DxO PhotoLab 3 introduces a redesigned Repair tool, now allowing you to choose the source of your repair point, adjust the feathering and opacity of the repair, and switch between repair and traditional cloning. This is all controlled from a new Repair palette, bringing more power than ever to DxO PhotoLab for retouching your photos.
The Redesigned DxO PhotoLab 3 Repair Tool
Let’s have a quick look at the interface of the redesigned repair tool. It’s pretty straight forward, but it’s still helpful to have a look at it.
To activate Repair, click the “bandaid” (or, “plaster” if you’re English!) icon in the toolbar:
Once that’s open, in the lower left you’ll see the the new palette:
- From the top of that palette, the Mode selector lets you switch between Repair and Clone modes. You can change this before or after you paint over the object you want to remove.
- The Size slider sets the size of your brush. You can also change the brush size by scrolling your mouse while holding down Command (Mac) or Control (Windows).
- The Feather slider changes how soft the edge of the brush is. This can be adjusted after you add a Repair point; just select it, then adjust this slider to change the feathering. You can also change the brush feathering by scrolling your mouse while holding down the Shift key.
- The Opacity slider controls how the opacity of the repair or clone, allowing you to completely or only partially cover up whatever you’re brushing over. This can also be changed after you’ve already added a repair or clone to your image.
- The blue Repair icon at the bottom simply toggles the palette on and off.
Finally, on the bottom right of window, you will see a checkbox and two buttons:
- The Mask checkbox toggles the mask view on and off. You can leave this off while doing your repair work, and only enable it if you need to make adjustments.
- Reset will reset the entire Repair tool. (This is undo-able if you accidentally click it).
- Close will close the Repair tool, but since this is non-destructive, you can re-open the Repair tool at any time to make adjustments to your work.
Basic blemish removal: how to remove blemishes from skin
To start, here’s a partial edit before and after:
In the next screenshot, you can see the masks that were applied. These are a combination of simple “click” to retouch (meaning just a single repair point was added) and “click and drag” to paint over an area you may want clean up. The tool works both ways.
- The original image. You can see two blemishes; one in the center of the image and another just above and to the right of it.
- Here the repair has been set (painted over the top blemish, shown here as a light blue blob), and the source is right on top of the bottom blemish (shown as a dark skin-colored blob). This tells us that since the source of the repair is the other blemish, that the lower blemish will basically be re-created. Not what we want!
- (Masks hidden) Here we see the result of that… we still have two blemishes, and they look the same!n Oops.
- By moving the source of the repair to a clean part of the skin, we will be able to do a better repair job.
- Finally, that upper blemish is gone.
It’s important to note that this is rarely necessary. DxO PhotoLab 3 will automatically choose the source for the repair, and will usually select a clean source. For the screenshots above, I actually manually positioned the source in a bad location just for the demonstration.
How to remove a partial object (wrinkle) from a picture
Another common use of the repair tool is to soften — but not remove — wrinkles. If you completely erase all the wrinkles from someone’s face, you’ll make them look like a plastic doll! Even the youngest, most perfect skin has creases and lines, and removing them all doesn’t look realistic. However you can soften a line by repairing it with low opacity, which gives the illusion of a less pronounced, less deep wrinkle.
Here’s an original crease in the forehead of our subject:
- The original image shows a pronounced crease in the forehead
- A Repair is drawn across the line, but it’s at 100% opacity. You can see through the blue mask that the wrinkle is completely gone.
- Disabling the mask view makes this even more clear — that line is eliminated completely. But this doesn’t look realistic.
- In this step, the opacity of that Repair line has been dropped to about 35%, revealing much of the original skin wrinkle — but not all of it.
- Finally with the mask hidden again, we see a reduced wrinkle, but not a complete elimination — which looks much more realistic.
Finally, here’s a more complete view of this face. Check out the before and after from just a handful of clicks!
How to remove a large object from a picture
If you have a larger object to remove from a scene, the Repair tool may not work well, especially if it’s a complex scene. Whenever the Repair isn’t giving you the results you want, try using Clone. Cloning will essentially duplicate one part of a scene to another, but because it’s a direct copy, you may be able to spot repeating patterns. Often combining a large clone with a series of small Repairs is a good way to hide the repetition. There’s no one-answer to removing any object from a scene, but here’s an example.
On this forest floor, there’s a large branch I want to remove:
What you’re seeing above is a simple clone, and nothing more. If you look closely at the “after”, you’ll notice some repeating patterns in the branches. Here’s the large cloned area:
To hide the pattern, look for repeats and paint over them. You may want to try a combination of Clone and Repair; it really just depends on the image. In this next screenshot, you can see a variety of areas that have been repaired:
Finally, the final image looks like that branch was never there!