Lightroom Classic: Spot Removal Tool issues

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  • Updated 4 weeks ago
  • (Edited)
Recently, while using the Spot Removal Tool in Lightroom Classic, the tool has been doing weird and annoying things often at the same time.

Problems within Lightroom Classic using SRT:

- Not showing the tool overlay, even when it is set to 'always'
- Having a different size brush to the brush size selected
- Healing/cloning random locations within the image that have not been selected
- Cloning ineffectively in general

Problem solving I have already done with no improvements:

- Updating Lightroom Classic
- Zooming out & in
- Changing the brush size
- Selecting 'Always' for tool overlay
- Selecting between Heal & Clone

The issue seems occurring only with images that have less visually complicated features (skies, lakes, etc) and I wonder if the SRT is overworked in finding a new appropriate selection. Still, this kind of thing has never been a problem previously. The image should not dictate the function of the tool on the image.

Any suggestions? It looks like a bug to me, and I was therefore disappointed to see no improvement after updating.
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Jeremy Knowles

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Posted 3 months ago

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Bill

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"The issue seems occurring only with images that have less visually complicated features (skies, lakes, etc) " 
 
I have several images with either failed pixels or dirt on the sensor. Having no problems fixing them whether in smooth sky areas or areas with more detail. I use both cloning and healing, depending on what needs to be fixed. 
 
Recommend that you post the image so some of us can work on it on our machines. Not the whole image because you should export at full quality. Crop to about 1/4 the area before exporting or smaller if necessary to meet the 2MB upload limit (Adobe, please remove this restriction). Also export in the original format, don't convert it. 

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Robert Somrak, Champion

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If you crop a RAW file to 1/4 its original size and then export as "Original" or "DNG" it will not be smaller because it still exports the full megapixel size file.  This only works on TIFF, JPG etc non-RAW files.
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Bill

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OK, then export as JPEG at full quality after cropping. 
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Robert Somrak, Champion

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A derivative JPG wouldn't help anyone test the problem if the issue is is with the RAW file.  The OP just needs to post a link to the RAW in Dropbox or some other download site.  
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Jeremy Knowles

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Ok folks, I've just uploaded the RAW file in question to Dropbox (here).

I have also never had this issue before on any image up until this past week - with this image attached (today) and a similar image a few days ago. I've only had this version of Lightroom Classic for 4 months after keeping an outdated version of Lightroom 4 going longer than I should have. I've never seen this before with the spot removal tool on either software.

When I try to remove a spot (from dust on the lens) from the image, by moving the curser over the whole spot, a much smaller replacement appears that doesn't cover the whole surface area without any visualisation of the tool overlay. I can't see where it has selected from, and once I move my cursor I then cannot find the selection again. It disappears. Super strange behaviour.
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Bill

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Had no difficulty removing the spots and (probably) some birds with the clone tool. Result attached. 

Using Windows 10 Pro, Lightroom 9.2.1, latest updates applied to both. 
 
I'm assuming that you aren't trying to use both Lightroom 4 and 9 on the same images and that you've upgraded the catalog to V9. 

(Edited)
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Jeremy Knowles

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Interesting....

Other images from the same morning are no problem to edit - spot tool working as normal. I'm also working on a 2019 Mackbook Pro using newly updated Lightroom Classic. Not sure what to do now?

Seems like a bug.
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Jeremy Knowles

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Ok, I've just made an interesting discovery. I checked other images of this same scene to see if the image is the problem. Straight away I am able to using the spot tool as normal, which is weird.

However, once I use 'Lens Corrections' then the tool starts to behave strangely. I checked it on a couple other images from that scene of the water and the same results happen each time. Lens corrections seem to affect the tool and make it hard to allocate new selections. At least that's what I am seeing.

And also, yes to all the above (re only using Lightroom Classic and updating the catalog).
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Robert Somrak, Champion

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Jeremy,

I forgot to say earlier you need to upload the XMP sidecar file obtained by selecting the NEF and doing Command-S so we are trying to do Spot Removal on the NEF using your edits.  
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Bill

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Nikon D300S NEF that has been previously converted to DNG but otherwise unedited. Switched to Manual in Lens Corrections and added -66 distortion. Still no problem with neither Clone nor Heal. 
 
Repeated with a Fuji XT3 RAF (raw) and again, no problems with neither Clone nor Heal. 
Repeated with Olympus EM1 raw, same results. 
Repeated with Nikon E8400 NEF, same results. 
Repeated with Nikon D80 NEF, same results. 
 
I've heard that if one pats the top of their head while spinning around in a circle that these gremlins depart. It also helps to have had a few single malt doubles. 
  
 
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Carlos Cardona

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My experience is the same as Bill's, no problems with small fixes, heck, I've even removed boats and people in LR. A teacher with Chicago Photography Classes recommended ALWAYS going into Photoshop for healing, as it does a much better job, and I bet he's right (but for small stuff LR is OK).

Oh, and Bill forgot the Garlic, that helps, and the Computer Angels on your desk (I have 2)! I'll have to try the scotch! ;-)
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Andy Jones

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With the 9.3 release I think spot removal is suffering a breakdown. Source selection seems to be a coin toss at times, remove a spot from skin might end up using the eyeball as a source or even the crease from a smile. Photo shows an example I had today.
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john beardsworth

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I don't think it has changed in 9.3 - you've just been unlucky with this image - but sometimes it is mystifying why LR chooses a source area so far away and so unsuitable.
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Robert Somrak, Champion

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That is a very poor Auto Selection.  Hit the / key to auto select a new source to see how many times it takes for Lr to get it right.
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Andy Jones

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Maybe try with some face retouching and see how you get on then, that's certainly where most people are running into issues.
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Andy Jones

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Here's 4 more examples, all from the same image and all the first choice LR makes for the source.
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Bill

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Still no problem. I don't disagree that it sometimes chooses a poor source but to claim that the current update made it worse is simply not supported with evidence. I worked on images from several different cameras as well as scanned negatives. These had been previously edited so I could compare.
  • created a virtual copy of the unedited image
  • spot removal on the virtual image
  • compared the original with spot removal with a previous version of Lightroom to the edited virtual copy
  • no difference 
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Andy Jones

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I tested the same way, that last image I posted was from an edit I previously did and didn't encounter any issues originally but now LR is being hopeless. I'm just about to try in Camera Raw. Also are you running Windows or Mac?
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Bill

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I'm on Windows. Sure seem to be a lot more problems with Mac users but maybe more folks on this forum us Macs. Wait until Apple switches to arm chips and Lightroom has to emulate Intel chips. Gonna be mucho fun.