Photoshop Tutorial: Remove a Tattoo with the Clone Stamp and a Blend mode

Removing a tattoo can be a delicate process, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done relatively easily. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use the Clone Stamp tool and a Blend mode to effectively remove a tattoo from a photo.


Step 1: Open the photo

Open the photo with the tattoo you want to remove in Adobe Photoshop.

Step 2: Duplicate the background layer

To keep your work non-destructive, duplicate the background layer. To do this, go to the Layers panel and drag the Background layer onto the Create a new layer icon at the bottom of the panel.

Step 3: Select the Clone Stamp tool

The Clone Stamp tool is a versatile tool for copying and pasting pixels from one area of an image to another. It’s a great option for removing small tattoos, as it allows you to precisely select and replace pixels without affecting the surrounding areas.

To select the Clone Stamp tool, go to the Tools panel and click on the Brush tool. Then, right-click (or Control-click) and select Clone Stamp from the menu.

Step 4: Set the Clone Stamp tool options

The size and hardness of the brush tip will affect the precision of your work. For removing small tattoos, a small, hard brush tip is often best. The opacity of the brush will determine how much of the sampled pixels are transferred to the target area.

In the Options bar, adjust the brush size to match the size of the tattoo you want to remove. Set the hardness to a high value to ensure that the edges of the cloned pixels blend seamlessly with the surrounding skin. The opacity can be set to around 50% to start.

Step 5: Choose a source point

A source point is the area from which you will sample the pixels to be cloned. For removing small tattoos, it’s best to choose a source point that is close to the tattoo you want to remove. This will help to ensure that the cloned pixels match the surrounding skin tone and texture.

To choose a source point, hold down the Alt (Option) key and click on an area of the skin that is similar in color and texture to the area where you want to remove the tattoo.

Step 6: Paint over the tattoo

Hold down the Alt (Option) key and click and drag the brush over the tattoo. The Clone Stamp tool will copy pixels from the source point and paste them over the tattoo, effectively removing it from the image.

Step 7: Adjust the blend mode

The blend mode of the Clone Stamp tool can be used to fine-tune the appearance of the cloned pixels. For removing tattoos, a blending mode such as Overlay or Soft Light can be helpful in blending the cloned pixels more seamlessly with the surrounding skin.

In the Options bar, select the desired blend mode from the Mode drop-down menu. Adjust the opacity of the brush as needed.

Step 8: Fix any imperfections

After you have removed the tattoo, you may need to fix any imperfections or artifacts that were created in the process. This may involve using the Spot Healing Brush tool or Healing Brush tool to touch up any areas where the cloning was not perfect.

Step 9: Save the image

Once you are satisfied with the results, save the image.