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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >

Clone Stamp Tool >

2 - Advanced

Here are some ways you can improve your retouching with the Clone Stamp tool.

Sample Another Photograph

The sampled area can be from another photograph, not from the photograph on which you're working.

For example, you could sample the open eyes of Aunt Tilda in photograph A, and paste them over her closed eyes in photograph B.

Sampling Isn't Sampling

If you haven't already done so, go to Sampling Isn't Sampling.

Change the Mode

Change the blending mode, in options bar/Tool Options, if the imperfection is lighter or darker than the area surrounding the imperfection.

Look for the Mode box in options bar/Tool Options.

If the imperfections are lighter than the surrounding area, set the Mode to Darken.

The Clone Stamp tool will now only affect pixels lighter than the surrounding area.

If the imperfections are darker than the surrounding area, set the Mode to Lighten.

The Clone Stamp tool will now only affect pixels darker than the surrounding area.

Go to Lighten & Darken Blending Modes.

Blue Masking Tape

If you're retouching near an area that doesn't need retouching, you can use a selection to limit the retouching.

This is like using blue masking tape when painting a window.

Do the following.

1) Use a selection tool to select the area that you don't want to retouch.


2) Go to Select > Inverse.

The marching ants:

• Are still on the tree.

• Are now running along the edges of the photograph.

Everything is selected except the box on the tree.

If you haven't already done so, go to Flip the Selection.


The Clone Stamp tool brush will now only work in the selected area, the area outside the box on the tree.


Clone Overlay

When using the Clone Overlay feature, the sampled area appears inside the brush.


Click the icon in Tool Options.


Select Show Overlay in the menu.



You can change the opacity of the overlay.


To see the overlay only within the circle of your brush, select Clipped.

Auto Hide

If the overlay is distracting while cloning, select Auto Hide.

The overlay is displayed when the mouse button is released.

When cloning, the overlay is hidden.


Invert reverses the overlay.