Useful Information

TUTORIAL: Cropping, healing and cloning


First in Camera Raw

If there are edges of the image that have no relevance to the perceived final image, crop off now. Why take into Photoshop or Elements a file size larger than necessary? You just slow down all subsequent processes.

The following applies to Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop and Elements

Select the Crop Tool (opposing set squares icon) or via the letter “c” on the keyboard. This also works in Photoshop and Elements. By default the cropped off area remains visible albeit darker than the main picture. If you want to view the cropped image only, press the forward slash (/) key.

If you want to rotate the image position your cursor outside the crop marks and automatically the cursor becomes the rotate tool so just twist away with the left mouse button depressed until you have the image you require.

In Elements the frame rotates around the image until you reach the chosen state. When you release the mouse the frame and image then return to a sensible orientation.

In Photoshop the frame remains “straight” and the image rotates with the mouse movement.

In both versions when you place your cursor inside the crop marks, it becomes a move tool and by depressing the left mouse button the image can be re-positioned inside the frame.

When you press the “enter” key the image is locked in place, the crop marks are removed and you are ready for the next command.

The rectangular Marquee tool can also be used for cropping. This can also be activated by depressing the letter “M”.

Control +D can be used throughout the toolbox to deselect the current tool.

Photoshop has a couple of extras not found in Elements. You can crop full screen by selecting the Crop Tool and positioning the cursor inside the image. Choose options on the toolbar { it’s a knurled wheel). In the sub menu select opacity and use the slider to make it 100%. Now press “Esc”, press “Tab” and crop away. If you want to remove everything else from the screen and just leave the image, press “F” twice.

When you have completed your task, press “Enter” then “F” once then “Tab”.

To cancel a crop, press “Esc” , or Ctrl+D, or choose another tool


The process can be done in Adobe Camera Raw or Photoshop or Elements.

Spot Healing. Choose the Spot Healing Tool. Make the brush size slightly bigger than than the blemish area and click. This process is useful for removing sensor dust marks.

Brush Healing - for use on bigger areas. It works similar to the Clone Tool and most of the controls are the same as below.

Alt + click on the source area and paint on the affected area.

The Heal Tool in Photoshop also contains a superior “content aware” fill, whereby the program will look at the surrounding pixels of a selected area and will try to build a replacement in the selected area. It will try to follow any pattern in the source area to fill the target area.

In Photoshop CS6

Open the image

Make a duplicate layer.

Choose the lasso tool. Check the feather value on the toolbar. Make sure you have a soft edge. The actual value you need will depend on the size of the affected area.

Lasso the affected area.

Choose the Spot Healing brush (Looks like a sticking plaster)

Check that Content Aware is selected on the toolbar

Choose Edit and on the sub menu select “Fill-Content aware”

If the first try is insufficient and some anomalies remain, the process can be repeated on the affected areas.


Clone tool - looks like a rubber stamp. Also activated by pressing the letter “S” on the keyboard. It will copy an area from one part of the image to another; frequently used to remove an intrusion or distraction from an image.

Once you have selected the clone tool check the feather value. Invariably a sharp edged clone will be obvious on the image. A soft-edged tool is recommended. Again the size of the area to be cloned and the texture will dictate the feathering to be used. Generally an edge in the range between 10 and 30 will work fine. Also check opacity on the toolbar. 95-100% is usual.

To choose the source area from which the copy will be made press “Alt” +click. You will notice that the cursor changes from an empty circle to one with cross hairs in the circle.

Now decide the size of area to be cloned at a time by deciding a brush size. The brush size can be shown by the size of circle indicating where the cursor is. Make the brush larger by pressing on the keyboard the right square bracket “]” key. It’s alongside the “Enter” key. Make the brush smaller by pressing the neighbouring left bracket key “[“.


Position the cursor on the target area you want to cover, press and hold the left button and paint away. When covering a large area interrupt your painting by re-selecting a slightly different source point to avoid a recognisable pattern being created, or if a patterned area (brickwork) is to be painted,make sure your source point selects an identifiable area. When you move the clone brush to the start point , note that the cursor contains the image from the source point. As you start painting the image you will notice a “+” appearing. This shows the point from which the copy process is currently sourcing.

As you move the brush away from your chosen start point, so the “+ “will move the same distance from the source point.

It’s better practice to clone onto a new layer although you have to be alert to which layer is active.

Make a new layer. It will position itself on top of the existing. Then click on the “picture” layer and select your source (Alt+click). Now select your new layer. Because it’s empty you will see through it to the “picture layer”. Move your cursor over the area to be changed, left click + hold and paint away as above.

You now have your copying area that you can adjust. You can feather even more the edges by using
a soft edged eraser. You can further control the opacity, the brightness, etc.

And if you don’t like the finished result you can discard the layer and do it again without affecting anything else you have done. Once you have achieved the perfect result you can always merge the clone layer with the picture layer so the two are forever fixed.