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Erase Scratches in Photos with the GIMP’s Heal Selection Tool

Using a scanner to archive old photos can be a rewarding experience. You bring your old photos into the digital age and get the opportunity to fix them. Image editing software like Photoshop and The Gimp have a lot to offer, including cropping, straightening, saturating and vividing an image, and more. In this article, we’ll talk about using the Heal Selection tool in The Gimp to get rid of minor (and sometimes serious) imperfections such as scratches, dust spots on the scanner bed, and other imperfections.

Note. You can also use this tool on Windows, but the GIMP Resynthesizer plugin must be installed first.

The first thing you will need is the image you will be working on. In our examples, we’ll be using an image from the cover of a book that was definitely not in perfect condition. Apparently it was read and the front cover peeled back a bit, resulting in a line where the cover image peeled off for lack of a better term. Here’s a close-up of the area we’re trying to fix.

There are several ways to fix these blemishes, such as using the Feather tool or by copying a small amount of color that matches the defect and pasting it over the bad spots. We could also, for a quick but crude fix, just insert the appropriate color into the flaws. However, as mentioned, we will use the Heal Selection tool in the Gimp to fix the coverage (at least as much as possible).

GIMP used to be installed by default in Ubuntu, but it is no longer there, so we need to install it. You can do this by typing sudo apt-get install gimp gimp-plugin-registry, which not only installs GIMP, but a large number of different plugins, one of which is the Heal Selection tool.

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After complete installation, open The Gimp. We are using Ubuntu, so we will open it through Dash, but you can use GIMP on Windows and launch it from the start menu.

You can also right-click the image, then choose GNU Image Manipulation Program (or you can call it GIMP) from the Open With menu.

After uploading the image, enlarge it until one of the imperfections is easily noticeable. Now select it using any of the three selection tools.

For those unfamiliar with The Gimp, the tool on the far left – the Rectangle Select Tool – selects a rectangular shape; middle – ellipse selection tool (for circles and other elliptical areas); the tool on the far right is a free selection tool that allows you to select more precise areas. We will use this. When your region is selected, it should look something like this.

When using the Heal Selection tool, you have to select small areas as the surrounding pixels are likely to be like the selection, which helps in a result that looks at least somewhat close to the original. Once you’ve selected your area, simply go to the Filter menu, then the Enhance submenu, and finally select the Healing Selection tool.

A similar window with the tool parameters should appear.

There are three options when using the Heal Selection tool. The first is the number of pixels around your selection that the tool should select from. The tool takes the surrounding pixels and tries to blend the area you selected to match its surroundings. If the area around your selection is fairly static, you can leave the default (50px), but if you need to be careful that the tool doesn’t overlap with a completely different area, you can reduce the number of pixels in it. takes into account.

The second option you have is whether to select the pixels tool from the entire surrounding area, just above and below, or to the side.

Finally, the third option is how to fill the selection. Again, there are three options. The tool can randomly place pixels, or it can fill a selected area starting from the outside and going in, or conversely, starting from the inside and going out.

When you’re done with the options, click OK. The tool should take some thought (depending on how big the selection you’re working on).

When you’re done, hopefully the area has improved. We’ve made a few fixes here.

Below you will see that we have composited two images with a slightly larger area than we just modified (“before” and “after”) to show what can be achieved with judicious use of the Healing Selection tool. As you can see, the Heal Selection tool is good for removing text and logos (if there is enough room around them for the tool to get an idea of ??what would otherwise be “under” the text or logo). / p

That’s all. Of course, this is not the tool that will solve all problems. He cannot guess which letters might be missing (if a corner of the page is torn off), and the more complex the selection, the less likely the result will be similar to the original. However, for backgrounds, less complex selections, and even getting rid of blemishes on the skin, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with the Heal Selection tool. Enjoy!

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