How to use the Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool

The most likely repair you will need to make using the Clone Stamp Tool is to remove unwanted objects from a photo. The following image illustrates a typical problem that you might want to address.

In the left image you can see the original photo with two problem areas highlighted near the edges of the frame. The image on the right shows the corrected photo after repairing it using only the Photoshop Clone Stamp Tool.

How To Solve Common Clone Stamp Tool Problems In Photoshop

1. Make Sure The Correct Layer Is Selected

The most common reason why the Clone Stamp stops working is simply that the wrong layer is selected. If you have the incorrect layer chosen in the Layers Panel, your adjustments may be hidden or sampling the wrong thing.

For example, I have two images inside of a shape on their respective layers. If I want to make a clone adjustment to the shape on the left, I need to make sure that the layer is selected in the layer panel.

If you were trying to paint on a new layer to work non-destructively, then you’ll want to select that layer instead.

As you can see, my background layer is currently selected, meaning that I will only be painting white with the clone adjustments since that’s what is sampled.

To solve this, I’ll click on the layer I want to clone, then press Alt/Option to sample, and now the Clone Stamp Tool works again!

2. Check Your Sample Settings

Another very common reason for this tool not to work is the incorrect sample settings. For example, in the upper setting bar, while the Clone Stamp Tool is active, there are three different sample options:

  1. Current Layer: will only sample from the layer that is currently selected.
  2. Current And Below: will sample both your currently selected layer, and the layer directly below it.
  3. All Layers: will sample all of the layers below your currently selected layer.

If, for example, you have a new transparent layer above an image layer, you will want this sample setting set to “Current And Below.” This way, you can paint on your new layer while sampling the image layer directly beneath it.

You will find yourself constantly changing this setting depending on your needs with the tool. If your Clone Stamp Tool suddenly stops working, this setting is usually the culprit.

3. Make Sure Your Layer Mask Isn’t Selected

Just as you need to ensure the correct layer is sampled, you also need to ensure that you aren’t sampling the layer mask. If you do, you’ll end up with some weird results. This is a possible issue when you are adding clone adjustments directly to your image layer.

You can tell that the layer mask is selected by the white boxes surrounding it. This means when that layer is selected, you will be sampling the masking values rather than the actual image.

To fix this, click on your image layer thumbnail. Now those white boxes will move to the layer thumbnail and off of the layer mask.

Now when you sample and make your clone stamp adjustments, you will be sampling the image directly.

4. Select The “Soft Round Brush” Preset

If you have been experimenting with new brush settings, it’s possible to select a brush tip that won’t work for clone stamp adjustments. If you had a brush tip chosen with a large amount of spacing, it would appear like the clone stamp tool isn’t working. However, the clone adjustments are just being painted in a way you weren’t expecting.

For the best results and general-purpose use, using a soft round brush preset works best for the Clone Stamp Tool.

First, access the Clone Stamp Tool by pressing S, then go to the upper settings bar and click on the brush preset options.

At the top of the brush preset panel, look for the preset that says “soft round brush,” then click on it to select it.

This will change your brush tip and fix any issues you may have had if you had a custom clone stamp brush in use.

5. Set The Opacity And Flow To 100%

Similar to the brush tool in Photoshop, there are opacity and flow settings for the clone stamp tool. If you don’t have either of these settings adjusted correctly, your clone adjustments will be hardly visible or totally transparent!

With the clone stamp tool active (S), go to the upper settings bar and make sure the opacity and flow options are at 100%.

If they aren’t, adjust them accordingly to make your clone stamp adjustment be fully visible.

6. Set The Blending Mode To “Normal”

Like a layer blending mode, the clone stamp blending mode changes how your cloning adjustments blend into your image. If you have changed this setting and forgot to set it back to normal, it’s easy to think that the clone stamp tool is broken.

Luckily changing the blending mode back to Normal is easy. Simply press S to access the clone stamp tool, then go to the upper settings bar. In the Blending option, this should be set to “Normal.”

If it isn’t, click on this option to reveal a drop-down menu. Select “Normal” at the top of the list to make your clone adjustments work the way they usually do!

7. Try To Redefine Your Sample Area

Another reason for the clone stamp tool not to work is because of your sample area. The sample area is the place you define before painting clone adjustments to tell Photoshop what you want to use as the cloning material.

If you have yet to create a sample, you will want to do that first.

To do that, hold Alt or Option and click on your canvas to define your sampling area while the clone stamp tool is active.

However, if you have already set your sample area, you may have sampled a transparent area on your canvas or layer. If that happens, nothing will be painting with your clone adjustments since you sampled transparency.

To fix this, hold Alt or Option and click on an area of your canvas or layer that is not transparent and try again. Now your clone stamp tool will be working correctly again.

Steps for Healing Skin Blemishes with the Clone Stamp Tool

Thanks to intelligent software and its various technologies, we can achieve flawless looking skin—even if it’s just in a photo. Using the clone stamp tool in Photoshop, users can remove skin imperfections like moles, blemishes, and wrinkles.

  1. Duplicate the Photo’s Background Layer: When making significant edits on a photo with the clone stamp, you should always work within a new layer. So, the first step you should take when trying to cover up a skin imperfection in a photo with the clone stamp tool is to create a duplicate layer of your photo’s background.

To duplicate the layer, highlight it within the Layers panel on the right of your interface. Then, choose Layer, followed by Duplicate Layer. You can also choose Duplicate Layer from within the “More” menu within the Layers panel.

Once you do either of the above steps, you can name your duplicate layer and hit “OK.”

You can also create a duplicate later and skip the naming step by selecting the layer and dragging it over to the New Layer icon at the very bottom of the Layers panel.

Finally, you can achieve the same result by using the shortcut Ctrl+J on a Windows PC or Command+J on a Mac.

Choose a Clone Source: Remember where the clone stamp tool icon is and how to pick it up? Now that you have created your duplicate layer to work in, you’re going to pick the clone stamp tool in Photoshop once again and put it into action to choose your clone source, just as we discussed earlier.

After zooming into the spot where the blemish is located, look, and find a section of pixels that’s clear and free of any marks or pimples. This is the area you want to use as your clone source. Operate the clone stamp tool by holding the Alt key and selecting a clone source that closely matches the skin tone where the blemish is.

If you’re dealing with several locations or blemishes with the clone stamp tool, be sure to redo this step with different areas of skin and brush size options so as not to obviously repeat patterns.

Choose Brush Mode Option: Slightly different from removing just any object with the clone stamp tool, when you’re working with blemishes and skin, you want to make sure that your healing brush tool’s softness is set at zero. Additionally, it should be set to normal mode.

As far as opacity goes with your healing brush tool, we recommend leaving it anywhere between 10% and 30%, but this is something that you can toy around with as you learn and work with different subjects and skin tones with your healing brush tool.

There’s a good chance you will have to fight through various combinations of opacity and healing brush size before you get it exactly right, so have some patience. The goal is to have the skin end up looking as natural as possible, and that takes some time and effort.

Paint Over the Blemish with the Brush: Finally, your last step is to use the clone stamp tool in Photoshop to paint over the imperfection. Once you have nailed down your opacity-size combo and selected just the right source, you can release the Alt key.

Use the mouse, still on the same clone stamp tool, and drag the clone stamp over the blemish part of an image. Doing so will use the clone stamp to cover it with the identified portion of clear skin, covering the mark and revealing a newly flawless complexion.

Clone Stamp, as the name suggests, is an image correction tool available in Photoshop that is used for restoring an image back to its original state, removing unnecessary objects in the image, and for creating artistic elements; the clone tool works after defining a target point in the image by the user; however, it requires practice and a lot of efforts initially in order to ace the usage of clone tool completely.

Types of Clone Method

There are three types of Methods which are discussed below:

3D animation, modelling, simulation, game development & others

1. Clone on the Background Layer

Beginners use the first method most often because it is the most evident. It is also the most dangerous, as changes are constant and cannot be undone once they have been saved.

2. Make a Duplicate Layer and then Clone on that Layer

This method should, therefore, NEVER be employed. The second way is better because the background layer is not changed. But undue mistakes are harder to make. The image also takes up more storage space, as two copies of the image are now available. This is, therefore, also not the best way.

3. Clone on a Separate, Empty Layer

The third method offers many advantages in practice and is the only one to use in most cases. When an error occurs, the removal tool can simply delete it from the picture. It takes less room on the drive, and it is easy to click the visibility icon to toggle the changes.

Shortcut Keys of Using the Brush

  • Left Brush size reduces.
  • Right Bracket size ) increases the size of the brush.
  • Left Brush shift[] decreases the feeder size.
  • Right Brush shift size reduces shift.
  • Right, the Brush size increases.
  • Links Bracket size decreases, and the brush size increases.
  • Right Bracket (shift).

Take your pins to make it smoother, or move the right bracket to increase the hardness by using a swivel left bracket. The increased size depends on the brush size. Brush size increase/decrement sizes • 1-9 1• 10-100 10* > 100 25 Five degrees of hardness occur, and each click changes the hardness by 20%, giving you 100% 80%, 60%, 40%, and 20%, as shown in this figure.

Two important considerations are given in the use of layers for adjustment. The first thing is to always have adjustment layers on top of your clone layers. If the clone layer is put on top of the adjustment layer and the adjustment layer is modified later, changes in the clone layer will not be updated.

Note: The palette layers and not the options menu must do this. The menu options are the same but work only if you clone to the same level. This option won’t work if you use a separate clone layer.

Steps to Use Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop

Step 1: Open an image File (.ext, .jpg, .png, .bmp, ….) and apply the Clone Stamp tool from toolbox.

Step 2: Click on the keyboard’s S key.

Step 3: Select a brush in the Brush Preset picker to change its size or hardness to control the cloning area better.

Step 4: On the Options bar, select the Blend mode.

Step 5: Use the Opacity slider or text box in the Options bar to make the clone more or less opaque.

Step 6: Now, see how quickly the clone is implemented by changing the flow rate of the clone stamp tool. If desired, select the Airbrush feature for airbrushing.

Depending on your preferences, select or unselect the Aligned option. When your cursor is moved to a different location, the clone source moves when you have selected alignments. If you’re cloning from the same location multiple times, uncheck Aligned.

Step 7: Select the drop-down option of a sample and select the All layers option to clone section of a multilayered image.

Step 8: This option allows you to specify pixels for the clone in all visible layers. You can opt to ignore any setup layer during cloning if all layers in stage 8 are selected.

Step 9: Select Window alternative Clinical Source to open the Clone Source panel. In the Options bar (Left from the blend mode options), click the clone source’s panel icon. Workout the options below:

  • Sample Sources: In step 8, the Alt-click (Optional Click on Mac) defines the region of your image you’d like to clone. However, in the panel of clone sources, you can select and repeat an alternative clone source button in another area of your image (Click on Mac option).
  • Transformations: Change your clone’s position, scale, or rotation. Click the icon link to get the aspect ratio Width and Height. For resetting the transformation, select the small curved arrow under the icon of the link.

Step 10: Alt-click the region of your image you’d like to clone (optional click on Mac).

Step 11: Click or drag the area you want to see the clone.

Step 12: Final output of the Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop.


The Clone Stamp tool is one of Photoshop’s most useful features for photo editors as well as graphic artists. The applications for this magnificent tool have no limits.

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