Real non-destructive way of clonestamp tool in Photoshop

I am importing my raw-images from a dslr in photoshop as a SmartObject. The first step I do in my workflow is removing the “dust & scratches” with the clone-stamp-tool and the spot-healing-brush.

To do so I am creating a new layer and sample from the current and layer below. This works perfectly and is kind of non-destructive.

But sometimes I do some changes in the raw-converter afterwards with the smart-object to adjust the color-temperature or the exposure of the image. Like one can imagine the sampled corrections of the clone-stamp-tool refers to the old smartobject and therefore I have a couple of spots.

Is there a possibility to use the clone-stamp-tool in a real non-destructive way? I know there is a similiar tool in the raw-converter itself but it is not as comfortable as the tool in photoshop.

Can anybody help?


You can work on the original layer with the clone stamp tool. Actually, I’m tempted to think you will have less issues during your next manipulations than by using different layers or smart objects.

The technique I use and learnt in digital manipulation was (doesn’t mean it’s the best but there’s good reasons why it’s better for some stamping jobs):

  • Only stamp with a small brush with no hardness, even if it takes
  • Never clone the same area twice; it might make the blur more visible.
    That’s why you need to select the right size of brushes and change
    sometimes to fit the area you need to correct. Big areas shouldn’t be cloned with that tool.
  • Never “copy” a cloned area; again, blur effect, “spots”.
  • Place your clone stamp brush in half the portion of the area you want
    to clone; that means you always stay within the same radius and you
    go in a circular motion around the area to cover. The extremity of
    your clone stamp should be in the middle of the cloned area, if you
    can imagine the 2 circles in your head. This is to avoid cloning
    areas that don’t really belong to the pixels you want to cover; these
    imperfections are always more obvious when you adjust your pictures
    later! (See example below)
  • Unless you need to clone something very small, you shouldn’t try to
    fix an image with a big clone stamp in one shot! It gives better
    results to do it with many stamping to mix all the pixels around the
    cloned area together
  • You can verify if you did a good job by having a look at your
    channels. Sometimes looking at the separations will show more details
    about areas that were not well cloned and that have different densities of colors

clone stamp tool technique

Other than these tricks, I don’t know any other non-destructive ways to use the clone stamp tool! And yes, it does take a bit longer but it’s worth it.

Source : Link , Question Author : Alex , Answer Author : go-junta

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