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Patch isn't opaque


Well-Known Member
I can't seem to get an opaque patch. Whatever area I outline with the Patch took the resulting patch is not opaque, it's murky, or muddy usually around the edges. Sometimes, when I select a "Destinations" and drag it, to cover an area I want to patch a light patch turns darker when I place it.

I have selected the diagonal line in the Use Pattern option, but the other options don't help with this problem. I've watched a tutorial in the subject and it works as expected in the tutorial. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong!
Can you provide a link to the tutorial you have followed?

Hey Mike, can you post a screen shot of your Patch Tool settings?
Hmmmm...that's the one I was thinking of.

It may just be a case of being the wrong tool for the job, without seeing what it is you are trying to do it's difficult to say really.

There is no reason that if you follow that tutorial it doesn't work so that boils it down to the image itself and what you are trying to patch within it.

The patch tool will try and 'blend' its contents with its surroundings regardless, thats how it works so if it doesn't go well then.....

You would have to go to the extra step of choosing refine edge to feather the tools selection. Is that what you did?
Hello....Mike........are you there?

How does the tool work when you use Content Aware instead of the normal mode?
It works in Content Aware, but why doesn't it work in normal mode?


The tutorial advised against using Content Aware
I think its just the image and especially that part of the image thats the problem.

Content aware is supposed to do a better job of 'blending', whereas 'normal' mode is a bit more rough cut but it really boils down to the individual image....one method will work better than the other or you may even find neither of them work particularly well....in which case its time to source a different tool / method.

I don't think its anything you are particularly doing wrong, nor is it a problem with PS, its just that by the looks of it you are pushing the boundaries of just what that tool can do....which is nothing like the video demonstration....in fact that video does show that sometimes its just not the tool to use.

If you need alternatives to this tool it would be beneficial to upload the image and a description of what you are trying to do, that way the rest of us can at least have a go and find a suitable solution for you.

Taking your image as an example it would be impossible for anyone to know or even make an educated guess as to the results you would get using that tool without having the image to work on.

This is a RAW image in Lr. If I uploaded it what size and resolution should I use? I'm guessing there is a size limit but I'll try...


I was trying to get rid of the pole and those pipes.
Having given it 40 minutes I deduce that the 'Patch' tool just isn't the right tool for the job...on its own.

I tried various settings but nothing that worked 100% all the time.
What I also tried though was a combination of the patch tool with the clone stamp....creating small 'patches' by use of the clone stamp first, then using the 'patch' tool on those patches.

That did some of the work but most of the heavy lifting came down to the usual two tools....Clone Stamp and Healing Brush....which resulted in this...


So....I think you were just unlucky in the type of thing you wanted to 'patch'....rarely do any of these 'blending' tools work across high contrast area's, tending to work much better on small isolated area's that have at least a similar surrounding 'border'....leaving the tool just to work on the central area using the constant surrounding as its target.

You should be using the Clone Stamp Tool for that job Mike.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 11.13.33 PM.png
LOL.....well I didn't exactly rush in there....I gave you 50 minutes! :rofl:

Nice job. :thumbsup:


Actually I did a very rushed job! So don't look to closely! In that 50 minute span, I whipped up some coffee and had a snack!
Geeeze....how do you do it for the money?

Hats off to ya.

Looks perfect, thanks so much!

In the future I will try the Clone stamp; but how would I have known, when the Patch tool seemed the perfect option? How is the Patch tool so different from the Clone tool? Don't they, essentially, do the same thing? Why did the Clone tool work so much better that the Patch tool?
...Looks perfect, thanks so much!...
No worries.

...but how would I have known, when the Patch tool seemed the perfect option?...
Its really down to trial and error to begin with, and then down to experience.

To be honest with you I don't think I've ever used the 'Patch' tool, probably for the reasons you are experiencing now....there are better, easier ways.

When you have a certain task to do the choice of tool to use will become more obvious the more you do until such a time that it just becomes instinctive. You tend to remember what tools do not work for a specific task rather than those that do.....we all remember when things go wrong easier than when they go right...human nature.

...How is the Patch tool so different from the Clone tool? Don't they, essentially, do the same thing?...
Yes they do...ish.

The 'Clone Stamp' directly copies existing pixels, the 'Patch' tool tries to 'Heal', (Which is why its in the same group as the 'Healing Brush' tool), copied pixels with those behind it...be that by the newer 'Content Aware' or 'Normal'.

I'm guessing here but probably either one of them was introduced into PS before the other. Adobe tends to have a policy that nothing gets taken out of a version of PS, they only ever add to it, so if say the 'Clone Stamp' tool, which is far better than the 'Patch' tool, was added later, the 'Patch' tool will still remain as an alternative method.....regardless of whether its superseded by another tool.

There may be certain circumstances where the 'Patch' tool is just perfect for the task in hand but if you've ever used either of the 'Healing' tools you'll know that its not very good over high contrast. This means that unless the surrounding area of the marquee is constant, like say all grass or tarmac for instance, then its not going to handle it very well.

If you try the 'Healing Brush' tool near a clearly defined high contrast 'edge' you'll see all sorts of strange things happen....its the same with the 'Patch' tool.

...Why did the Clone tool work so much better that the Patch tool?...
I guess its down to the amount of control, its really just a fancy pantsy 'Brush' tool.

The 'Clone Stamp' is essentially 'painting' by copying existing pixels from a source vector...in fact if you open the 'Clone Source' panel and turn off 'Clipped' and reduce the opacity to say 50%, you'll see that what the tool does is to copy the entire layer and move it according to your 'source' offset. From here it creates a 'mask', (although not visible in the layers panel), on which you then paint....if you could see the mask you'd see that all you are doing is painting in white on a black mask....with the brush tool....on a copy of the whole layer....that's been moved.

The 'Brush' tool is probably one of the first we learn. The 'Clone Stamp' tool therefore seems familiar to use, it doesn't seem that different, and as it has all the options of the regular 'Brush' tool including size, feathering, opacity, rotation to name a few, and also the ability to store up to 5 different sources, its very controllable.

The 'Patch' tool on the other has very limited options and although 'Content aware' is good its still unpredictable, despite you being able to choose the source area. Its doesn't allow for any feathering nor opacity but does have 'Structure' and 'Color' settings when used with 'content aware'....although by the time you've worked out what those mean and gone through the 70 combinations...you could have done the job by cloning.

I hope that's helpful in some way.