Adobe Lightroom has two powerful features – the Clone Stamp and the Healing Brush under the Spot Removal tool umbrella. These two powerful options can help you remove skin blemishes, unwanted features, sensor dust and any other types of spots in your photos at the blink of an eye. In this article we shall be looking at these two features and see how we can work with them to remove simple blemishes and spots from an image.
Here is an image of the Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda) that I took in Orissa during a recent road trip.
The Heal Tool
This image has a few overhanging leaves and branches sticking at the top left corner of the image which I don’t like. I will use one of the above tools to remove these. Let’s pick the Heal tool to remove these. Lightroom accurately samples patches from adjoining areas and uses them to remove the annoying leaves and branches.
More often than not, Lightroom does a fair job of picking areas that are similar in terms of light, texture and color to patch over the sampled area. Sometimes though, the selected area may not be suitable for patching. If it selects an area which is unsuitable, simply click and drag the selected sample area and place it over an area that is more suitable.
Magically though, in this instance, Lightroom does a good job of replacing the ‘affected’ areas with adjoining patches which matches the color, lighting and texture.
The spot healing tool is particularly great when removing skin blemishes and imperfections. You can even remove an entire human being just in case someone’s photobombing an otherwise perfect landscape shot. The only problem with the spot removal tool is that while the size of the brush can be altered, the shape remains an annoying circle. That means you are stuck limited flexibility. For intricate editing work Photoshop still remains the preferred tool of choice.
The Clone Tool
The Clone Tool is also very suitable for removing the odd spots on the lens, sensor dust and those sort of things. In this example I shall be using another image to demonstrate how the Clone Tool can be very effective.
In the above image and the enlargement beside it I have highlighted the area where a spot on the lens was caught in the image. It was a windy and it drizzled intermittently and probably there was a drop of water on the front element of my lens. This ruins an otherwise good image. To remove it I shall be using the Clone Tool in Lightroom.
The Clone tool does a surprisingly good job of removing the spot. Remember to scroll up or down to change the size of the selection area. Overall the spot removal tool in Adobe Lightroom is very powerful and barring the inability to change the brush shape it is capable of handling most spots, blemishes and other unwanted elements in the image.