Combined Use of a Selection and the Clone Stamp

The image on the right (figure 4-68) was affected by dust on the camera's image sensor. The image was a bit overcorrected and displays too much contrast, making it impossible to use the Healing Brush. We solved this problem with the following method:

2. We corrected the image in three small steps: the wall, the window frame, and finally the window itself. We selected the area we wanted to repair and then inverted the selection for the following steps.

3. The selection limits the area the Healing Brush affects. In our example, the parts of the wall outside the selected area are not altered (figure 4-69).

4. The three repair steps described above led to the result in figure 4-70. This isn't perfect, but the dust speck is no longer visible in medium- or large-sized prints.

Limiting correction or other operations using a selection is common practice. Use a soft edge to smooth the transitions between affected areas.

Selections are great for making small corrections, but larger repairs are more controllable if you use adjustment layers and layer masks. This technique is described in section 7.3, page 251.

Figure 4-69: Limiting retouching to a selection

Figure 4-65: Selecting the area to be retouched.

Figure 4-67: Retouched area

Figure 4-68: The offending dust speck
Figure 4-70: Detail of the repaired image
Figure 4-71: To make dust visible you can use a temporary steep curve.

Dust and other specks are often difficult to see until you are holding the finished print in your hand. In order to combat this problem, we create a temporary Curves adjustment layer (described in section 7.3) with a steep middle section (figure 4-71). This produces very high contrast in the midtones, making dust particles easily visible. Once we have repaired the image using the tools described above, we delete the temporary layer to eliminate the (unwanted) contrast increase.

You can also use a local micro-contrast filter, such as the Enhancer [55] (see also page 482) or Uwe Steinmueller's EasyD_Plus_DetailResolver script [67] instead of an adjustment layer. For more information, see our description on page 336.

Figure 4-72: The Actions panel
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