Cleaning up a beaten up Face in Photoshop


Has anyone ever asked you to edit a photo of them with cuts and bruises on their face because they like the way they look, and they want to use it for a formal picture? No. Of course not.  Photos like that are best hidden far away or burnt. However, by working on a badly bruised and scratched up face, you will undoubtedly be able to remove a pimple or wrinkle or cover a black eye on a photograph with ease.

When “cleaning up” photographs I usually follow 4 steps:

  1. Remove stuff that can be removed
  2. Cover up stuff that can’t be easily removed
  3. Use the Liquify filter
  4. Work on small details and Finalize

This article explains how to use the content aware tool to remove stuff and the healing brush tool to cover stuff up.  My next article will go into using the liquify filter.  The photo used in this example is meant to be used for a domestic violence advertisement and I think it works as an excellent example of how to use these tools.

Removing Stuff:

  1. Open the image in Photoshop.
  2. Click on the Content Aware Tool on the tool bar.
  3. Select the object to be removed. (See video below)
  4. Press Shift + F5 or Edit/Fill
  5. Be sure Content Aware is in the Contents field.
  6. Click OK or Press Enter.
  7. Control + D removes the marching ants.
Content Aware Tool

Covering up Stuff

The Healing Brush Tool works much like the Clone Stamp Tool.

  1. Select the Healing Brush Tool and adjust to brush size and hardness as desired.
  2. Choose the area you want to copy and click + Alt to select that area.
  3. Go to the area that needs the healing, click and drag around a small area.  If you make a mistake, just press Ctrl + Z to undo. 

Remember: the newest version of Photoshop allows for multiple undos whereas the old versions only allowed for one so don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Healing Brush Tool

You can download this image here. Try and get the remaining scars and bruises off yourself…. around the lips is a little challenging.

Here is a nifty chart showing all the tools on the Photoshop toolbar:

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