Photoshop: Dust & Scratches + Healing Brush for mass blemish removal

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I'd like to see a combination of the Dust and Scratches tool and the healing brush.

Before the healing brush, the easy way to get rid of large numbers of similarly-sized blemishes was to use Dust and Scratches and the History brush with 'Lighten' or 'Darken' blending as necessary. For high-resolution images, though, the fill area tends to be too smooth and monotone. If the fill areas could be generated with the Healing Brush algorithm, I think this tool would be much more useful. HB alone takes a lot of time.
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David Alexander

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Posted 5 years ago

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Sef

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David - sounds like that would be a good combo. In the meantime, try some targeted work with Dust & Scratches.

Merge up your file to a pixel layer, and run D&S with settings to just remove the unwanted detail. Mask that layer and paint in areas w/white to remove the unwanted detail, preserving the rest of the image. In the right cases, this will preserve the image quality and work much faster than HB. Use HB on a pixel layer over that as a final pass if needed. Throw a little grain over the top for a unified surface.

Also, I've had good results (on the right kind of image) with a blanket D&S layer over the entire image, not masked, and a high pass layer of the original image on top to bring back detail. Experiment with settings for success.
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David Alexander

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Some good ideas there, though the goal is really to minimize the number of spot mask corrections. HB alone is fairly effective if I have just twenty or thirty blemishes to fix. It gets to be more problematic with larger numbers. One scenario in particular is color speckle noise from long exposures. It's unfeasible to fix manually. D&S does a fair job, but could be better.
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Sef

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Ah gotcha. Yeah, with images containing lots of noise definitely stay away from that high pass technique, it'll just sharpen all of the noise.

BUT you might get away with your original technique if the 'too smooth and monotone' areas are just a result of the grain being eliminated in those areas - by adding grain back in that matches the existing grain. This can be automated pretty easily as well.

Just spitballin' here, hope that helps.