Working with the Retouch Controls

You use the Retouch brushes to touch up imperfections in the image caused by sensor dust, image artifacts, and other environmental conditions. You can also copy an element of an image and paste it in another area for purely aesthetic reasons. Aperture provides two methods for retouching your images. The method you use depends on whether you are trying to copy texture from the source while preserving hard edges at the destination (where the blemish is) or simply copy pixels from one area of the image and replace them over another.

If the area you need to repair has a hard edge near the problem area, you use the “repair” method. You also use the repair method when you want to copy high-frequency texture from one area of the image (the source) and brush the texture over the destination area while maintaining the underlying color and shading of the destination area.

The second method, “cloning,” is used when you simply want to copy pixels from one area and paste them on another area. Cloning is useful when you want to copy an element of an image as is (a cloud, for example) and paste it in another area.

Which Retouching Adjustment Should You Use?

Aperture provides two sets of controls that you can use to retouch your image: Retouch and Spot & Patch.

In the vast majority of cases, Retouch provides the controls that will best serve your image-repair needs. The Spot & Patch controls have been included in Aperture 3 in order to retain the integrity of images that were adjusted with earlier versions of Aperture. In many cases, image repairs might even be improved by removing an existing Spot & Patch repair and replacing it with a Repair or Clone adjustment performed with the Retouch tool.

There are certain situations in which Spot & Patch is the adjustment of choice. For example, an artifact on or very near a curved edge in an image may be more effectively removed using the Angle parameter. For more information about the Spot & Patch adjustment controls, see Working with the Spot & Patch Controls.

Repairing Your Images

You use the Repair brush of the Retouch adjustment when the area surrounding the blemish has elements of high contrast, such as an edge, or when you need to copy texture from the source area and maintain the color and shading in the destination area.

Figure. Image before and after a Repair adjustment.
To retouch an image using the Repair brush
  1. Select an image.

  2. It’s a good idea to set the image to appear at full size (100 percent) to prevent image scaling from obscuring details. To display images at full size, click the Zoom Viewer button in the tool strip or the Full Screen view toolbar (or press Z).

  3. Choose Retouch from the Quick Brush pop-up menu (with a brush icon) in the tool strip or the Full Screen view toolbar (or press X).

    The pointer changes to a brush, and the Retouch HUD appears.

    Figure. Repair controls in the Retouch HUD.
  4. In the Retouch HUD, do the following:

    1. Click the Repair button.

    2. Set the radius of the brush by dragging the Radius slider, entering a value in the Radius value slider, or using your mouse’s scroll wheel.

      Note: The mouse’s scroll wheel is disengaged when the pointer is placed over the Retouch HUD.

    3. Set the softness of the brush by dragging the Softness slider or entering a value in the Softness value slider.

    4. Set the opacity of the brush by dragging the Opacity slider or entering a value in the Opacity value slider.

  5. If you want the Retouch adjustment to preserve edge details in the image, select the “Detect edges” checkbox.

  6. If you need to copy pixels from another area of the image, deselect the “Automatically choose source” checkbox, and Option-click the source area.

  7. Brush over the area with the imperfection.

    Figure. Image showing a circular overlay indicating the position of the Repair brush.

Cloning Your Images

You use the Clone brush of the Retouch adjustment to copy pixels from an area of the image with similar visual elements and paste the pixels over the area with the imperfection. No pixels are blended from the area surrounding the brush stroke.

Figure. Image before and after a Clone adjustment.
To retouch an image using the Clone brush
  1. Select an image.

  2. It’s a good idea to set the image to appear at full size (100 percent) to prevent image scaling from obscuring details. To display images at full size, click the Zoom Viewer button in the tool strip or the Full Screen view toolbar (or press Z).

  3. Choose Retouch from the Quick Brush pop-up menu (with a brush icon) in the tool strip or the Full Screen view toolbar (or press X).

    The pointer changes to a brush, and the Retouch HUD appears.

    Figure. Clone controls in the Retouch HUD.
  4. In the Retouch HUD, do the following:

    1. Click the Clone button.

    2. Set the radius of the brush by dragging the Radius slider or entering a value in the Radius value slider.

    3. Set the softness of the brush by dragging the Softness slider or entering a value in the Softness value slider.

    4. Set the opacity of the brush by dragging the Opacity slider or entering a value in the Opacity value slider.

  5. Option-click the source area (the area where you want to copy the pixels).

  6. Brush over the area with the imperfection.

    Figure. Image showing a circular overlay indicating the position of the Clone brush.

Deleting Retouch Brush Strokes

You can delete a Retouch brush stroke at any time. Because pixels in brush strokes are sampled sequentially, brush strokes can be deleted only in reverse order.

To delete a brush stroke
  1. Click the Delete button in the Retouch area of the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD.

    Figure. Delete button in the Retouch area of the Adjustments inspector.
  2. Repeat step 1 until the brush stroke you want to remove is deleted.

To delete all brush strokes at one time
  • Click the Reset button (a curved arrow) in the Retouch area of the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD.