The Patch Tool in Adobe Photoshop is a cool, quirky little tool that probably doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. It’s great for fixing bags under the eyes, missing bits of fur or covering bruises, scratches and other interesting edits that come up.

Where to find the Patch Tool

In the tool panel on the left hand side, you can find it under the Healing Tool or Spot Healing Tool section. Hold the small triangle on the bottom corner for the menu to fly out, and you can then select the Patch Tool from there.

How to use it

My boy Dexter managed to pull out a tuft of fur, just above his right eye. It will grow back, but I’d like to fix it in a few photos. The Patch Tool will help with that.

Grab the Patch Tool and draw loosely around the area, not too big but not too tight, either. Now drag the selection to where there is an area you would like to replace it. Don’t cut and paste, just drag with your mouse (or graphics pen).

For the settings, I used the Normal patch option, with Source selected and diffusion as 7. You could use Content-Aware instead of normal, but sometimes I’ve had it give some weird results.

You can keep moving your selected area around. Once you are happy with the result, either deselect the Patch Tool (Ctrl + D on Windows, Cmd + D on Mac) or go to Select > Deselect.

Other uses for the Patch Tool

I have found the Patch Tool useful for other problem solving too, like removing dark bags under the eyes or patchy areas of skin. It’s great for objects in your scene that you want to be removed and things like that.

Even Dexter’s collar and tag and a few distracting spots in the image, all fixed with the Patch Tool. Now isn’t he a handsome boy again?

Dexter all fixed with the Patch Tool in Photoshop

So next time you need to fix a little area in a photo, don’t just head for the Clone or the Spot Healing Tool. There is another option with the Patch Tool.