Photography PX is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site we earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting us Learn more 

How To Retouch Skin in Affinity Photo Using The Healing Brush Tool

Last Updated on November 1, 2020 by Devaun Lennox

What’s going on my friends today we are gonna show how we can actually use the Healing Brush tool in affinity photo for iPad and get the same exact results that you guys can literally get in photoshop I mean same freaking results

 so here’s the photo that we’re gonna be working today this is a photo that I took about two weeks ago with my creative team zermatt all here mica so let’s kind of zoom in I’m gonna zoom in on the iPad here so this is the actor and then zoom in right here this is the Pope before so let me zoom in on some of the things that we’re gonna tackle right here all these blemishes and uneven textures and freckles and uneven tones that is what we’re gonna be working on strictly for the face this technique works for everything in the skin to include garments and fabrics you can fix hair this way we’re not gonna go into how to do those specific things we’re just focused on basic skin smoothing utilizing one tool in that in that art case today

that’s gonna be the cutely brush tool all right so let’s hop over to affinity photo here we are so our D load the image up in affinity photo so all we’re gonna do here we’re gonna tap this little plus icon new layer so as far as layer preferences normal layer 100% opacity visible standard layer okay so what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna go over here to this tool right here I’m sorry not that one this tool right here and we’re gonna select the healing brush all right so let’s zoom in so we can focus on the face so biggest tips when it comes to utilizing the healing brush

especially on iPad because it’s definitely a lot more complicated you use this technique on iPad than it is in Photoshop because you do need a sample in select an area that you want to sample for the tool to actually know what it’s actually analyzing as far as data and gathering color texture and tone to then replace when you brush over a certain area so you do need a sample a lot and and on iPad is actually a little inconvenient I’m not to lie this is definitely not the technique if I’m editing on iPad that I prefer to use but for all intents and purposes I’m going to

show you guys how to do this so you can have an arrow in your quiver and just another tool in your tool belt man you know just give you another screw guy screwdriver another hammer a saw you know jigsaw whatever you guys need you know I will give you guys all the tools and then you can make it make an educated decision whether this would be the technique that you ultimately do use for some of you guys in the audience you may end up just liking sampling man you may like this a lot better than the previous video that we posted on the inpainting

brush or the inpainting tool it works in a very different way but the results are great as well so let’s let’s kind of hop in so the biggest things when working with the healing brush specifically on iPad like I said you do need a sample as far as brush brush brush with aka size this is gonna be in pixels typically what you want to do is you’re gonna vary the setting so that the the overall brush indicator right here that it dis circle is slightly bigger than the blemish you’re trying to remove from me personally if I ever use a healing brush I just like to leave it at one set

percentage in terms of pixels and I just like to do the whole face that way sometimes that doesn’t work but ideally that’s just the way I like to work so I don’t have to change a lot of settings in Photoshop when I was doing some photoshop this setting right here is typically set between 10 to 30 pixels on iPad it’s gonna be a little bit different just because the algorithm and the way the the warp space is sized here on iPad is different than Photoshop so this right here this value is gonna be usually somewhere between 30 to 60 pixels for me personally I try

to leave it at one set value so that I don’t have to change it because I’m lazy I don’t really want to change it but just know it does need to be bigger slightly bigger or the same size as the blemish you’re trying to remove as far as a capacity and flow and hardness I just personally just leave these as default settings opacity is gonna control really the opacity how how visible the the overall healing is gonna be I was leaving at a hard percent you can adjust on the layers you can adjust the opacity of the whole layer here or you can use a mask which we’ll do in

another later video so I don’t change it here specifically flows 100% hardness is gonna be something that’s that’s gonna vary vary based on how smooth you want the transition of the edges of when you actually like you you brush over how smooth do you want that transition to be the harder or the greater this hardness right here the the more it’s gonna just be kind of like a clone brush or like a sample and it’s just gonna just kind of plop it on there and there’s gonna be there’s gonna be a circle with defined edges it’s not gonna blend as well personally I just

usually leave this at 0% but this is something that you can change if you need to depending on what you’re working on in affinity photo as far as using this tool so it’s 1127 these are the basic set up these are the basic settings that we’re gonna use we’re just gonna just leave this roughly at maybe let’s say 45 ish pixels we’ll tap on there and we’ll just set this to 45 pixels so what you have to do as far as selecting a sample to actually sample from you tap and hold with your finger not the Apple pencil to select to select a sample and then you let go I guess is a

caveat even though we’ve done a video on this previously I am using an Apple pencil this is just the standard Apple pencil that comes with the older generation of the iPad pro I have the 10 inch model 10.7 or Lebanon model of the iPad pro from 2018 I believe is when it was released and that’s what I’m using so these are the tools that you do need to utilize this specific technique you can do this with your finger that is a caveat you can there’s an ability to do that it’s very difficult it’s kind of inconvenient I would prefer to use it with a pencil personally but you are

welcome to use it with your finger if you’d like to that is an option so what we’re doing we’re at the sample specifically with my finger and then I’m using the Apple pencil here to brush over the area o caveat I forgot something actually so you’re gonna go in these settings right here it’s all going to be is the 100% scale it’s gonna be aligned you’re actually gonna set this sample it’s targeting to current and below because we’re using a blank layer right here we’re actually editing on that layer so that we have the ability to delete it and erase and and change the

opacity apply some masks and if we have a little bit more flexibility so we’re not working destructively that’s part of reason why I use that so now when we go over here I’ll just go back to the actually tool itself now you can see actually doing something cuz it’s sampling from layer below so how much time do I explain it’s 11:29 p.m. right now I’m just gonna spend about five or six minutes and I’m just going to this brush is actually way too big so we’re gonna actually take that down to hopefully 30 I’m gonna spend about five bucks six minutes and you’re just

gonna see me and just kind of go and work through this the brush is still a little bit too big it’s getting kind of smudgy already it’s the only thing with use utilizing a specific tool is that it has a tendency of kind of getting smudgy so you have to be very careful when you’re used utilizing it to not go over multiple areas more than once so brush size is actually gonna be changing a little bit more but all I’m doing is just I’m sampling outside of the area that I want to to fix that has better texture and then I’m just brushing over one single time to fix those areas

sometimes I made you multiple brush strokes that just kind of depends on the blemish but we’re just gonna spend another six minutes and you guys you just see me just kind of just plug away at this thing so this is really just the basic best basic technique I mean Hans like it’s not really there’s nothing revolutionary about it it’s pretty straightforward to do it is a little bit time-consuming this is part of the reason why I personally do not use this technique on Photoshop or iPad it just takes me way too much time I mean dude the only caveat and I was saying this

in the Photoshop video as well is that professional and high-end Beauty retouchers actually do utilize this tool and the clone brush that is the preferred industry leading professional way to actually do this task but granted it depends what the final results going to be are you do available if you’re not doing a billboard okay are you even printing the photo not printing the photo you could probably just get away with the Spot Healing tool and and just using frequency separation and the package tool like honestly you don’t really really need to do a lot of this

stuff but nonetheless I will show you how to get how you guys can actually utilize some of these techniques so you at least know that they’re available to you so you can make an educated decision at the end of the day what you’re actually gonna use based on what your workflow is not necessarily what my workflow is because my workflow may be different than your fork but well my only goal is just to show you guys how to actually do the stuff and what’s how what’s possible really honestly just what’s possible and then you guys can just make a decision man

whatever whatever tools you guys like and the settings that work for you hey I mean – hey that’s an awesome in fantastic lesson I’m excited for you man that’s great that’s that’s a whole purpose so yeah we’re just kind of going through and just getting rid of some of these blemishes here yeah this is really just the process I’m being a little bit like not super picky with it because this is not I’m not actually working on this image and that I wouldn’t actually put it this image this way personally because again it just takes too much time the results are as long as you

have like a decent decent brush size and you’re gentle with the sampling we’re not maybe not gentle it’s probably not the right word but you you you’re constantly sampling then it tends to have pretty decent results I don’t mind the results this thing from a workforce and points a little bit too slow let’s go back into the healing brush and a little funky thing right there yeah 11:30 – I’ll be down for Department couple minutes here and you’re seeing me do this live and you’re also seeing me talk live and just one cut I am NOT going to drop the photo do anything

cleared as far as video editing is concerned this is just the straight live man straight live what the exact process is you’ll see some of the funky results that it has it’s not good at edges so when you come up to this kind of area right here you are game over that is just it doesn’t work very well on edges this is the same thing that happens in Photoshop as well the Healing Brush across both these

applications they function very similar there they do have their intricacies based on what program you’re actually using however they’re both bad at edges it’s just the way that they’re sampling they just don’t they’re not really good at edges so you’re gonna have to use other tools in your and your quiver and your arsenal that we will be discussing at a future date on how to tackle some of those edges if there’s a blemish that’s coming up to an edge there’s a couple ways to do that we will talk about that stuff in a later video until then stay tuned you’ll just have to

kind of battle with it until then my man or girl hey what’s up so let’s see it’s 30 11 33 okay we are yeah that’s some good skin that’ll probably end up sore working pretty pretty good there I want to bore you guys to tears with do it quick be super specific one thing to note when it comes to doing this process you need to zoom in to the at least the value that I’m zoomed in right right now I don’t know what the zoom setting is to be honestly I don’t know I don’t know I see that an affinity photo but and to at least this zoom setting some around here so that

you’re you’re accurately selecting an area that you want the tool to sample from if you’re going to be using this tool there’s where every sample from its gonna pull the texture tone and color from that area so you want to make sure that you’re you’re getting some some pretty good area because it will literally to a certain extent it will copy and paste that to that area so you can see what it did right there and that was kind of funky because

it pulled from this edge right here so I’ve actually prefer to sample right there yeah and and this tool is really good if you just want to fix the multitude of things as far as texture tone and color I’m gonna spend like just one more minute and just kind of finish up the forehead over here we’re just gonna kind of dash away at this real quick just use one little area do you need to be super specific I was doing that funky thing again where it doesn’t a sample okay so boom all right so let’s zoom out okay so let’s zoom out and see in six minutes which is a very long time I

could have done the whole face by now but six minutes how far we were able to get with just one tool didn’t really change a lot of settings besides just changing the size a couple times very minor changes this is where we got I mean like one tool didn’t really change much settings and right there before after I mean you guys can see the difference is I’ll even just scroll in that’s literally what we did with just one tool granted if I was going to use this technique in this technique only it would take a very long time for me to do this too a way to a standard and level

that it’s it’s very nice and even and there’s good highlights and there’s good contrast I’m not totally fired up about the results but it still needs a lot of work
I wouldn’t prefer or personally do skin smoothing or basic retouching this particular way I will do a video at some point explaining my specific workflow and the tools that I actually utilize and step-by-step how I actually do something like that but long story short I don’t actually do it

this way I’m just showing you guys how to do it with this tool and some of the intricacies and some of the tips and tricks that you should really know if you’re gonna be using that utilizing this tool and just like I said in the Photoshop video as well for those you guys that are also doing this in Photoshop when you get down here to other areas of the body like let’s say the chest neck the arms the legs the the midsection all these other areas don’t have as fine texture and it’s fine grain when it comes to how detailed is the skin and how much is it varying so as you

get further and further down in the skin you can actually use a pretty big brush and you can just pretty much just like honestly go super ham and in most cases you won’t notice those changes granted it does look a little bit blurry right there just cuz I went a little bit too hard but you’re welcome to use a larger brush size and you don’t have to be as quite as careful when you’re doing the face it’s definitely highly encouraged and recommended that you use oom into at least this this this amount right here I don’t know what the

percentage is I’m not sure but where you can really see a lot of the detail and you’re working in a smaller section that that’s gonna be key right there and just and just taking your time on the face and then once you get through the face you can kind of just go ham on the rest of the body and you should be totally fine you it’s not going to be something that’s gonna be a deal-breaker what else I don’t think there’s really anything else if you want some a little bit more insight and and tips and tricks also also check out the Photoshop version of the same tutorial

that’s just kind of talking about that as well I don’t really know a lot more intricacies just be careful with the brush size like I mentioned before and then change the hardness as you need if you’re working in an area that specifically you want it to kind of clone and have a harder edge to it for some reason then that’s when you change the hardness here typically I just leave this is 0% because I want the edges that it’s it’s gonna just brush over and it’s gonna say it’s gonna lay down is it as a new piece of skin or texture or ternal or whatever I want that to be as

smooth as possible I don’t want that to be hard edges so that you’re seeing like circles and in circles all over the face I don’t want it to look like that so typically I’d leave the hardness at 0% and I would kind of change that in only rare sake cake situations myself I don’t change it very often but that pretty much wraps up today’s video my friends that’s that’s that’s all it is for utilizing this tool on an affinity photo same thing with Photoshop it’s very very straight for it’s not

difficult tool to use it does have some issues when it comes to edges and in those situations just better to migrate over to another tool but when it comes to basic skin smoothing and editing it’s it’s pretty short for it it’s just like you just sample and you just go over you sample and just go over and you just do that hundreds of times I mean it’s really that’s all there is to it I don’t think it’s the fastest way to do this technique there are other techniques that are faster than doing this previous video that actually uploaded is a faster technique of doing the same

exact thing it gives you marketable results as far as similarity I mean it’s you’re never gonna see that really a huge difference in performance as far as what it does for sampling and the honest you’re not unless you’re pixel peeping you’re never gonna see it 

Photo of author

Devaun Lennox

I'm a fashion, beauty, and commercial photographer turned impromptu photojournalist. Based in Las Vegas, my images are graphic, bold, and full-on contrast.