’re starting up here. You don’t have to make this perfect.  You can come
back and use the healing brush tool back over top of it.  Whenever you guys are working
with edges; that’s a really good time to use the clone stamp tool as opposed to the
healing brush tool. The patch tool is basically like a giant healing
brush tool.  You can use the patch tool as well; it’s just like a larger version of
the healing brush tool.  There we go.  Let’s say we wanted to clean this area up, that
would be a good time to use the healing brush tool to kind of like clean these edges up,
because it’s going to come in here and kind of blend all those together for me.  That’s
what it’s used for.  We’re going to take care of our edges with the clone stamp tool
and then, now that we don’t have really any edges to worry about, we can go in here
and I can paint all this away with the healing brush tool. It’s going to do a really nice
job when I let go.  I’m just blending all of it in except for this area which you’re
going to have to go over again.  It’s not a big deal, but generally I’ll take care
of all the way from one side of an edge to another side of an edge. Then you can just
healing brush in between them and you don’t have to worry about texture or color or anything
like that. If we’re going to do a crop, you can see we did a really nice job of getting
rid of that using the clone stamp tool for the edges and the healing brush tool for the
inside.  We’ll just go in.  I’ll show you guys, this is going to be really quick. 
If it’s someone’s face like this, again, you want to grab the healing brush tool, sample
a color or a texture rather, that’s similar to the area you want to paint and if it doesn’t
look good really at the first pass, don’t worry about hitting undo because you can just
healing brush over top again. You can see this is I’m working at about
the pace that I would normally do a little bit of clean up and the healing brush tool
is really great for these areas where you do have nice large patches of skin.  You
can kind of go, hold down alt or option, sample these points and kind of go to work.  It
does it very quickly and for the most part it just does a great job.  Don’t worry
about using this tool on the edge. Anywhere where you don’t have edges, this is going
to be the perfect tool for the job and it’s going to be very quick and easy.  You can
see here are the before and after.  Taking care of those little spots really didn’t
take too long and it’s perfect.  Now you know how to deal with edges, both close to
the edges and far away from the edges.  Clone stamp tool, use with the edges and the healing
brush tool, don’t use with the edges. That’s it guys, pretty easy.
Two tools I’m sure you guys know how to use them, but now you know how one tool should
be used in the opposition to the other tool.  Thanks so much for watching Phlearn guys,
I hope this helped you out and I can’t wait to see your beautifully retouched images without
any fuzzy edges because you know when to use the clone stamp tool now.  Thanks a lot guys
and I’ll Phlearn you later.  Bye everyone.


  • Reply 18ch88 June 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Excellent. Thank you vm.

  • Reply TheRealiste July 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    thank you, very usefull tutorial

  • Reply Ivan Lim August 8, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    great tutorial. just straight to the point.

  • Reply Stephanie Gutmann February 19, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    What is the Clone stamp tool's opacity setting used for?  Good video!

  • Reply Jock Walker-Campbell July 3, 2014 at 4:52 am

    Very neat  Mate!

  • Reply Laxman Selvam August 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    thank you so much. very helpful.

  • Reply D' Gypsy September 15, 2014 at 2:37 am

    Such a great tutorial!! You are just the right amount of witty, interesting and informative! Can't wait to enhance my learning experience, in my Graphic Design program, with your tutorials. You have a new subscriber 🙂

  • Reply wantafanta01 January 27, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    good tutorial

  • Reply Joakim Maylove Moltzau February 11, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Great tutorial as always… Works for better PS skills and also works for better mood if you have a bad day =D Haha.. You always put a smile on my face!

  • Reply Connie Kelley February 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Absolutely FANTASTIC tutorial!

  • Reply tony sisson February 26, 2015 at 10:22 am

    The healing brush also has a replace mode. Is that basically the same as the clone stamp tool? If not, what is the difference?

  • Reply Aleksandr February 27, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Healing Brush in replace mode works not same as Clone Stamp in terms of once you selected source area healing brush (actually in each mode) uses same target point for every new stroke while Clone Stamp remembers first target point and with every new stroke moves from source point as far as you move from first target piont.
    Also Stamp allows you to choose any shape of your brush if you need. Healing Brush is only round (or flattened).

  • Reply Sean Kenzi March 5, 2015 at 12:47 am

    very informative.. thank you

  • Reply Prasad Palaniyandi March 16, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Fantastic Explanation…

  • Reply Kassahun Filate May 29, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Short and precise, Thank you !

  • Reply muhammad ali May 31, 2015 at 1:58 am

    now I know the difference and the right use of that tool… thank you for this tutorial uploader… more power to you

  • Reply Vectory Films June 13, 2015 at 10:54 am

    who is that one dislike?

  • Reply Please Die4me June 25, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for the good tutorial

  • Reply Mujahid Din July 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    your smile is killing…. Love you and your channel. my day hardly without watching your tutorial.. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  • Reply Peter Lewis August 31, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Aaron, I bet YOU are the lone dislike. Did that just to make us all laugh, right? Your tutorials are sooooooo good!!!!!!

  • Reply Miles Odonnol October 1, 2015 at 10:01 am

    I finally understand what the healing brush is doing. Thanks!

  • Reply Lisa Maier October 5, 2015 at 4:22 am

    Ditto Miles! Thank you so much for all the info!

  • Reply Rx For Rex- Stephanie The Masters CBD October 19, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Thank you 🙂

  • Reply Cory Barron October 21, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Great video, super informative A+

  • Reply J-P Lui October 22, 2015 at 6:37 am

    Thanks! Extremely helpful!!

  • Reply brightonmusic November 8, 2015 at 2:57 am

    Thanks! Another great video from you.

  • Reply Jenny Gavin-Wear November 29, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Great tutorial as always, but the Clone Stamp tool just is not working for me. I've reset the tool, opacity is 100%, all layers (also tried current and below). Any suggestions much appreciated.

  • Reply Vincent Brinkman December 5, 2015 at 11:53 am


  • Reply Brian Dunkel December 13, 2015 at 7:10 am

    How does the Spot Healing Brush Tool differ from the Healing Brush Tool ?

  • Reply 680name December 17, 2015 at 3:33 am

    So helpful!!!! thank you so much!!! Great demonstration! easy to follow and very very useful! Thank you!

  • Reply Maurizio La Cava January 3, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Great tutorial! Thank you very much for sharing

  • Reply David Camilleri January 9, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    How can I remove an object of a video clip in Photoshop CS6 by cloning? Thanks.

  • Reply Zev Carlyle February 6, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    My healing brush tool does exactly the same thing as the clone tool, it doesn't blend anything or change when I un-click. Also my clone and healing brush both don't just paste the sample, it does it from the area and as I move a little plus sign from that spot moves with it and then the sample becomes whatever is in the area it moves too. Not sure if this makes sense, but if you could help me out I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

  • Reply Tia DeGiobbi February 11, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Awesome explanation! Thank you

  • Reply Mark Abrams March 4, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Good, clear instructional video, thanks 🙂

  • Reply Adina Rodriguez Villarreal May 2, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    healing brush vs spot healing brush…please! I wanna know, please!

  • Reply Daniela Rodríguez Minsky May 7, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! You have just make my working time into a so-much–happy-and-productive working time

  • Reply jimmy lee May 9, 2016 at 9:42 am

    seriously glad i found your channel!!!!
    thank you

  • Reply Michael Coleman May 20, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I've been using both of these tools for years, wondering why sometimes I got the results I wanted and sometimes not.  Finally, a simple explanation of the difference between these!  My life will be so much easier now.

  • Reply Ahmed Siddig Muhammed June 3, 2016 at 10:00 am

    U r amazing teacher

  • Reply Jessica Cain June 20, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you for clearing this up! 🙂

  • Reply nicoco berru July 9, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    This is great! I'm a complete newbie at PS and your explanation is so easy to understand.

  • Reply dcbigtank July 18, 2016 at 3:21 am

    Very Cool and useful.Thank you

  • Reply Chickasawndngirl August 13, 2016 at 2:16 am

    Thanks again for a great video! 😀
    My challenge is trying to get rid of light patches of dust or whatever, on dress suits that have a pattern. I have tried patch tool, clone tool and healing brush but none of these give me the results I want. The edges don't match or the edges are fuzzy or the color isn't right, even if I am cloning or patching next to the problem area. Sometimes I resort to copying and pasting a piece of the pattern and trying to match it up over the area. I might finish everything else quickly in editing and then get stuck for a long time on some light patch where the subject brushed something on their pant leg. Ugh! Do you have any suggestions? I appreciate it!

  • Reply gmoneyshiphop1 August 21, 2016 at 10:08 am

    what do you use to put video there ? in your youtube video

  • Reply Hafiz Irfan Rasheed August 23, 2016 at 6:21 am

    in this video you are looking healthy ,, or photo shop editing ?

  • Reply Barbara Coutinho November 5, 2016 at 1:15 am

    I had forgotten the healing brush, this gonna save my time when i use clone stamp tool 😀 thanks!

  • Reply Trystly November 19, 2016 at 12:24 am

    I love how you praise the imperfections in people instead of trying to get rid of them and make them look like dolls! It's so refreshing…

  • Reply Indra Prasetya Sudrajat December 8, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Thanks 🙂

  • Reply SAL RODRIGUEZ January 29, 2017 at 3:48 pm


  • Reply Vince Poster March 6, 2017 at 6:14 am

    thank you

  • Reply Francisco Ortega April 5, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Question, im trying to remove some dark spots on fabric from a shoot i did. The fabric is knitted (beanie). Ive tried using , clone stamp, healing brush and patch tool. Neither are really getting the job done. I guess my question is in 2 parts:
    How can you troubleshoot these tools when they are not performing the way they should?
    What is the best way to get this done effectively?
    The knitted beanie apparently had a logo from the manufacturer embedded in the fabric. The same showed up in camera and not in person – or better said we never noticed it. Im trying to remove the same maintaining the same color and textures. I know its going to take some work but when the tools arent working properly it doesnt help. My issues, when i use the clone it works like you described but the logo is still somewhat present. When using healing brush i get the blurred blob. The patch tool is great and i have had success on other projects but for this one its acting like the clone stamp in that it might replace the selected item but there is still a hint of the logo present.



  • Reply eos6deos April 14, 2017 at 9:27 am , your brothers?? :p

  • Reply Oana David May 20, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Yo, he really slimmed down in a year

  • Reply eurossocial May 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm


  • Reply Suzanna Thapa June 14, 2017 at 6:41 am

    is there any other way than using clone stamp tool?

  • Reply TheMrwright1 August 2, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    What an excellent video! Now I no why my edges were so "smudgy" when using the healing brush tool. The tools did what they were supposed to do and I wasn't lol.

  • Reply Rekha Kaula August 3, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks. So many other videos just confused me … and now I have finally got it!

  • Reply miss zaza August 9, 2017 at 12:58 am

    i wish i can be good on editing like you master.. always failed on using healing brush.. idk what wrong 🙁 #youaresoamazing

  • Reply Jesse B. August 17, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Not that it matters but is the model male or female?

  • Reply Naeem Raza August 26, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    gre8 tut mate .. keep good work up !!!

  • Reply Ben Benkhadra September 10, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    I had A project in school about fixing a photo in photoshop. I already knew what to use to fix the photo. I realized that everyone is using the clone stamp tool and I'm the only one who is using the Healing Brush tool. I didn't understand why, but this video explains everything.

  • Reply Marc Marcano September 20, 2017 at 1:52 am

    Thanks a lot!

  • Reply Delores Harris October 3, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I loved it!

  • Reply Shahriar Omi October 20, 2017 at 10:09 am

    excellent video

  • Reply David Rodriguez October 20, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Explanation: 3:20

  • Reply Juben Vidal January 2, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Now I am enlightened!
    Thank you, you're such a good teacher!

  • Reply Mido Mokrani February 2, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    very useful , thanks.

  • Reply gNightrow March 30, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    But you can set the healing brush tool set to the replace mode ?????? which is the same as the clone stamp

  • Reply hina shahid April 12, 2018 at 11:56 am

    i m facing a problem that when i zoom in my image it disperse into pixels unlike your image
    what should i do plz tell me

  • Reply Doc Undies May 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Great demonstration of the differences of the two tools and when to use either. Thank you.

  • Reply steve wambua June 8, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    i enjoy your tutorials.Fantastic teacher

  • Reply nas laguna August 4, 2018 at 1:58 am

    Well explained! Thank you!

  • Reply Carmen September 3, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Stumbled upon this vid you made 5 years ago. Thanks for the lessons, as always. Growing older suits you 🙂

  • Reply October 21, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    Thank you, thank you!

  • Reply Soufian Ghalb November 1, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    That was such an amazing explanation, thank you so much

  • Reply Martin Cichos December 5, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    You are aware that the healing brush tool you have to use it from the place you want to get things to disappear and to the edge where you want it to stop. If you use it from and to then it actually does a pretty good job removing the cord. Using it on the edge itself it will destroy the area and blend all

  • Reply Aeuvenne February 26, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you

  • Reply Nathalie B March 6, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    0:15 I don't really find your name that funny.

  • Reply Napsiğemufo Övervinnaren May 24, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    Amazing! thanks.

  • Reply I don't want a google+ page August 31, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    I have been PHLEARN-ED today, thank you!

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