The Photoshop Clone Tool   

The Clone Tool works exactly the same in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements but there are  some extra features in CS3 and CS4 - more about that later.

It's probably because what it does (move pixels from here to there) is so amazing and fun as well.

For some reason they seem to like removing an eye or adding a third eye - heck - I did it as well.

The tool is used to either remove something from a picture or move something within a picture or move something from one picture to another or move something from one layer to another.

Rich Before Rich After
Before After

Using the tool successfully is more than just setting a source point and blasting away.  

Brute force cloning is seldom successful and generally looks bad.

This tool has pressure sensitivity built in when you have a Wacom Tablet installed and this makes all the difference as you will see.

Things You Need To Know

Source Point - this is where you are taking information (pixels) from to put them somewhere else.  The source point is set by ALT-Clicking or ALT-Tapping if you are using a Wacom Tablet. When you press the ALT key the cursor turns into a circle with a cross in the middle.

As you are working make sure you change the source regularly and always be very careful that the color of the source is as close as possible to the color of the destination.

Destination - this is where the pixels are going to end up.

Aligned - if this check box is not checked then every time you release the left mouse button or lift your pen then the Source will always return to the original place you set.  If the box is checked then the Source will change when you release the left mouse button or lift your pen.

Crop Option Bar

Use All Layers - when this box is checked you can move information from one layer to the one you are working on.  It is a great idea because you are not working with the original pixels.

Brush Dynamics - the Clone Tool works best when the Brush Dynamics in the Brush Palette is set to change Opacity with pressure (with a Wacom Pen).

CS3/CS4 Additional Features

In Photoshop CS3 and CS4 you can set up to 5 different source points which reducesCrop Tool Palette the tedium of constantly setting new source points.

The palette also has blend modes (lighten, darken, difference and normal).  The ability to change the blend modes is a great addition.

You can even set an overlay that will show the source point over top of the destination as you work.

In addition the "Use All Layers" checkbox has been expanded.  

It is now a drop down menu and you can choose Current Layer, Current & Below or All Layers.  This is another nice upgrade in CS3.All Layers


With this tool it is much easier to show (via a video) than to describe (in words) how to use the crop tool effectively.  The video will also address when to use the tool and when not to use the tool in favor of another technique.

The video was produced with Photoshop CS.  

Clone Tool Video

The Clone Tool

Clone Tool Uses

  • Remove something from a picture.
  • Add something to a picture.
  • Move something within a picture.
  • Move something from one picture to another picture.
  • Move something from one layer to another layer.

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