How to Use the Patch Tool in Affinity Photo
  • By Nadine Spires
  • 01 Mar 2022
  • 13 Mins
  • Intermediate
  • Affinity Tutorials

How to Use the Patch Tool in Affinity Photo

If you want to know how to use the Patch Tool in Affinity Photo, check out this 3 step tutorial.

If you want to know how to use the Patch Tool in Affinity Photo, then we have a great tutorial for you. The Patch Tool allows you to select an area of pixels and replace them with a target area. Many photographers favor the Patch Tool when removing blemishes from portraits. Did you know that you can use the Patch Tool to clone elements of an image? In this tutorial we will also show you how this cool feature works.

Before After Patch Tool Affinity

We will be using a photo of lovely spring flowers. We have tons of beautiful nature photos to choose from if you want to use something else.

You can also replace the sky or remove a background in your image before starting with the Patch Tool.

Let’s begin by opening our image in Affinity Photo.

Step 1 - Select the Patch Tool

In this tutorial we will be talking about the Selection and Target areas. The Selection is the area you want to change. You will be either filling it with pixels from the Target area, or using it as a copy or clone. The Target area is where you will be getting the pixels from to cover the selected area.

The Patch Tool can be found with other repair tools on the left side toolbar. The last tool used from the selection will be visible. You may need to click on the little white corner arrow to open the menu. Then select the Patch Tool.

Locate Patch Tool in Affinity Photo

Create a New Layer

We want to work non-destructively so we need to create a new layer on top of the image. At the bottom of the Layers Panel, click on Add Pixel Layer.

Add New Pixel layer

Patch Tool Settings

At the top toolbar you will find the settings for the Patch Tool. As we are working on a new pixel layer, it’s essential that the Source is set to Current Layer & Below. So when sampling, you also sample from the Background layer.

For this example, we will leave the rest of the settings as is. However, the settings are explained below.

Select source for Patch Tool

Add, Subtract and Intersect - these options apply once the selection is made where you can add, remove or combine selections.

Selection is Source - the result is the opposite of what the Patch Tool normally does. In a sense, the Patch Tool becomes a type of clone tool. We will show an example of this later in the tutorial.

Texture Only - when unticked, the hue information from the Selection is kept and the Target area is updated to match. When ticked, the hue information from the Target area is kept and the Selection area is updated to match. This helps when working with texture. It does not work well with the Selection is Source option.

Transparent - this option works along with the Selection is Source option. The selection becomes transparent depending on the pixels. This is very useful when you want a better blend. This will also be discussed later in the tutorial.

Source: if working non-destructively on a new layer and Current is selected, nothing will show in the patch selection. You will need to select Current Layer & Below for anything to show in the selection.

Set Global Source: this is used when sampling from another document. This will only become active when you have sampled from one document and created a selection in another document.

Rotation and Scale - the selection can be rotated or scaled.

Step 2 - Make Selection with Patch Tool

With the Patch Tool active, make sure that the new Pixel layer is selected. Now click + drag out a selection around the area you want to edit. You can click on the Add or Subtract options to edit the selection.

The selection doesn’t need to be perfect, but keep in mind how much of the area will be edited. Once you have created a selection, move your cursor over another area in the image. You will see that the selected area fills with the area beneath your cursor.

Try not to make too large a selection as this can introduce blur.

Create selection with Patch Tool

Find a target area that lines up as best as possible with the selection, then click once to confirm the area. You can now deselect either by clicking anywhere on the image or going to Select > Deselect.

Remember to keep an eye on depth of field (areas in focus and blurred). The butterfly and part of the flower is in focus. So we need to replace the area with one that is in focus. In the image below, we have successfully removed the butterfly with an almost seamless application.

Butterfly removed with Patch Tool

Step 3 - Use Patch Tool to Clone

You can also use the Patch Tool to clone in areas. This is especially great for images where you want more than one object or subject. As we discussed earlier on, we need to tick the box for Selection is Source. Also make certain that Source is set to Current Layer & Below.

Selection is source Patch Tool

Make the Selection

As we did in Step 2, make your selection. When you move your cursor around you will see that a clone of the Selection area appears.

The clone may appear as low quality but that is only the preview. Click once to place then click again anywhere on the image to deselect. You will now see that the clone is as clear as the original.

Deselect if you don’t want to add more clones.

Use Patch Tool to clone Affinity

Use the Transparent Option

As you will see, the butterfly clone has some artifacts such as the surrounding area that was cloned. To reduce this, tick the box for Transparent before placing your clone.

When moving your cursor with the clone, you will notice that the area around the butterfly is somewhat transparent.

Transparency with Patch Tool

Now it will have a better blend. It doesn’t completely remove the surrounding area but it does a pretty good job. The rest can be removed with one of the other repair tools such as the Inpainting Tool.

Use Transparent option Patch Tool

The Patch Tool is a great option for removing unwanted areas of your image. Being able to quickly use it as a clone tool with selection is also a huge plus. We hope that this tutorial on how to use the Patch Tool in Affinity Photo will help you in your future projects.

affinity photo patch tool repair images clone with patch tool

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