Cloning & healing improvements in CS3

Over on, Martin Evening provides a nice overview of the Photoshop CS3 beta’s new Clone Source palette.  In a nutshell, you can now clone and heal more precisely by using a translucent overlay of your source pixels–either temporarily (hold down Opt/Alt+Shift after setting your source) or persistently (via the "Show Overlay" option on the palette).  Building on what Martin wrote, here are some useful keyboard shortcuts:

  • Opt/Alt + Shift temporarily shows the clone overlay, plus it lets you drag it around and ‘tack’ it down at the desired location.
  • Opt/Alt + Shift + the arrow keys nudges the overlay up, down and side to side.
  • Opt/Alt + Shift + [ or ] rotate the source
  • Opt/Alt + Shift + < or > scale the source

Also, to adjust rotation, position, or scale, you can also use "scrubby sliders": hover over the label on each field (H, W, etc.), then drag left or right.   As with all scrubby sliders, holding Opt/Alt while dragging will make the values change 10X slower, and holding Shift will make them change 10X faster.

On a related note, retouchers will be happy to learn that it’s now possible to have cloning/healing ignore adjustment layers.  Let’s say in CS2 you had an image on the background layer, then added a layer above it to do some cloning (so as not to affect the original pixels), and above that you put a Hue/Saturation layer.  If you used the clone tool set to sample all layers & didn’t turn off the Hue/Sat layer, the results would be screwy, as Hue/Sat would be double-applied.  Now via a couple of new options (screenshot), you can elect to make cloning/healing ignore adjustment layers, and/or ignore all layers above the current one.  It’s a really tweaky little change, but it’s one that’s been requested for ages.

0 thoughts on “Cloning & healing improvements in CS3

  1. I love the improvements to this feature. After 12+ years of getting used to visualizing the source point in my head, the overlay is surprisingly welcome! I am also very happy for the ‘use current layer’ function. Now if I could just figure out how to ‘flip’ the source image horizontally or vertically…
    I want to thank you for the work you are doing. The blog has really been valuable and made me even more vested in the tools that are my life’s blood.

  2. I just want to add my thanks to the Photoshop team for the new features, particularly the “Current & Below” option.
    I know this isn’t really the spot for feature requests, but there’s a highly related “tweaky change” I’ve long been missing: during foreground colour selection (by alt/option-clicking on the image) when using the Brush Tool.
    I use small, detailed brush painting (generally on a blank layer directly above the main) almost as often as clone stamping, and I have to temporarily turn off adjustment layers above for the very same reason.
    The obstacles would seem to be a lack of logical UI position for a Current & Below option in the Brush Tool (unless it could be added just as in the Clone Stamp), and a shortage of available modifier keys. Any thoughts?
    [Interesting question, Ben. I suppose a similar option could be added for the eyedropper tool. Funny that this hasn’t come up before (or maybe it has & I’ve forgotten). –J.]

  3. Actually, John, that’s exactly it, since holding alt in the Brush Tool is really just temporarily selecting the Eyedropper Tool (I forget, because I always have the Precise cursors preference on).
    So it’s the Eyedropper that wants a new “Current & Below” drop down. It should be persistent, just like the 1×1, 3×3, 5×5, etc Sample Size is.
    Any chance of such a thing being actually realised in CS3?
    [Ah, I can’t imagine that time will permit it, but I’ll pass along the request to the guy who could make such a thing happen. Thanks for bringing up the idea. –J.]

  4. Double-clicking when I am Alt-clicking will turn “Aligned” on when I have it off. I do this all the time by mistake (I use a Wacom). This is rather annoying since it makes a mess if you think you have it off when it’s on. I want it to be off (not aligned) and stay off. There is also no way to turn it off again except by clicking in the checkbox. Is this feature ment to work this way? To me it makes no sence that i works only one way. I hope you can even take this hidden confusing feature out.
    Further I must say I love the new cloning features (and all other features)!

  5. For those of you wondering how to make the Clone Source flip vertically or horizontally, simply put a negative value in the width or height box inside the Clone Source Palette.
    i.e.- “-100%” in the height box will flip the source vertically.
    [True dat. We need to remember to add little “Flip” checkboxes in CS4. –J.]

  6. I just wanted to second Ben Richardson’s request for an “ignore adjustment layers” function for brushing/eyedropper. I was delighted to find this functionality is CS3’s clone tool, and found this page while trying to Google a way to do the same thing with the brush tool.

  7. What I’d really like (AFAIK is not possible) is to clone in “brush-sized” overlay so to speak — as in Vanishing Point, where you see just the piece or image you’re goint to clone. I would love to have this feature in tje “regular” cloning mode. Sometimes I end up using vanishing point not because I want to clone in perspective, but because I want to take advantage of such a handy feature…
    [I hear you! Keep your fingers crossed. –J.]

  8. I’m a digital illustrator and also would love to see some sort of option of ‘current layer and below’ added to the brush tool in subsequent versions of PS. Often I’m trying to pick a color underneath a layer of particular adjustment or type and the color laid down upon that layer is influenced by the entire image. I’d kill to have the clone stamp’s option added to the brush’s eyedropper. I realize this posting is quite old, but if anyone has any information on further additions to CS3 or beyond for this purpose I’d love to know.

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