Jul 272011

Sometimes I find that for cloning or healing I need to put one Lightroom spot removal fix right on top of another.  If you have used this tool, you know that this isn’t directly possible — putting the cursor over an existing circle just gives you the hand tool to move that circle.   It finally occurred to me how this can be done… maybe I am the last person to figure this out, but I thought I’d share it.  I will demonstrate it using Lightroom, but it works the same way in Camera Raw.

I am working to remove the cars from behind this girl’s head:

I start with one big circle, adding plants from the right side of the image.  However, I don’t like that rectangular black hole with the strip through it at 5 o’clock just up from the bottom yellow flower.

If I put my mouse over that object to apply another circle, all I get is the hand tool to move the existing circle.  So here’s the solution:  I put a circle of the size I want anywhere I can:

Then I move it where I want it — in this case right on top of the big one!  I drag the fix circle (the right one in this case, dragging from inside the circle, not the edge of the circle) over my problem, and the source circle down into the plants to the right of her head:

That’s it  — just put it anywhere that works, and then drag it to where you want it!

Here’s the almost-finished result.  It needs a tiny bit more finessing, but I think if you didn’t know I had done it, you’d never see it (and you would be focused on the girl anyway.)

There is one complication to this technique:  Let’s say you come back later and you want to work on the inner fix.  The problem is, if you click anywhere in the outer circle, you are moving or working on that outer circle.  The only way to work on the inner one is to temporarily move the outer one out of the way.

Here’s hoping that Lightroom 4 allows a more direct application of one circle on top of another, but in the meantime, this is better than nothing!

Click here to watch a video tutorial on how to use the spot removal tool in Lightroom.    It is from my Lightroom DVD — 7 hours of training in 37 video tutorials.


  8 Responses to “Putting One Lightroom or Camera Raw Spot Removal Fix On Top of Another”

  1. […] Putting One Spot Removal Fix on Top of Another […]

  2. Laura, you are not the last person to figure this out. I was trying to do this yesterday without any success. You have solved my problem. Thanks, Philip

  3. Hopefully the case would be that Adobe gets that tool fixed in 4, by introducing a proper brush or selection type cloning.

  4. I was struggling with just this problem last night. Thanks for the insight.

  5. I guess you could make successive virtual copies also?

    • Good idea, Antonio … but the changes you make to the original don’t get baked into the VC … so when you go into the spot removal tool on the VC, the original circles are still in the way.

  6. Just a quick thank you for this info, I had the same issue and your solution works beautifully. And no, it’s not obvious (to me, anyway!).

 Leave a Reply


(required, but will not be displayed)

Sign Up Today!
  • FREE Limited Time Only: Learn how to clean up your Lightroom mess in my 80 minute video!
  • Receive my Lightroom newsletter with news and tutorials
  • Receive PDFs of my favorite Lightroom shortcuts

Your trusted source for all things Lightroom!
I will not share your email. Unsubscribe anytime.