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The Photoshop Spot Remover

How to get out the blemish while maintaining detail By Dave Nagel
There are times when you need to eliminate discoloration (blemishes, spots, stains, etc.) on your subject while maintaining detail. The Healing Brush in Adobe Photoshop 7 can help with this, but it's not the best solution in most cases, since it can insert fake details into the corrected area and therefore produce sloppy results. Here's an alternative to the Healing Brush that can be much more effective at both maintaining detail and eliminating spots.

Now, before I get started, I should note that the very best tool I've encountered for this process is one called Spot Lifter, a part of the Image Doctor filter collection from Alien Skin. It's more versatile than this method and can produce better results in some situations. But, if you can't justify the expense at this point, the method we'll explore today can give you excellent results using just the tools built into Photoshop--no additional capital outlay required.

For this tutorial, I'm going to use this technique to eliminate freckles from a face that has a lot of texture to it. I have nothing against freckles, mind you. This is just a good, difficult subject that allows me to demonstrate the technique without staring at a face full of actually hideous blemishes all day. This method will also work with acne, liver spots and other small to medium-sized blemishes. And the key is that while you lose the spots, you get to keep all (or at least most) of the original texture.

Begin by opening your image and selecting the area you want to correct. Do not apply this technique to your entire subject all at once, or you'll get awful results. The same goes for selecting large areas of your image. Try to keep things confined roughly to an area of 250 x 250 pixels at the very largest. And, if you're dealing with widely varying blemishes, try selecting just a few at a time.




Now feather your selection by about 5 pixels. Anything more, and you'll likely need to do some cleanup at the end.



With your selection made and your Background layer active, type Command-J (Macintosh) or Control-J (Windows) to create a new layer via copy. Do this twice so that you wind up with two new layers containing your selection.




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