Photoshop Clone Stamp

The Clone Stamp can produce predictable and accurate results with just a little practice. It works by sampling pixels from one area of an image and painting them in another.

This technique goes beyond copy and paste, however, because it uses the flexibility of Photoshop’s Brush palette. This allows you to adjust the size and hardness of the brush as well as the opacity of the stroke.

  1. Select the Clone Stamp tool by pressing S.
  2. Select a brush from the Options bar or Brushes panel.
  3. Specify the tool alignment in the Options bar. If Aligned is selected, the sample point and painting point move parallel as you brush. If you click again and start over, the sample point picks up relative to the current brush position. If Aligned is deselected, the initial sample point is re-used. The second method ensures that you are always sampling from the same area but the first produces more visual variety if using a large textured area.
  4. Option+click (Alt+click) within the current document, or another open document (set to the same color mode). This defines the source point for sampled pixel data.
  5. Click and start to paint as if you were using the Brush Tool (you are essentially sampling pixels from one area and painting them into another). The sampled pixels are drawn from before you click. Therefore, it may be necessary to release and start over occasionally to avoid cloning the problem area. If using Photoshop CS4 or later, you’ll also see a preview of the pixels you are painting.

Performance Tips

  • Try cloning at a lower opacity from several different places to fill in a problem area. This way you can avoid too much repetition in the pattern.
  • Try to “follow the line” by looking for edges to follow in the image. Straight lines such as creases in clothing are easier to follow than random spots. Look to follow the natural curves and linear paths that are present.
  • You can clone from all visible layers by specifying Use All Layers. This is useful if you want to clone to an empty layer at the top of your document while sampling from the layers below.