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Tips & Tricks

How To Use The Amazing Patch Tool In Photoshop | Aaron Nace

By Kishore Sawh on October 19th 2014


The Patch Tool in Photoshop is one of the most versatile, and widely applicable tools in the Photoshop arsenal. It is so easy to implement in almost any type of photography retouching. Speaking from a personal perspective, it is probably the tool I use most aside from the all-encompassing Brush Tool. The ease and speed at which image subjects and backgrounds can be cleaned up using the Patch Tool is beyond anything I can think of in another application.

In this short Phlearn video, Aaron Nace takes the time to explain most of what there is to using the Patch Tool, where its limitations lay, and how to adjust its settings for the right type of environment and results.


What the Patch Tool essentially does is allow a particular, free form selection of an image, to be taken and dragged into another location in the image. That selection is then sort of blended in with the surroundings, edges softened and all, to give a very close texture match to the surroundings. The applications for this are rather obvious, as it lets you add or remove or duplicate portions of the image with speed, and even do it between photos.

[REWIND: A Career’s Worth Of Wisdom On Retouch, In A Minute | Russell James]


I photograph people and aviation primarily. Within these two fields, the patch tool is irreplaceable. For aviation, I often use it to clean up skies, airfields, and even tone/texture match parts of the aircraft, which for example, may be blown out highlights or oil stains on the body.

For portraits etc, the Patch Tool comes in handy almost everywhere. I use it to clean up uneven or blemished backgrounds, and of course, on skin. In fact, it’s no secret that using frequency separation is a primary method I use to retouch skin, and I actually use the patch tool within the ‘High’ and ‘Low’ layers to help even out tone and texture.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Matthew Riley

    Thanks for the tutorial. This site is so helpful for starting photographers.

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  2. Dre Rolle

    That guys should have his own TV show. Always a pleasure to watch.

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  3. Christopher Fuller

    another really good video! Aaron is a beast and makes it seem simple!

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  4. Derek Grant

    This is great, I never even knew this patch tool existed, I have done some practice and I love it ! – great tutorial.

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  5. Cortez Vernon

    awesome demonstration as always from the guys at Phlearn

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  6. Edward Wileczek

    Good demonstration, looks easy to use,can’t wait to try.

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  7. Zeb Yap-Chung

    love phlearn

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  8. Brian Stalter

    Patch tool is one of those options that is great when it works good, but can be frustrating if there is too much detail that needs to match up.

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  9. Brandon Dewey

    Once again another great PS video, thanks for sharing.

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