With the ability to clone and repeat any image in Photoshop, the stamp tool quickly and easily transforms any picture. Whether you’re trying to remove something from the background of a scene, or you’re attempting to create an intricate pattern, the stamp effect in Photoshop is a handy tool to get to know.
How to Use the Stamp Effect in Photoshop
Learning to use the stamp effect in Photoshop is a fun way to make quick, subtle, or dramatic changes to any picture. If you’ve already taken a course in Photoshop 101, you’re probably familiar with how to retouch a photo and create some basic changes to any photo. And while using the stamp effect to make more dynamic changes may not be covered until you begin an advanced course in Photoshop, anyone can learn to use this tool to begin making unique, artistic changes to their work.
Using the Stamp Effect to Clone
One of the ways the stamp effect in Photoshop can be so effective is as a cloning stamp. The clone stamp will allow you to select an area of your photo or image and repeat it elsewhere. This is a great way to do things like:
- Remove a blemish from a portrait
- Remove something from the background of the image
- Create a unique and repeating pattern across a section of an image
- Copy something within the photo or image and repeat it over and over again in different areas
To make effects like these, open Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Lightroom and look for the stamp image in the toolbar to the right. Select the stamp and make sure it is set to Clone Stamp Tool by clicking and holding the cursor over it.
Mouse over your image. Your cursor should now be a small circle. To change the size of the circle, go the right side of your top toolbar and select either “brushes” to change both the size and the shape of your stamp, or to “size” to increase or decrease the size of the brush.
Increase or decrease your brush size until it completely encompasses the area you intend to clone. You may need to play around with the size slightly if you have an oddly shaped area you are cloning to reduce the amount of work you have later in cleaning it up.
Mouse over to the area you intend to clone and ensure the circle encompasses it completely. Press down on the Alt key on your keyboard. This will change your circle to a sight guide. Left click the mouse when you get the sight guide. You have now cloned whatever was in the circle and you are ready to copy it to another area.
Mouse over to the area you want to copy the image to and left click again. The image will appear in the new area.
You can continue to click without re-cloning, but as you move the cursor around the screen, the cloned area will move, too. This is helpful if you are cloning something out of a photo. You can begin by cloning the area just above what you are removing. As you move left to right, the cloned area will move left to right, too, giving you the most realistic look as you remove the desired section.
If you intend to repeatedly clone the same area and stamp it in several areas across the image, you will need to continuously go back and keep cloning the same area. Otherwise your cloned area will move each time you try to stamp. Remember that if this happens accidentally, you can reverse it by using Ctrl-Z to undo it as needed.
Using the Stamp Effect in Pattern
Stamp effects in Photoshop also give you several stamped patterns you can use to create backgrounds or add details to your images. Using this tool allows you to:
- Make a background on a blank image that you can transfer images in on top of
- Change the pattern on specific areas of an image, such as changing the colors and pattern on a ball, rock, or wall in the background of an image.
- Make a transparent overlay to layer on top of your image to create unique looks
To use the pattern stamp, open up your program and select the stamp tool on the right toolbar. Hold the cursor down on the tool until it gives you the option to use the pattern stamp tool. Once you have the tool selected, move to the top tool bar where you will find a selection of patterns.
First select your opacity. If you are making a background or changing the pattern of a section in an image, keep the opacity at 100%. If you are making an overlay, however, adjust the opacity of your stamp until the image shows through it.
Next to the opacity, you’ll find your stamp options. In the first menu, you’ll be given several different patterns. If you click the arrow at the top right of the box, you’ll be given several more palette choices that can let you further customize your image.
Next to the pattern choices you’ll see two boxes, one called Aligned, and one called Impressionist. Aligned will probably be selected already.
Keep the Aligned box checked if you intend to make a background on a full blank image. Uncheck it if you intend to cover a small portion of your image with a pattern.
With the pattern selected there is no need to press the Alt or any other key. Simply line up the cursor where you want the pattern, adjust the size of the cursor if necessary and left click the mouse. You can click, hold, and drag if you want to cover large areas, or click separately each time to cover smaller sections.
Because dragging will produce uniform pattern lines, you can create a more random effect by first covering the area in uniform lines, then dragging your cursor in different directions over the same area.
By clicking the Impressionist box, the pattern will change from distinct to blurry. This is a fun effect for creating a sense of movement in the background of an image. You can also combine the various effects, making some areas distinct and some blurry for an artistic look.
Make Some Unique Effects
Learning to use stamp effects in Photoshop opens up a whole new world of possibilities for photo editing and image creation. These effects are available in all versions of Photoshop, so no matter which one you choose to use, you’ll still have access to the features and patterns that can help you create some unique looks and effects.
Once you have the basics down on cloning and pattern stamping, you can try your hand at taking a course in Photoshop for artists, or a course in using Photoshop for photographers. These stamps and stamp effects are so useful they can be used for retouching an old photograph or creating a unique image just from digital media. There’s no end to the possibilities you can use these tools for once you begin to get comfortable with them. So take the time to open up your copy of Photoshop, pull up a blank image or an old photograph and begin to try out some stamp effects for yourself. With just a little bit of practice, you’ll find yourself cloning and stamping in ways that you never thought were possible before. Give the stamp effects in Photoshop a try and open yourself up to a whole new world of image possibilities.