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How to Use the Patch Tool in PhotoShop
A Simple step by step tutorial
This Hub is written in answer to the question asked by WebbyAvatar in HubPage questions ‘How does the Patch Tool Work in PhotoShop. I will do a simple tutorial step by step on the patch tool so that even a beginner who is a novice in PhotoShop can follow it.
As usual in the course of this tutorial no knowledge will be assumed and to help you to identify where things are I will highlight the relevant places that you need to click on in each image. I hope that you will enjoy learning how to use this fascinating tool.
If after reading the tutorial you have any questions that you would like to ask, please ask them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them as soon as possible.
Before and After the Patch
Thirty Day free trial
If you have never tried PhotoShop because of the expense then why not go to their website and download the thirty-day free trial of their latest version. This trial version costs you nothing to download and you get to play with it for thirty days. Of course at the end of thirty days it will be disabled but in the mean time you will have had a chance to try their latest version and try out all the new features.
Open image in PhotoShop
First click on your icon for PhotoShop and open up the program.
Once you have the program open go to file (see fig one) and left click on it and you will get a drop down menu the second item down is ‘open’ left click on this and open the image that you want to use the patch tool on.
I cannot show you the drop down menu on the file because I cannot capture it, sorry :(
An unwanted crane in the photograph
I am using a (see fig two) photograph of the sea front in Villajoyosa taken from a boat just off shore.
It is a very nice photograph but a huge crane dominates the skyline and spoils the picture. This photograph would definitely look better if the big crane was removed leaving the skyline clear.
This image I think will demonstrate just how useful this wonderful little patch tool is when it comes to removing unwanted items like this crane from our photographs.
The Patch Tool
The patch tool is found on the left-hand side in the tool bar it is the seventh icon down.
Right click on this item and you will get a dropdown menu, which has four tool options see fig three.
The patch tool is the third tool down. The patch tool icon looks like a small patch. The icon which appears in the tool bar is the one selected from the drop down menu.
Don't worry if you cannot see the patch tool on your tool bar, you will see it in the drop down menu when you right click on the icon.
When looking for the patch tool in your tool bar it is more likely that you will see the icon for one of the healing brush tools showing in the tool bar.
Select the patch tool
Right click on the patch tool to select it. When the patch tool has been selected the drop down menu will disappear and the patch tool icon will now be showing in the top left-hand corner with the options available for this tool. See fig four.
Click on the little circle to the right of the word source a little green dot should appear in the center of the circle to show that it has been selected.
It is important that you have source selected not destination. If destination is selected when we move our selection we will be adding another crane to the skyline instead of removing one.
Selecting the area that you want patched
he patch tool works like the lasso tool and what we need to do now is select the area that you want patched. We do this by drawing round the area that we want to replace by the patch.
When the patch tool is selected the cursor turns into a patch so that you know that you are using the patch tool. Place the cursor where you want to start to draw and holding down the left button on your mouse keep holding it down until you have completed the selection.
It is important that your first point and your last point meet so that your selection is fully enclosed.
When you have closed your selection you will get the marching ants that you see in fig five below, if you don’t have these marching ants showing then you have not closed your selection properly.
Moving the selection
In fig five you can see that I have selected the crane and I am ready to move my selection to the right into a clear area of blue sky.
Check before you move the selection that you have the source selected and not the destination see fig four.
Placing your cursor inside the area that you have selected hold down the left side of the mouse and move the selection by just dragging it to the area that you want. In this case it is to the nearest piece of blue sky. See fig six
Selecting the source for the patch
As the selection is moved to the right you will see that the original marquee of moving ants is still there and you are actually now moving a copy marquee of the same size.
As this copy marquee is moved whatever is under the marquee will now appear in the original area. In this case the blue sky replaces the crane.
Making the selection
When you have found a suitable area just stop holding down the left mouse button and the new selection has now replaced what was originally there, in our case blue sky instead of crane.
The copy marquee will disappear and the original marquee of marching ants will still be there which tells you this area is still selected and still active.
While it is still active and selected you can edit this selection without it changing anything outside the selected area.
Sometimes you might need to lighten or darken the new patched area to make it blend in more in this case I didn’t need to because the colour of the sky was pretty uniform.
Once you are satisfied with the patch just click outside the marquee and the area will be unselected but remember any changes that you make now will affect the whole photograph not just the new patched area.
The patch tool is so cool because it feathers the patch so that it blends in without leaving any sharp lines where it is patched onto the original. Don't you just love digital editing :)
Fig seven is the finished result, which I think you will agree looks much nicer without the crane.
I hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial if you have any questions or don’t understand something please contact me and let me know what the problem is.
To view full size
Just click on the image if you want to see it full sized.