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Using the Clone Stamp

The Clone Stamp Tool is perfect when you need to copy small pieces of a picture and paste them elsewhere. It samples from a chosen point in the image and duplicates the selection, exactly as if you'd made a rubber stamp of it. Figure 21.9 shows the Clone Stamp Tool and its Options bar. Choose a brush shape, blending mode, and opacity as you would with any other tool. When you select a reference point, the Clone Stamp creates a duplicate of the image anywhere you start painting, expanding the duplicated portion of the image as you go. Conceivably, you could reproduce the entire image if you had enough blank canvas.

If you don't choose Aligned, the stamp behaves differently. After you select your reference point and start painting, the duplicate portion of the image expands only while you continue to hold down the mouse button. When you release it and press it again, you start painting another duplicate image from the same reference point.

Figure 21.9 The Clone Stamp Tool's icon looks just like a rubber stamp.

To select a point to clone from, press Option (Mac) or Alt (Windows) while you click the mouse on the spot you want to copy. Then release the key and start stamping by moving the mouse to the new spot and clicking. You can stamp as many times as you want. The crosshairs show the spot you're cloning from and the brush shows where you are stamping (see Figure 21.10).

You can define a pattern or choose an existing one, and stamp it with the Pattern Stamp Tool. To make your own, use the Rectangular Marquee to select a piece of an image to use as a pattern, and select Define Pattern from the Edit menu. Now when you use the Pattern Stamp Tool, if you choose Aligned, the pattern will be tiled as if from the upper-left corner of the document, no matter where you drag. If you uncheck Aligned, the pattern will tile from wherever you start dragging each time.

When you use the Clone Stamp Tool to retouch, always choose a soft-edged brush in a size only slightly larger than the scratch or blemish you're hiding. Retouching is generally easier if you zoom in on the image first.

Figure 21.10 If you move the stamp slightly as you click it, it will smudge, just like a real one. This can be useful.

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