Chapter 6. Retouching
Retouching is the act of slightly altering to repair or improve an image. The term is commonly associated with removing blemishes or smoothing skin in portraits but the same techniques are useful for photographs of all types.
6.1 Cloning and healing
The first retouching step you should take is to repair or remove unwanted elements using the Clone/Heal node. As the name implies, the Clone/Heal node has cloning and healing tools. Cloning and healing are similar tools that are used for copying pixels from one spot in an image to another. The difference between the two tools is that while cloning performs a direct copy, healing uses the tones and detail of the edges around the spot you’re healing to smoothly blend the copied pixels.
Add a Clone/Heal node by left clicking “Composite” on the Nodes Toolbar and then left click “Clone/Heal” in the pop-up menu. Connect it to your graph somewhere after any tone or color correction nodes.
To clone or heal, you must select the Clone/Heal node and then left click the Clone or Heal tools on the Tools Toolbar. You must first select the area you want to copy pixels from by holding Shift and left clicking on the Canvas. A dashed circle will appear to indicate your selection. Now left click on the Canvas to paint just like you did with the Paint Canvas Node in the previous chapter. Instead of painting with a selected color, pixels will be copied from the region you selected.
You can adjust the brush’s Radius, Opacity and Hardness using the Brush dock window on the right. You’ll usually want to keep Opacity at 100 unless you’re working with skin and want the underlying detail to show through. Set Hardness to between 90 and 100 when cloning or else a fade will appear that can cause your image to look fake. Healing is not as sensitive to Hardness but a value of 0 works well when you want to repair a target area while minimizing any affect on surrounding detail.
A clone or heal stroke can be removed using the Pointer tool. Move your cursor over a stroke and the area being copied will be indicated. Left click the stroke to select it and click the X by the dashed selection or hit the Delete key on your keyboard to delete it.