How Do You Remove a Smudge in a Picture in Adobe Photoshop?

By Nicole Hamilton

Viewing full resolution digital pictures on a computer screen often reveals imperfections that were not visible on the camera's tiny display. You may take a photo only to find that a fingerprint on the camera lens caused an unwelcome smudge right in the middle. Fortunately, Photoshop supplies the necessary tools for repairing image flaws. Learning to use the healing brush, spot healing brush and clone stamp tool will give you the ability to remove smudges, spots and blemishes.

Step 1

Launch Adobe Photoshop and open the file you want to edit.

Step 2

Make a copy of the layer with the smudge. Click "Layer" and select "Duplicate Layer."

Step 3

Click on the new layer.

Step 4

Select the "Zoom" tool from the "Tools palette" and click on the area containing the smudge. The Zoom tool icon looks like a magnifying glass and is the fourth tool in the last group of tools in the palette. Zoom in until you have a close-up view of the image defect and surrounding area.

Step 5

Select the "Spot Healing Brush" from the Tools Palette. It's the first tool in the second group of tools and the icon resembles a bandage covering a dotted line.

Step 6

Set the properties for the Spot Healing Brush in the Options bar. First, select a brush size based on the spot you need to correct. Choose the pixel size for the brush by adjusting the slider. If the smudge is small, select a brush size that covers the imperfection. Set the brush hardness to 50 percent or less. Select the "Content-aware" option.

Step 7

Click and paint over the smudge with the Spot Healing Brush. After releasing the mouse, Photoshop will blend the area using information based on the rest of the image. Repeat this step if necessary.

Step 8

Select the Healing Brush or Clone Stamp tool from the Tools palette. The Healing Brush automatically blends the color and texture with the image, while the clone stamp merely copies it, so the tools produce slightly different effects. A bandage icon represents the Healing Brush. Look for it under the Spot Healing Brush in the palette. The Clone Stamp icon resembles a rubber stamp and is the third tool in the second group of tools.

Step 9

Choose the pixel size for the brush and adjust brush hardness to less than 50 percent.

Step 10

Hold down the Alt key and right click the image near the area you want to correct. This defines a source point for the tool.

Step 11

Use the Healing Brush or Clone Stamp to continue to correct the area. Click and drag to paint using the color and texture from the source point you defined.

Step 12

Alternate between the tools and continue painting until you achieve the desired result.

Tips & Warnings

  • Select "Aligned" in the Healing Brush and Clone Stamp options bar to keep the source point aligned with the location you're painting. If you deselect "Aligned," the tool will continually sample from the first area chosen.
  • To undo any changes select "Edit" then click "Undo." You can also press "Ctrl+Z" or go back in the document history and select an earlier state.
  • Save your work periodically by pressing "Ctrl+S" or selecting "File," then "Save."
  • Adobe introduced the content-aware setting for the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop CS5.