I have always been a huge fan of the clone tool in photoshop and recently I was told that the healing brush in photoshop is far superior. I needed to investigate this and found a few blogs that were quite helpful on the subject.
The Healing Brush lets you correct imperfections in your picture in a similar way to the Clone Stamp Tool. Like the Clone Stamp Tool, you paint with sampled pixels from your image which you can switch the ‘Alt’ button. The Healing Brush Tool does an excellent job of matching together all of the relevant shades and textures, which results in a seamless finish. Read more about the spot healing brush here.
I found another good post on a photoshop blog that gives step by step instructions to fix wrinkles, bags under the eyes and skin tone with the patch and healing brush tool. For their step by step instructions click here. Below is my version of following this tutorial.
1. Select an image that needs enhancement.
2.First take the red eye out with the red eye tool that lives in the same tool bar as the healing and patch tool.
Select the Healing Brush tool (the little bandaid) in your side tool bar. Adjust the brush size to suit the area you will work on. Pick a sampling point by clicking Alt+click the area you want to use as a source and then click and drag the brush over the part you want ‘healed’. First I’m going to start with the lines in the forehead. You can always ctrl+z and retry for desired effects.
Make sure you create a snapshot of your work at this state. (This is something I never knew you could do in photoshop and a really helpful step). To create a snapshot go into the History palette and click on the icon to the left of the “trash can.”
3. Lets fix those bags! The Patch Tool is my weapon of choice. To get rid of dark puffy areas below the eyes use the patch tool to draw a selection. Then drag the selection to another similar part of the face to replace colors and tones and release the mouse button. Repeat step 3 for the other eye.
4. Keep it real. After everything is blended the face can look kind of fake (and alien-like!). To make it more natural use the History Brush tool to paint some of the old details below the eyes. This is why we created a snapshot in Step 2. Now create another snapshot.
5. Select the History Brush tool. Then go to the History palette and check the box to the left of your first snapshot. Select the appropriate brush. (you may want to lower the opacity to make it look more natural when you back back in some details). Now start painting back some of the detail and waa-lah, you are now a professional with the Healing and Patch tools.
Thanks Tai for turning me on to the healing and patch tools. They are super easy to use and give quick results.