How to Use the Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool

Retouch photos in Photoshop in a way that no one will notice

The Photoshop Clone Stamp tool allows you to copy one area of an image onto another area of an image. Photographers and designers use the Clone Stamp tool to remove unwanted elements from a photograph. For example, it can be used to cover blemishes on people's faces (by copying from another part of skin) or removing trees from a mountain view (by copying parts of the sky over them).

Instructions in this article apply to Photoshop CC 2019 for Windows and Mac.

What Does the Clone Stamp Tool Do?

If you tried to cover up part of an image using the brush tool, the area would be flat, lacking all dimension, tone, and shade. Thus, the painted area would be very noticeable to the viewer. The Clone Stamp tool was developed to allow for more subtle image editing.

Digital photographs are made up of tiny pixels. The Clone Stamp tool is used to copy a group of pixels and paste them over another group of pixels. As a result, the retouched area blends seamlessly with the rest of the image. Other Photoshop tools such as the Pattern Stamp, the Healing Brush, and the Patch tool all derive from the Clone Stamp, so if you know how to use one of them, you can use them all.

How to Use the Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop

To use the tool, click and hold the rubber stamp in the toolbox, and then select Clone Stamp Tool. You can then adjust the brush size and shape, opacity, flow, and blending modes in the tool options bar at the top of the workspace.

click and hold the rubber stamp in the toolbox, and then select Clone Stamp Tool.

If you want to copy an exact area, leave the opacity, flow, and blending mode at their default settings. As you employ the tool more often, you will find yourself adjusting these settings. For example, when retouching a person's face, an opacity of 20 percent or lower will lightly blend the skin to an even tone. You may need to clone it more times, but the effect will be smoother.

By checking the box beside Aligned in the tool options bar, your target will follow the movement of your cursor as you retouch. This is often desirable because it uses multiple points for the target. To make the target remain stationary, uncheck the Aligned box.

You can quickly change the brush size and shape by right-clicking on the image.

How to Retouch Images With the Clone Stamp Tool

With the Clone Stamp tool selected, move your mouse to the area you want to duplicate and Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) the exact spot you want to start copying from. Then, click and drag over the area you want to replace. You will see pixels from the area you previously selected cover the target area.

Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) the exact spot you want to start copying from, then click and drag over the area you want to replace.