How to Use The Clone Tool in Adobe Photoshop

By David Weedmark

The Clone Stamp Tool in Adobe Photoshop CC is used for cloning one area of a photo and copying it somewhere else. Understanding this tool's abilities and versatility gives you several ways to transpose an object from one layer to another, create patterns from those objects and even rotate or change the shape of objects while cloning them.

Step 1

Open an image in Photoshop CC. In the Layers panel, drag the "Background" layer onto the "New Layer" button. This allows you to make changes to the image non-destructively.

Step 2

Zoom into the area you want to remove, copy or otherwise change. Select the "Clone Stamp Tool" in the Toolbox.

Step 3

Adjust the brush size and harness by clicking the "Brush Preset Picker" in the Options bar. The brush presets, as well as the opacity, flow and other settings in the Options bar work the same as for other brush tools. For example, you can choose additional brush tips from the Brush Preset Picker.

Step 4

Hold down the "Alt" key and click a spot that you want to clone. Drag the Clone Stamp Tool over another area of the photo to copy the area you cloned over the photo. Note that the spot that you Alt-clicked is just the starting point of the area that's cloned. Make sure the Aligned box in the Options bar is checked, so you can use multiple brush strokes from the same sample source. If the Aligned box isn't checked, you'll need to select a new sample to clone each time you release the mouse button.To remove a building from a photo, for example, clone an area of the sky and then drag the tool over the building. If you clone the building, you can create a duplicate by dragging the tool over the sky.

Step 5

Clone only a specific portion of the photo by using a new layer. Use the Lasso Tool, Quick Selection Tool or the Magic Wand Tool to select an area of the photo. Press "Ctrl-C" to copy the selection and "Ctrl-V" to paste that selection into a new layer. Alt-click a spot in the new layer and then select the layer that you want cloned. As you drag the Clone Stamp Tool over the image, only the details you copied to the new layer are copied onto the photo. Note that the layer you clone from must be a visible area. If the "Eye" icon isn't beside the layer's title in the Layer's panel, you won't be able to clone it.

Step 6

Click the "Window" menu and select "Clone Source." This opens the Clone Source panel, which has advanced options. Use the Offset options to rotate or change the size of the area you are cloning when copied to the photo. For example, rotating the clone source by 180 degrees makes the cloned image appear upside-down. At the top of the Clone Source Panel are five icons which let you save different clone samples. Just click on a new icon before Alt-clicking an area in the photo. Click on any previously used icon to use that clone source without having to take another sample.

Step 7

Select the Healing Brush Tool from the Toolbox to touch up any areas of the photo as needed after using the Clone Stamp Tool. When the Clone Source panel is open, you can use any area you previously cloned as the sample area for the Healing Brush Tool.

Tips & Warnings

  • To select a specific area in an image that isn't easily captured with a mouse click, hold down the "Alt" and "Shift" keys while pressing an Arrow key to nudge the sample area being cloned.