How to Use the Patch Tool in Photoshop
Before and After the Patch
This article is written to help Photoshop users with the Patch Tool. I will use step-by-step instructions so that even a beginner in Photoshop can follow along. I hope that you will enjoy learning how to use this fascinating tool.
If you have any questions after reading this article, please ask them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them as soon as possible.
Open Image in Photoshop
First, open up the program.
Click on File and you will get a drop-down menu. The second item down is Open. Click on this to open the image that you want to use the Patch Tool on.
Unfortunately, I can't show you the drop-down menu because I can't capture it.
An Unwanted Crane in the Photograph
I am using a photograph of the seafront in Villajoyosa taken from a boat just off shore.
It is a very nice photograph, but a huge crane dominates the skyline and spoils the picture. This image would definitely look better if the big crane was removed and the skyline was clear.
I feel this image will demonstrate just how useful this wonderful tool is when it comes to removing unwanted items from our photographs.
The Patch Tool
The Patch Tool is found on the left-hand side in the tool bar. It is the seventh icon down.
Right-click on it and you will get a drop-down menu, which has four tool options.
The Patch Tool is the third tool down. The icon looks like a small patch. Don't worry if you can't see it in your tool bar. You will see it in the drop-down menu when you right-click on the icon.
Select the Patch Tool
Right-click the Patch Tool to select it. The drop-down menu will disappear and the icon will now be showing in the top left-hand corner with the options available.
Click on the little circle by Source. A little green dot should appear in the center of the circle to show that it has been selected.
It is important that you have Source selected and not Destination. We would be adding another crane to the skyline instead of removing one.
Selecting the Area That You Want Patched
What we need to do now is select the area that you want patched. We do this by drawing around the area that we want to replace by the patch. This works similarly to the Lasso Tool if you are familiar with that.
When the tool is selected, the cursor turns into a patch. Place the cursor where you want to start drawing. Hold down the left button on your mouse until you have completed the selection.
It is important that your first point and your last point meet so that your selection is fully enclosed.
When you have closed your selection, you will get the outline that you see in the image above. If you don’t see it, then you have not closed your selection properly.
Moving the Selection
You can see that I have selected the crane and I am ready to move my selection to the right into a clear area of blue sky.
Check before you move the selection that you have Source selected and not Destination.
Placing your cursor inside the area that you have selected, hold down the left button of the mouse and move the selection by just dragging it to the area that you want. In this case, it is to the nearest piece of blue sky.
Selecting the Source for the Patch
As the selection is moved to the right, you will see that the original outline is still there. You are actually now moving a copy of the same size.
As this copy is moved, whatever is under it will now appear in the original area. In this case, the blue sky replaces the crane.
Making the Selection
When you have found a suitable area, the new selection has now replaced what was originally there. We now have blue sky instead of a crane.
The copy will disappear and the original outline will still be there. This tells you this area is still selected and active. You can edit this selection without changing anything outside the selected area.
Sometimes you might need to lighten or darken the new patched area to make it blend in more. In this case, I didn’t need to because the colour of the sky was pretty uniform.
Once you are satisfied with the patch, just click outside the outline and the area will be unselected. Remember, any changes that you make will now affect the whole photograph, not just the new patched area.
The Patch Tool is so cool because it blends the patch in without leaving any sharp lines onto the original. Don't you just love digital editing?
The photo above is the finished result. I think you will agree that it looks much nicer without the crane.
I hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions or don’t understand something, please contact me and let me know what the problem is.