The New Photoshop Has 4 Different Healing Brushes. Here’s How To Access Them

Dec 8, 2015

Pratik Naik

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The New Photoshop Has 4 Different Healing Brushes. Here’s How To Access Them

Dec 8, 2015

Pratik Naik

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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Photoshop 2015.1 (released this December), has a surprise and it wasn’t promoted very well. You had to go digging to find it. When I came across it, my eyes lit up.

Here is the link on how to activate them:

Here’s a run down on the differences, using the link above to elaborate on.

Healing Brush #1 – “LegacyHealingBrush161 0”

Photoshop CC 2015 real-time algorithm with real-time user interface feedback
What the heck does this mean?

The first one on our list is the default healing brush that comes with the Photoshop CC2015 before the most recent update this December. When CC2015 was released, it came with a “live” healing brush. Which basically meant that it started healing as you started brushing away your blemish. Even before you told Photoshop what area you wanted to heal completely, it started generating a preview that kept adapting as you kept on brushing. So if you had a large blemish, it would start really smudgy and then be clean once the entire area was selected. The main difference is that before, it would wait to produce the results until you brushed over an entire area. It made more sense this way because the results can be trippy if you are new to it.

It has a steeper learning curve if you have bad habits of not selecting an entire area properly before moving on to the next. But the positive side is that the engine is instant. No more waiting for it to finish. It’s a different engine than the classic healing brush that we’ve always been used to and I personally don’t think the results are as good. The other downside is that after multiple layers, it becomes slow processing all the adjustment layers below it in the preview.

Example of this brush:

YouTube video

Healing Brush #2 – “LegacyHealingBrush161 2”

Photoshop CC 2015 real-time algorithm with no real-time user interface feedback
Say what? What’s this jibberish?

If you like the way the old healing brush works but want it faster, this would be a good solution.

Okay, so hopefully you’ve used, seen, or understood the first one. Now, you’ve probably also used the healing brush in any other version before CC2015 since the inception of the healing brush. What this basically means is that if you like how fast the new healing brush is, but want it to work the same way as the old healing brush in that it waits for you to completely cover the area you are working on before generating the results, you can have both options!

Why? Because it takes the new CC2015 engine in regards to how fast it is, and disables the ability for it to start showing you the results “live” as you kept on brushing. So it acts exactly like all the other healing brushes before it AND the results are instant. The downside is that it still operates on the new healing brush engine so the end result is a little different. Honestly, I don’t think the results are as good but if you have a slow system, it works really quickly and it’s good enough for areas that aren’t incredibly complex.

Healing Brush #3 – “LegacyHealingBrush161 1”

Photoshop CC 2014 and earlier healing brush algorithm (i.e. Legacy), non-realtime user interface feedback

Lega-what?!

Okay, so this is just the healing brush as it’s always worked! Basically turn off all the fancy new options and make it work how you’ve wanted it to all along. Done!

Healing Brush #4 – 2015.1 Standard Healing Brush

The fourth healing brush is the one that just comes with the CC 2015.1 update. It’s basically an evolution of healing brush #1 with a feature that lets you define it called “diffusion”

Here is how Adobe explains it.

So you have a setting from 1 to 7. This diffusion slider lets you tell the healing brush how to blend with the surrounding pixels.

From experience, setting 4 and 5 work to blend like the old healing brush. So you can get the speed of the “live healing brush” with the accuracy of the healing brush as it’s always worked!

The downside is that, like any live healing brush, it starts healing right away so you have to be sure you select the entire blemish completely or you will definitely notice a smudgy area if you’re not careful. But it improved the “all or nothing” issue the live healing brush had.

About The Author

Pratik Naik is a high end retoucher, photographer, and retouching teacher under his Solstice Retouch brand. You can catch Pratik on social media on his Instagramtumblrtwitter and facebook. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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2 responses to “The New Photoshop Has 4 Different Healing Brushes. Here’s How To Access Them”

  1. Adam Frimer Avatar
    Adam Frimer

    Why do they try to fix things that aren’t broken

    1. Dick Durham Avatar
      Dick Durham

      Said the guy who rode a horse and buggy when he was overtaken by a model T Ford.

      They didn’t fix it, they are working to improve it. Unless of course you would prefer to work in Photoshop V1.0 and not cc.