How To Use The Clone Tool In Gimp?

Suppose you have an old family photo with white line marks and want to recover its new form. Is it possible? Yes! Do you need to pay for premium software for that? Not!

You might be wondering how to do so. To answer this, we have compiled this guide on the gimp clone tool to educate our new image editors on its usage and benefits.

How To Recover An Old Image Using Clone Tools In Gimp?

To recover your old image, check out the following steps:

Step #1: Choose the “Clone” tool from the tool palette> Paint tools or hit the shortcut key C.

Step #2: Press the Command key on a Mac to set the clone source while holding down the Ctrl key.

Step #3: Use paint to replicate the pixel data from your source point, just like any other brush tool.

Step 4: If the image is black and white and an error message pops up saying- Indexed layer cannot be healed/cloned, then you have to change the settings. Click on Image menu > Mode > select RGB layer.

Step #5: Draw patterned lines from the surrounding area or a layer mask over the white lines; your image will be good as new.

Note: These steps might sound easy but can take a lot of practice to master. For instance, you must select a good clone source position to begin painting. Or perhaps you must learn appropriate brush stroke adjustments to make it look neat. Don’t forget to read the remaining sections of this gimp tutorial to learn more.

Selecting Your Clone Source

GIMP (gnu image manipulation program) won’t let you use the tool until you’ve chosen your source since it is necessary for the tool to function; skipping this step will fail.

But as soon as you attempt to correct anything bigger than a speck of dust, you’ll rapidly understand how important the source point you choose to use is to the success or failure of your edit.

The most crucial thing to remember is to select a source point that is as close to the boundaries of the area you’re covering as you can manage. The casual observer will notice improperly blended edges of your clone stamp since they stick out like a sore thumb.

Take a close look at the image’s hue, light, and gradient. Even while point light sources and circular color gradients can make this a little more difficult, you can find sources that blend in at the margins by looking for clone source points along a line perpendicular to the gradient angle.

Advanced Cloning Brush Adjustments

It may be necessary to modify your brush settings if selecting the ideal source point isn’t enough to keep your modifications looking seamless and unnoticeable. But let’s focus on the most crucial ones since they are virtually the same as those found in the other brush-based tools used with the clone tool.

You can achieve a smooth edit by modifying the cloning brush’s hardness. Your brush strokes will blend more organically into the sections of the image that were not modified by editing software by using a softer brush that has a feathery edge and transparency gradient.

Gaining proficiency with utilizing the brackets to change brush size and the spacebar to move around your image while zoomed in close quickly will speed up your productivity and allow you to adjust brush parameters without pausing to concentrate on the tool options palette.

To set this up in GIMP, choose Keyboard Shortcuts from the Edit menu. Decrease Relative Tool’s Hardness and Tool’s Hardness: You can find Increase Relative by entering “hardness” into the search box. To configure a new shortcut key combination, click the “Disabled” button.

Setting up shortcut keys for opacity changes is also a smart idea. You can progressively create a “patch” by combining transparent layers while cloning by lowering the opacity setting until you have sufficient coverage to cover the pixels you wish to clone over.

Aligned, Fixed, and Registered are the three options available in the alignment settings, which are a little more difficult to describe. Immediately after your first click, ‘Aligned’ locks your clone source in position about your pointer, and ‘Fixed’ keeps the clone source locked in place no matter where your cursor moves.

More of a particular use case, ‘registered’ locks the source of the clone to your cursor and is only useful when dealing with pattern edge matching or cloning directly between layers without an offset. Make sure you didn’t unintentionally activate this option if the Clone tool isn’t working for you.

Non-Destructive Cloning

You should always utilize a non-destructive editing procedure when changing an image’s pixel values. There is always a backup copy of the source image data in case something goes wrong or you make a mistake. Even though it could be tiresome, it can significantly reduce cloning time.

To complete all your cloning work, create a new layer and work on it. It allows you to divide the image into various sections in whatever way you can. You can repeat the method whenever necessary. For a quick comparison of your cloning effort, toggle the visibility of the layers.

Why Is The Clone Tool Glitching In Gimp?

If your clone or perspective clone tool is not working and you are wondering why then you can try these steps to use them again.

Step #1: Reset the Clone Tool by clicking the bottom-left arrow that says, “Reset to default values. As you press the reset arrow, keep the Shift key pressed.

Step #2: Make sure the target image is not in Indexed mode by setting the image’s mode to RGB using the Image > Mode > RGB menu option.

Step #3: Right-click, the target layer in the layers menu of the right tools area and, choose Add Alpha Channel.

Step #5: Restart the computer or GIMP.


So now you know how to pick a source image, fix clone alignment and create a cloned image of anything. But you must be wondering how clone and healing tool options. They are different from each other. We will make a guide on this topic if you comment below and share this guide with your friends and colleagues who want to learn image editing in gimp.

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