Basic Photo Restoration

Part 2: Using the clone tool

By George McBride


   In this tutorial, we will learn to use the clone tool to fix a photograph that has water spotting and pencil marks on it.

   The clone tool works by taking an area of the photo that you select as the source and copying the pixel information to another area of the photo you select by clicking with the mouse. In Photoshop, the source is selected by first choosing the clone tool from the tool pallet, then find the area very close to where the damage is and holding down the “alt” key and left click the mouse. Move your cursor over the area to be cloned and click or click and drag to cover the damaged area. In this example I have left the background in so just ignore everything outside the two boys.


   It's a good idea to use a brush large enough to cover the damaged area and no larger. Using too large a brush will result in making the repair stand out. We want to make the repair unnoticeable. Keep going down the pencil mark remembering to set a new source each time you move the clone tool. This will make the repair look more natural. Continue removing the marks and spots using this method until you are satisfied with your results. Remember to save your work every few minutes so that nothing will be lost.


   As you can see, the marks and spots on this boys face have been removed and the photo still looks natural. Keep applying the clone tool to all the damaged areas of the photo. The clone brush size may be made larger or smaller to suit where you are working and the size of the damaged area. To do this just go to your brush pallet and pick a size that you think will work. Don't be afraid to experiment with the settings and sizes. If you make a mistake or the clone just doesn't look right to you, simply undo what you did and try again.

   Here is the completed repair of the two boys.

   After you are done with all your repairs, we can once again put the boys on the new background we prepared in the last tutorial.

   The last step in this job is to decide what you want the final crop area to be. Simply select the area that looks good to you and crop.


   The restored photo has been cleaned up; a new background has been added and is now ready for you to print.


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