Repairing Images

Brush / Clone and Heal / Layers

The Layers tool in Capture One Pro has individual brush-based Heal and Clone tools for localized repairing of images.

Repair layers

In addition to the standard Adjustment Layer option, Capture One Pro has two Repair Layer options: Clone and Heal. Each of these two layers have dedicated brush-based local Clone and Heal repair tools. Both look similar initially, however there are some subtle yet important differences between the way the two work.

The Clone tool copies pixels from one area of an image to another and is well suited to either duplicating or removing objects. Brushing over an imperfection in an image using the Clone brush will replace that area with an exact copy of another part of the image.

The Heal tool works slightly differently. It also copies pixels but automatically blends the colors and brightness of the sampled area with the adjacent pixels of the target area. For most repair work, particularly skin blemishes or large expanses of sky with a slight gradient, the Heal tool should be the first choice. Repairs along edges are more suited to the Clone tool.

The Heal and Clone tools look similar initially. Both copy pixels from another part of the same image, however there are some subtle yet important differences between the way the two work.

Repairing with the heal tool

Although Capture One has a separate Spot removal tool using a circular cursor for the quick removal of small spots and sensor dust, the brush-based Heal tool should be adopted when more complex and precise repairing of imperfections is required, especially over a large area. Retouching spots or blemishes in areas with high-noise or fine-structure detail using the Heal tool should be confined to repairing smaller areas using a layer for each for best results. Adopting more than one area for repair may still be possible, however, depending on the image and suitability of the source point or sampling area. Only one sampling point can be set per layer, though, up to 16 layers can be created for one image.

To start with, it is recommended to adjust the brush size to just cover the area to be repaired and set a low hardness value (0-20). This aids the blending of pixels for color and brightness, and is useful when retouching areas with complex detail and shadows such as a facial mole under strands of hair, for example. Set both Flow and Opacity to 100%. The master Opacity slider may be used to reduce or fade the effect afterwards. Where hard, straight edges are encountered in an image area that needs to be repaired or restored, the Heal tool is likely to blur, therefore the Clone tool may be the better option.

  1. Go to the Layers tool or Viewer’s tool bar and either:
    • long-click on the Create New Layer button (+ icon) on the foot-bar and select the New Heal Layer option from the menu.
    • Click on the Create New Layer button (+ icon) to create a new layer, then ctrl/right-click and select the New Heal Layer option from the menu.
  2. From the foot-bar in the Layers tool click on the Add/Erase Mask button and select the brush cursor Draw Mask (B).
  3. Modify the brush parameters, as required.
  4. Zoom in to 100% and brush or click-on the spot or blemish to be removed.
  5. If the appearance of the target area doesn’t match the surrounding pixels, click on the source point (black and white circular cursor) at the sampling area and drag it, or option/alt-click (Mac/Windows) on the image, whilst observing the effect. The source point can be moved anywhere within the same image in the Viewer.
  6. The target area is updated and immediately repaired.

Although Capture One has a seperate Spot removal tool using a circular cursor for the quick removal of small spots and sensor dust, the brush-based Heal tool should be adopted when more complex and precise retouching of imperfections is required, especially over a large area.

Repairing with the clone tool

The Clone tool lets you repair an area in an image by covering them with pixels from another part of the same image. Besides repair it can also be used to duplicate objects should the need arise. Although Capture One selects a sample area, when replacing a target area with cloned data, it is expected that in the majority of cases manual selection of the sampled area or source point is required. Setting a low hardness value for the brush prior to application lowers the blend opacity of the selection or target area and is useful when merging cloned pixels at the edges in areas that are moderately to highly regular, such as skin or expanses of blue skies.

  1. Go to the Layers tool and either:
    • Long-click on the Create New Layer button (+ icon) on the foot-bar and select the New Clone Layer option from the menu.
    • Click on the Create New Layer button (+ icon) to create a new layer, then ctrl/right-click and select the New Clone Layer option from the menu.
  2. From the foot-bar in the Layers tool click on the Add/Erase Mask button and select the brush cursor Draw Mask (B) from the menu.
  3. Modify the brush parameters, as necessary.
  4. Zoom in to 100% and either brush on the area to be repaired. Capture One selectes a sample area and replaces the target area with the sampled pixels.
  5. If the appearance of the target area doesn’t match the surrounding pixels, click on the source point denoting the sampling area and drag it while observing the effect on the image. The source point can be moved anywhere within the same image.
  6. Alternatively, option/alt-click (Mac/Windows) on the souce point to set a new sampling point. The target pixels will be updated immediately. Only one sampling point can be set per layer.

The Clone tool lets you repair an area in an image by covering them with pixels from another part of the same image.

Setting a new source point

Capture One automatically selects the sampling area or source point based on the texture of the pixels, and the area chosen may look very different from the target area or destination point. If the automatic selection of the source point needs to be changed, you can easily re-position it anywhere in the same image. Only one source point can be selected regardless of the number of individual repair areas there are on the layer, however, that one source point may still be suitable depending on the image and the type of repair. For complex retouching of images involving several areas, it’s recommended to create a separate layer for each. As many as 16-layers can be created for any one image or variant, and that can comprise of a mixture of adjustment and repair layers.

  1. Click on the relevant repair layer in the Layers tool to select it. The layer will be highlighted as an orange bar initially, then when focus is moved elsewhere it will change to silver-gray. Both the destination point (orange and black circular cursor) and source point (black and white circular cursor) will be displayed in the Viewer.
  2. Zoom to 100%. To set a new source point, option/alt-click in an area you think will be suitable, or click and drag the source point to another position while observing the updated effect in the viewer.
  3. The Layers tool saves the new source point.

If the automatic selection of the sampling area or source point needs to be changed, you can easily re-position it anywhere in the same image.

Adjusting target area

In addition to repositioning the source point to resample the current selection, you can also reposition the target area or destination point. Moving the destination point only a little can greatly improve the result. Adjusting the destination point repositions the mask used on the repair area, which in-turn simultaneously updates the sampling area. 

  1. Click on the relevant repair layer in the Layers tool to select it. The Layer bar will be highlighted in orange initially, then silver once focus has moved. Both the destination point (orange and black circular cursor) and source point (black and white circular cursor) will be displayed in the Viewer.
  2. Zoom to 100% for a clearer view of the repair area. To set a new destination point, click and drag the orange and black circular cursor slightly while observing the updated effect in the viewer.
  3. The Layers tool saves the new destination point.

Moving the destination point only a little can greatly improve the result.

Viewing the before and after effect quickly

  1. Click on the relevant repair layer in the Layers tool to select it.
  2. To view the "before and after" effect quickly, toggle the check mark in the layer's name bar to enable and then disable. The Background Layer cannot be disabled.
  3. To make any global adjustments to the image thereafter, remember to select the Background in the Layers tool or from the Viewer’s tool bar.

To view the effect quickly, toggle the check mark on/off next to the layer

Switching from local to global adjustments

When either the Clone or Heal layer option is selected, some of the cursor tools remain enabled such as the Loupe and Crop tool, however, all the adjustment tools are disabled.

  1. To return to making localized adjustments after working with a repair layer, click on an existing adjustment layer or create a new one.
  2. To switch between localized and global adjustments, select the Background in the Layers tool or from the Viewers tool bar.

Some of the cursor tools remain enabled, such as the Loupe and Crop tool however all adjustments (local and global) are disabled when either the Clone or Heal layer option is selected.