The Clone tool simply lets you copy pixels from one area to another. Hold Alt to target an area, then begin painting to clone the pixels. While you’re using the tool, press the Alt key regularly to repeatedly sample a source. The source moves with your brush strokes unless you untick ‘Aligned’ in the options bar.
You don’t often need to use the Clone tool at full opacity. More often than not, it’s best set between 20–50% tool opacity. There are many uses for this, from tidying up rough patches caused by the healing tools, to softening wrinkles and eye bags in portraits.
THE SAMPLE SETTING
The Sample dropdown in the tool settings at the top lets you control whether the tool samples its source from the selected layer or elsewhere. The All Layers option is useful for cloning non-destructively on an empty layer at the top of your layer stack.
CLONE SOURCE PANEL
Go to ‘Window > Clone Source’ (or click the Clone Source icon in the tool options) for controls that let you alter the size — here, we’ve cloned a 40% version of the house — and the angle of the source as you clone, so you can tilt a cloned object or resize it. It’s useful to keep the overlay view turned on so you can get an idea of how the cloned area will look.
CLONE AND BLEND
The brush blend dropdown in the Clone tool options let you add in a Blend mode as you clone. For example, you could choose to clone using the Color Blend mode like this to recolour an object. The modes will only blend with pixels on the selected layer, so an empty layer won’t work here: you’ll need a duplicate of the background layer.
With the Clone tool selected (or any other tool with an Opacity setting), you can press 1 for 10% Opacity, 2 for 20% and so on. Press ] and [ to resize the brush tip, ‘Shift-]’ or ‘Shift-[‘ to alter hardness, and Shift-click between points to clone in a straight line.