Cloning and Healing with the Wacom Graphics Tablet

July 29, 2013 | Jon Canfield | Photography Techniques | Comment |

To get started with editing, open any image you want to make corrections to.

In this particular image, I have a couple of things I want to work on.

First, there are dust spots that can be seen in the sky.

For this type of work, the healing tool is ideal as it blends color and texture to make a match and gives a more natural look.

I also want to remove the telephone line and poles, and for this I’ll be using the clone tool (Figure 3). I’ve circled the problem areas to make them easier to see here.

With the touch ring on the Wacom tablet, I’ll first choose the brush size option. Rather than having to go to the keyboard and use the [ or ] keys to change size, or go to the tool options to change sizes, I now have the ability to adjust my brush as I paint. Combined with the pressure sensitive stylus, this gives me much finer control over my brush strokes, and reduces the amount of time I spend making these edits (Figure 4).

Cloning and Healing with the Wacom TabletFigure 3

Cloning and Healing with the Wacom TabletFigure 4

To remove the telephone pole and lines, I switch over to the Clone tool (S on the keyboard for Photoshop users). Because cloning needs a source to copy from, I’d normally need to use the Alt/Option key and click to select a source. With the Wacom tablet, there is a dedicated button for this. I start by selecting the source area that matches what is around the area I want to remove and then painting over the line and pole.

Cloning and Healing with the Wacom TabletFigure 5

In order to avoid repeating patterns and keep the adjustment looking natural, you’ll want  to resample, or select a new source, frequently. Again, having a button on the tablet makes it easier to do this.

I also find that it helps to zoom in while doing fine adjustments, and for checking the image for smaller dust spots that I may have missed earlier. Typically, I’d hold down the space bar on my keyboard while clicking and dragging (this lets you keep the current tool selected). You’ll find a button on the Wacom just for this.

In the next technique article, I’ll cover using the Wacom tablet to make selections - one of the basic skills you use regularly in Photoshop.

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