I've created a very, very short video displaying my problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hobFes92_Fg&feature=youtu.be&hd=1

Its a pretty succinct issue. Photoshop's patch tool is pretty awesome, until I release the mouse button and it smudges nearby pixels into my selected-to-be-patched area.

Wanting to know how I can prevent that from happening. Thanks

EDIT: I've gotten a bit more "performance" I guess you could say from the "Content-Aware" patch, but nothing as good as what the patched area looks like just before I released the mouse button...

EDIT: The (mac) keyboard shortcuts for the brush (B) and eyedropper (I) tool are my working solutions to the larger issue. Still wanting to know how to get the patch tool to work for me though. Its a tighter solution.

  • once you have finished using the Patch Tool how do you click off it? as it still stays with the squiggly line around it, thanks!
    – user52718
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 22:42

4 Answers 4


This question is why I found this site, because I was looking all over for the feature and could not find it. I know what you mean because you see what you want RIGHT before you release the mouse button. Then they take it all away when you release! Such a simple option, I can't understand how they wouldn't have it.

Eventually I came up with a workaround.

For some reason the suggested workaround here and on Adobe forums is to make your selection to clip your modifications...then a really gigantic clone stamp brush size (bigger than the size of your area). Then go around clicking control on your source and then try and position that source in the destination.

That is backwards of what you wanted. You wanted to mark the area you were replacing first, then drag around over choices of source until the replacement area looked right. Clone stamp can't do that, so I don't know why people think that's a solution.

You can do it with some labor using layer masks. You just have to un-link them from the pixels:

  • duplicate the layer you want to copy from

  • mark out a selection on that layer the way you would if you were defining the target area for the patch tool, just use ordinary selection tools

  • when you have your selection set, add a layer mask on this duplicate layer so it masks only the selection

  • click the chain link which is between the mask and the image that makes them move together. the chain link disappears which means you can move each of them independently

  • select the image on left (not mask, on right) and move that around. The mask will stay in place and it's like you're sliding the source image around in a "window" the mask defines

  • you are done but the final step is to write a letter to Adobe and ask this to just be an option in the patch tool

It's the kind of thing that you think "what a hassle" at first but it's a quick few steps, if I knew anything about scripting it I bet you could make it more automatic.

  • That would make it other than the patch tool. Most of your procedure can be done by making a selection, hitting Command-or-Control J and using the move tool. You are then free to transform and mask as necessary, with much greater freedom than the patch tool offers for that specific type of operation. The patch tool is intended to make things easy that were difficult or impossible without it, not to replace the basic functionality that has been in Ps almost since its inception. Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 12:53
  • @StanRogers "That would make it other than the patch tool." Gee. Okay, so any feature that changes how the software works to make it other than it is currently so that it does what people want makes it "other than it is". I guess nothing should ever improve? It is totally reasonable to want to select an area as a target and shift around a replacement, you aren't describing any solution for that as I did. It would fit in conceptually with the patch tool but I guess I don't care if it's a different tool if you think the meaning of "patch" is etched in a photoshop Bible and doesn't mean that.
    – Cakey
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 15:42
  • No, it's more a matter of "any 'new tool' that merely copies what is already a feature of the program is not really a 'new tool", is it?" There's no reason for the patch tool to duplicate copy & paste. Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 19:59
  • @StanRogers But like I was saying, copy and paste you mark what you want to copy and then you move it to the destination. Patch tool can mark the destination and go moving around comparing the source from anywhere. Maybe we are talking about different things -and you have never wanted to do this - and you can always exactly identify the source first and go sliding it around the destination and that works for you. Great, but other people want something else (me, person asking question, people asking for it). It isn't duplication when it does something you can't do with the other feature.
    – Cakey
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 5:03

I recommend selecting the area you want to clear, move that selection with any of the selection tools to an area you want to copy from, then make a copy in a new layer and move to cover the unwanted pixels, merge those layers and then use the patch tool just to diffuse the slight border it'll make.


Use "Content-Aware Move Tool." Photoshop CC

Make a selection of the part you want to duplicate, drag it to the area you want to cover up, double click inside it, then deselect (CTRL+D) it.


This is the correct behavior for the patch tool, it's designed to blend the patch into the surroundings. The grey smudge is coming from the black line to the left of your selection.

I'd recommend looking into using the clone stamp tool, with a hard brush (and possibly a selection mask) you can be much more precise.


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