Goop, Sludge, Schmutz

There are several names for the problem. What I'm talking about are physical blemishes attached to the photo that could have/should have been wiped off before scanning. This problem is often caused by food or environmental debris. If the photo is still in your possession, gently clean it and rescan.

If all you have is the scan, then use the Patch tool. Set the Patch tool to Source Mode and lasso around the problem spot (feather edges for a softer transition). Drag the selection to a clear area of similar texture (using the key to constrain movement to a straight line, if desired). If you want perfection, touch up with the Blur and Smudge tools. Problem solved.

For little blemishes, use the Smudge tool. If you have dark spots on a lighter background, smudge in the Lighten mode. For light spots on a dark background, smudge in the Darken mode. Because you are outputting to such a lo-res medium, these touchups are virtually unnoticeable, and they are fast. The key again is to "follow the line."

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