Photoshop: How to stop unintentional copying when using Clone stamp tool?

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  • Updated 7 months ago
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Hi to all,

I’m quite new at Photoshop and often when I am using the clone stamp tool it is replicating an area from the photo which I’m not wanting to be replicated.
For example, just say I wanted to put a piece of jacket elsewhere it might also bring over the person’s face or smile etc but I don’t
want it there (I hope that makes sense).

Is there any way to stop this happening?
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Posted 7 months ago

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Keith Anderson

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I think there is no clever tool or trick, just skill. 

It is important to remember the aligned option in the panel at the top of the page.  Many tools similar to the clone stamp have this option.  I normally work with a tick in this box so the stamp works aligned.  This works well for cloning and many other copy or copy-like uses.  As you copy, you can see a small cross showing the pixels the stamp is using for the copy.  Hmmm...  I think the cross appears when you start but then disappears.  Don't panic if it isn't always conspicuous.

But as you have noticed, the clone stamp sometimes copies pixels you don't want to be copied.  Depending upon what you are doing, it might be useful to click the aligned box so it is blank.  In this mode, each fresh copy starts at the pixels most recently selected explicitly.  This is not fail safe.  If you click and drag to copy more than one brush load of pixels, you'll still copy adjacent pixels.  You need to copy a bit, release the mouse button, copy a bit more, etc to keep resetting the source to its initial position.  That sounds complicated, but is usually natural and easy.

It also helps to plan what pixels to select.  It is natural to start in the middle, but often, you'll encounter the problem less often if you start at an edge and work left to right or right to left or top to bottom or bottom to top.

The clone stamp works well when the source area is bigger than the destination area.  It gets tedious when you have a small area of suitable pixels from which you want to paint a larger area. 

It is possible that using one of the selection tool, such as the lasso to select the area to be filled with new pixels might be useful, but this is getting a bit complicated and might be the opposite of what you want to do.  Making a selection limits the pixels that can be written, but doesn't limit what will be read. 

Good luck.

Photo of TangCanada


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Make your brush smaller to exclude the outer edges in the sampled area... the bigger the brush means it will sample a bigger area to clone.
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Yves Crausaz

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And ctrl+Z ou cmd+Z to abolish brushstrokes

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eartho, Champion

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Photoshop only does what you tell it to do... if you need a smaller sampling area, then use a brush size which is scaled to the size you need.
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Keith Anderson

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I think one of many problems beginners have is that each tool has umpteen options and lots of behaviours that might be well known to champions but that invite "why did it do that" questions from beginners.  It is highly unlikely that any beginner would use a brush too big.  The problem is almost certainly something else the clone stamp is doing.  I guessed the behaviour of the Aligned option, but it might be something else.  Help is spectacularly unhelpful and possibly deliberately so, so training courses are almost mandatory.  I discover many features by stumbling over them accidentally when I don't want Pshop to do that, then struggle to remember what I did when I encounter a need to do that.