Using the heal brush in GIMP 2.8

A few days ago I wrote a short tutorial on how to use the “Heal” tool in Adobe Lightroom. The “Heal” tool is however not unique in Lightroom so if you don’t have Lightroom you can instead use GIMP (The GNU Image Manipulation Program) which is a free photo editing application.

The “Heal” tool is used to fix problems that you might find when you come home after a photo expedition and notice that there was a bit of dust or dirt on your lens the entire time. There is a black spot on all your images and you need a way of removing this. This is where the tool shine.

  1. Start by opening your photo in GIMP and identifying the problem areas.
  2. Navigate to and press the icon for the “Heal” tool. This is found in the tool chest in GIMP. There is a few settings you can play around with for this tool but for the sake of this tutorial we will keep all on the default expet the “Size” parameter. By changing this the brush we are going to use will change.
  3. Set the size so that the brush just fill over the spot we want to fix. Now control click (press and hold CTRL and left click) beside the problem area where the background seem to have the same color as the part we want to fix. This sets the tools pickup area. When we are using the tool afterwards it will pickup pixels form the area we set and try to paint them over the area we want to fix.
  4. Left click on the problem area. You will notice that if you click once it will disapear partially, click a few more times looking at the result between each click. When the problem is solved, repeat for the other parts of the image that need fixing.
  5. There you have it, a clean and better looking photo. All fixed in GIMP!

Enjoy! Remember that this tool can be used to also remove other parts of a photo you do not want in the picture. It can be a lightpost or a tree. Experiment with the tool and you will see how much it can be used for!

Published by

Martin Karlsson

I am a hobby photographer always trying to improve my technique!

2 thoughts on “Using the heal brush in GIMP 2.8”

  1. My Gimp 2.8 Toolbox didn’t look like yours. To get that appearance I had to choose Windows > New Toolbox to show the toolbox; resize to make it 4 tools wide and much taller; choose Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Tool Options to show the tool options; then grab the Tool Options tab and drag it into the blank area of the toolbox below the tools.

    For some reason the only Mode available to me is “Normal”, not the “Dissolve” you show; maybe you already had layers in your picture.

    Your sample image looks good enough in a browser window, so it’s hard to see what you’re fixing. It’s nowhere close to getting rid of “a lightpost or a tree.” Please delete the first comment here, it’s spam.

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