Using the history brush tool to selectively reedit

Even with the best tools, retouching photographs so that they look completely natural is an art and requires some practice. Examine your rock-climber image critically to see if any areas of your work with the healing brush or patch tools are now too uniform or smooth so that the area no longer looks realistic. You'll correct that now with another tool.

The history brush tool is similar to the clone stamp tool. The difference between them is that instead of using a defined area of the image as the source (as the clone stamp tool does), the history brush tool uses a previous state as the source.

The advantage of the history brush tool is that you can restore limited areas of the image. Because of this, you can keep the successful retouching effects you've made to some areas of the image and restore other, less successfully retouched areas to their previous state so that you can make a second attempt.

1 In the toolbox, select the history brush tool ( '■>').

2 Scroll to the top of the History palette and click the empty box next to the Post-graffiti snapshot to set the source state that the history brush tool will use to paint.

3 Drag the history brush tool over the area where the bullet holes appeared before you edited them to start restoring that part of the image to previous condition. The bullet holes reappear as you paint.

4 Using the tool options bar, experiment with the different settings for the history brush tool, such as Opacity and Mode. Notice how these affect the appearance of the rock as you paint.

If you don't like the results of an experiment, choose Edit > Undo, or click a previous step at the bottom of the History palette to revert to that state.

5 Continue working with the history brush and patch tools until you are satisfied with the final appearance of your image.

6 Choose File > Save.

You've finished your work on this image.

7 Choose File > Close to close the file.

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