Tool 6 – Clone Stamp Tool

Clone Stamp tool is used to copy one area of an image and copy it onto another area. To activate the clone stamp tool simply press (S) on the keyboard or see the image below for clone stamp tool icon.

To practice Clone stamp tool you can open any image. Let’s open the gulls image in Photoshop.

In the gulls’ image, I want to clone the red circle gull.

To clone the gull, I need to sample the source for cloning to do this simply press ALT (Windows) or Option (Mac) on your keyboard. When you press ALT key your cursor will change to a target. Take the source for cloning (Sample the sky part). Once you sample the source simply paint it over the gull.

As you can clearly see that the gull has cloned perfectly. You can also use the clone stamp tool to reduce blemishes, skin flaws and wrinkles.

Tool 7 – Gradient Tool

Gradient tool used to create the gradient effect. It creates a gradual blend between multiple colors. You can activate the Gradient tool by pressing (G) on the keyboard. On the options bar, you can also choose the type of gradient such as Linear, Radial, Angle, Reflected or Diamond. You don’t need to use all types of gradient and most of the time Linear gradient works best. It is also the default gradient type you can see the image below.

In the above image, click on the Gradient Editor (colorful bars) and the gradient editor dialog box will appear.

You can add many colors on the gradient and just move your cursor on the color picker. Simply click on it and choose any color you want to apply it.

You can apply the gradient by simply dragging it over the image. You can also hold the Shift key to apply the gradient vertically.

Tool 8 – Blur and Sharpen Tools

Blur tool is used to soften the area of an image and Sharpen tool is used to sharpen the area of an image.

There is no shortcut key for Blur tool and you have to click on the blur tool icon to activate it.

Open the gull image again and I want to blur the red circle gull. To do this simply activate the blur tool and paint over the bird to blur it.

Similarly, you can use the Sharpen tool to sharpen the gull. Try it by yourself and see the results.

Tool 9 – Dodge & Burn

Dodge and Burn tool are very important tool. They allow us to refine the shades of an image. Dodging the area simply means lighting the area of an image while burning means darkening the area of an image. In simple word Dodge = lightens and Burn = Darken. To activate the Dodge & Burn tools you can press (O) on the keyboard.

In the options bar, you can see that we have a range and exposure options. The range allows us to dodge and burn different tones in an image. When it’s set to shadow (darker parts), only the darker parts are affected. When it’s set to midtones (the area between darker and lighter parts), only the midtones are affected. When it’s set to Highlight, only the brighter area of the image is affected.

Exposure options control the intensity of effects. The setting you have seen in the above image these are my setting for dodging and burning. I always work with these settings whenever I want to dodge and burn the parts of an image in Photoshop.

Dodge and Burn tool suffer from one serious problem and the problem is that they can permanently damage your images. I recommend you to whenever you dodge and burn an image, always duplicate the image before doing it. However, we can do this with non-destructive techniques, but it’s beyond the scope of the tutorial.

Let’s practice dodge and burning. Open up the city image again and duplicate it by pressing (CTRL or CMD + J) on the keyboard. Activate the dodge tool and set the range to highlight and exposure to 13%.

Start dodging at the brighter (red circle) part of the city image. After you paint it you can see the before and after results in below image.

You can clearly see the before and after results in the image. As a result, it has brightened the brighter part of the city.

Now switch to Burn tool and set the range to shadow (to affect the darker parts) but leave the range to 13%. Now start burning the dark (red circle) part of an image to darken it.

You can see the before and after the results. The burn tool has darkened the area (red circle) of the city image. Similarly, you can also set the range to midtones to affect the midtones area.

Final Tool – Pen Tool

Pen tool is a selection tool and used to make the selection of the area of the image. It is also used to create path and shapes. You can activate the pen tool by pressing (P) on the keyboard.

Initially, the pen tool is confusing and difficult to understand. But once you comfortable with this tool, then you’ll only use this tool to make the selection. On the options bar, you can see the pen tool mode is set to the path. Always set it to the path when you make the selection of any image.

Let’s make the selection with the Pen tool. Open up the stop sign image in Photoshop.

Let’s say that I want to extract the stop sign from its background. Always Zoom (by pressing (Z) on the keyboard) in when you make the selection with Pen tool. By zooming, you’ll find it easier when making selections with the Pen tool. In that way, you can be sure you’re keeping your path just inside the area you want to select.

So zoom in and click on the line of the stop sign to add an anchor point to it. Now I just have a starting point for my path. To create a path around the stop sign I’ll have to go around the sign adding an anchor point in each corner where the path needs to change direction. As I add each anchor point, a new path segment will appear joining the previous anchor point with a new one, until I’ve gone all the way around the sign. You can also move your mouse to make the curve selection in the corner area of the stop sign.

Sometimes you can also make mistakes while making selection with this tool to overcome this you can press (Ctrl or Cmd + Z) to undo it. That’s why it is the best selection tool in Photoshop.

To close the path simply click on the starting anchor point. To make the selection of stop sign now all you have to do is right click on it and choose make selection.

So click on make selection and just press ok (don’t enter any value in feather) to make the selection.

To extract it properly from the background you can add a layer mask to it by pressing the add layer mask button on layer panel.

As you can see we’ve very clean and decent results. Now I can move and copy it another document.


That’s it for now. So these are the top 10 most important in Photoshop used in every photo manipulation. Remember this tutorial all about basics and you’ll learn more about these tools in advanced upcoming tutorials.

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